As a public service and because I am a philanthropist (not to be mistaken for philanderer, which sometimes happens after watching too many reruns of The Office), I have compiled a to-NOT-do list for travelers to any metropolitan area.
Yes, we had a wonderful trip full of memories we will forever cherish. Yes, I ate enough delicious fare to fuel a small village for a week based on carb-count alone. Yes, I managed to squeeze into my jeans and declare temporary victory over the ongoing pants war.
But I’m only human. I make mistakes, too.
Based on my own valuable experiences, here is a short list of how to create and foster minor catastrophes while traveling. So don’t do these.
1. Do not eat regularly.
On the day we visited the Met, we were supposed to spend an hour-and-a-half perusing the most-revered works (I refer to this type of visit as “Met-lite”), then a half-hour dining on the roof (the roof of the Met is pure magic. Don’t take my word for it, just go there), then the remainder of the afternoon wandering through the southern quadrant of Central Park. Since I underestimated the amount of time Mike would want to spend at the Met (to his credit, I’ll admit), we lost our half-hour in which to dine amidst the Lichtensteins and enjoy the killer view.
By the time we left the museum I was ready to gnaw my arm off, but not quite gutsy enough to sample the street-cart falafels. Mike wisely bought a snack from a street vendor peddling hot dogs, and I pouted, rushing off to our next destination with an increasing lack of rational thought. WE HAVE TO SEE THE DUCK POND AT CENTRAL PARK, HUNGER BE DAMNED. I grew increasingly irritated and snappy at Mike, finally transforming into a shrieking harpy, hissing at passers-by and threatening bodily harm to any who interfered with my mission.
Until he force-fed me a street waffle, that is. Then all was right with the world again.
Making sure your blood-sugar levels remain stable ensure you will remain harpy-free. Unless you like harpies. I’m not here to judge.
2. Don’t suck it up like a man and just take the Airborne already.
I always turn up my nose at the pricey remedies at the grocery store with a superior, “Psh, I can get that $15 bottle for five bucks worth of vitamin C at Trader Joe’s.” The problem with that mindset is I never remember to do so until it’s too late and I’m hacking up a lung in the busy terminal while traveling families fervidly cross themselves in my presence.
At the airport I was sneezing like I was being followed around by an invisible cloud of Pigpen-esque dust, and used up my entire cache of travel tissue before even boarding the plane. I could feel my body breaking down, the as-yet unborn cold-sores conspiring with my immune system to bring me down like a roundhouse kick to the adenoids.
So I bought the Airborne at airport prices, rather than being smart and eating healthily or avoiding stressing myself to the limit in the days preceding the trip. Oh, or stocking up on Emergen-C as a preventative measure. No, I prefer to resemble Dracula’s bride in all of our vacation pictures.
If you too wish your skin to have that deathly pallor from fatigue, then by all means, don’t take the Airborne. You’ll be pleased with the results.
3. Don’t make sure you have the proper footwear. Seriously, I can’t stress that enough.
I’ve already mentioned my epic blisters here and here, but I did not go into detail about the situation that caused them. Because of my broken toe and the perpetual Southern California Indian Summer, I haven’t worn the new shoes I almost spent a week reading about on Shoe Hero for four months – I’ve lived in my gladiator sandals. Thus, my feet were unprepared for any type of confinement. Also, my running shoes disintegrated from overuse and advancing age, so I had to buy new walking shoes for the trip. So I did. But I bought just plain old cute walking shoes on ebay, since I couldn’t find any reasonably priced tennis shoes in which I would be seen in public at the local Big Five.
Big. Ginormous. Mistake.
Blisters formed within the first hour of waltzing around Greenwich Village in my cute walking shoes. After a trip to the Rite-Aid followed by a quick surgery on my foot with the aid of a stack of Band-Aids and arch supports, we were off…and I was still limping. In fact, I limped my entire way through New York, wearing a different pair of shoes everyday in attempt to misdirect my feet into believing they weren’t in pain: boots one day, ankle booties the next, ballet flats the next, and finally moccasins on the day we left.
However, my feet are cunning little gnomes, and refused to be tricked. The only times I found relief were on the ferry to Ellis Island, stealing a seat on the subway, and at the end of the day when I would rub lotion into my calluses and then elevate my sore feet.
So I think that covers it. On this most perfect of perfect trips, very little went wrong. All my planning and hoping paid off, and I walked away with only this short list of DO NOTs. Not too shabby.
Oh yeah, if anyone wants to take me on their next trip, I am so game. Just make sure you feed me on a regular basis to prevent my transmutation into a mythical beast.
Also, you’d need to pay for my expenses…