After two really good sessions about professional blogging and brand communications on Saturday at BlogHer 2011, the conference ended for me. To put myself out there, approaching strangers with a smile and a conversational gambit, takes energy. I knew nobody at BlogHer, so I had to do this about every 5 minutes, for hours at a time. I made good connections, but by 6pm on Saturday I felt utterly wiped out.
So I meandered back up to my room to pack up and prepare to go home.
Packing to Go Home
I usually don’t spend quite so much time packing properly when I’m prepping to head home as I did when I was getting ready to leave home. This trip proved the exception–with about 30 pounds of swag to lug home, I spent more than an hour playing Suitcase Tetris.
Win! I got everything I wanted to take home to fit into my luggage, so I didn’t have to ship anything home.
Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
A good solid night’s sleep is key to creating a good traveling-home day.
Lose. For some reason, I just didn’t sleep well throughout this trip. So I had some fatigue to deal with on my transit day.
Eating a Good Dinner, then a Good Breakfast
I ordered more room service for dinner–salmon with new potatoes and fresh green beans, and grapefruit juice to drink. Grapefruit juice changes the way the liver works, and often makes me feel healthier when I travel. I was proud of my choices–healthy food in the right quantities to give me energy to travel the next day.
I had Starbucks coffee cake and a latte for breakfast. Not great, but not the worst I’ve ever done.
Storing My Bags and Wasting a Few Hours
To get the best fare, I flew late in the day on Sunday. That meant that I had several hours to kill in San Diego after I checked out of my hotel room. First, I dragged my bags downstairs to the bell desk and checked them into storage. Most hotels, motels, and inns let guests stow their luggage on the day of their departure, free of charge. I always store my bags if I don’t have a car and I’ve got time between check-out and leaving. It’s much easier than dragging my luggage around all day.
Fun facts to know and share: most hotels are happy to let customers stick around the common areas of the property on their check-out day. So after a walk through the harbor shopping area (why is there a Norse souvenir shop in the San Diego harbor??) I planted myself on a chaise in the Marriott’s pool area. I read, and I worked a little, and I ate and drank, and I read some more.
I try not to get too ambitious about my activities on the day I fly out. Flying exhausts me, and if I start out already exhausted from doing something like visiting the San Diego Zoo, I’m raising my changes of having a serious pain flare in the airport or on the plane.
Probably I should have put on some sunscreen.
Getting to the Airport on Time
At about 5pm, I got my bags out of storage and asked the Marriott bell-guy to call me a cab. In about 10 minutes, I was on my way. I got to the airport about 2 hours before my flight.
I’m glad that I got to the airport so early. Things Did Not Go Well(tm) with the wheelchair service from the counter to the gate. Frankly, they forgot about me completely and I had to go out to the curbside sky caps to get my chair. Then the chair attendant was…not great at his job. Lose.
On the flight home, I finally got one of the Southwest crews that does stand-up comedy over the plane’s P.A. system. I was in a pissy mood and didn’t want to be charmed, but they won me over. And kudos to the pilots–they achieved the smoothest landing I’ve experienced all year.
I walked to baggage claim rather than using the chair service. My fiance was waiting for me. It worked out nicely.
Taking the Next Day Off (Mostly)
On the day after I get home from any trip, I give myself a free day. I sleep in. I eat well. And I don’t work unless I feel up to it.
Happily, on Monday I felt energetic enough to get back to work.
And that’s one story about how I traveled alone with pain. Questions? Comments?