• Category Archives simple travel
  • Rally to Restore Sanity – My Experience


    I am not particularly fond of large crowds. I get impatient and start to feel claustrophobic and generally avoid them unless there is a really compelling reason. Such as a James Blunt concert or a talk by the Dalai Lama. Or, a political rally in Washington, D.C. that promises to be just a little extraordinary.


    Which is why I found myself, along with my husband and two sons, at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. last weekend. While estimates vary, there were probably 215,00-250,000 people in attendance. That’s about a quarter of a million people in one relatively small area.

    And, you know what?  It was really fun!

    The weather was picture postcard perfect and the atmosphere of the rally was very upbeat and positive.  People were extremely polite, even when we were jammed in a human gridlock that prevented absolutely any movement for minutes at a time.

    Some of the best seats were in trees our on top of port-a-potties.  Although this one looks like a high-risk endeavor (note what the red arrow is pointing to):

    port-a-potty about to collapse

    We had plenty of time to read placards.


    Some of my favorites were:

    • I’m not you. I’m a witch.
    • Labels are for Pickle Jars.
    • Colbert for Congress.
    • And, of course, our sign:

    Oregonians 4 Sanity(Keen observers will note I am wearing the dress from Day 30 of the Black Dress Challenge).

    From our vantage point on the steps of the National Gallery of Art (which has free admission and houses one of the best art collections you could ever wish to see), we could barely make out the figures of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert in the far distance.  Colbert was particularly animated as he jumped around in his Evel Knievel-inspired white jumpsuit and cape.

    Was it easy to get to the rally? Only if by easy you mean taking one son out of his midterm at college, taking the other son away from his senior Homecoming weekend, and joining your husband at a midway point (the Albuquerque Airport) on your transcontinental route at as you winged your way to the East coast.

    And was the rally perfect? No, they could have used a much better sound system. And there could have been many more large screen monitors. And cellphone coverage would have been a huge plus. Who knew that the vast number of people tweeting and emailing pics would essentially shut down the wireless service, making it virtually impossible to make a call or send a text?

    But I am not complaining. Far from it. Sometimes you have to get beyond your comfort zone and try new experiences. Along with 250,000 of your new best friends.

    images: © 2010. Christianna Pierce.

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  • My Top 10 Air Travel Tips

    Winged Mercury, Rockefeller Center, NYCI have been traveling quite a bit lately and imagine many of you are taking trips this summer, too. In light of that, I thought I would share some tips to ease the rigors of air travel and help you arrive at your destination feeling energized and refreshed. These are things I do whenever I fly, and I have noticed a real difference in how I feel when I land. I hope these tips help you travel with greater comfort and ease.

    Top 10 Air Travel Tips

    1. Pack a light lunch. Airline food is pricey, unhealthy, and sometimes even non-existent. If you are traveling from home, consider a hummus/romaine lettuce/pita sandwich and apple. The pita bread travels well without getting mushy, and the hummus is a good source of protein to keep your energy up. The apple has a high water content to help keep you hydrated and has fiber to help you feel full.
    2. Avoid salty foods, including the peanuts/crackers/chips handed out in the plane.  Salt will make you retain water, and chances are good that you will bloat enough as it is due to changes in air-cabin pressure.
    3. Buy a bottle of water after you clear security.  You should try to drink 8 ounces of water for every hour of air travel. Drinking water can help prevent puffiness, and you will get the added benefit of stretching your legs as you make your way to and from the restroom.
    4. Bring a bag of raw, unsalted almonds to snack on.  They contain protein and calcium and just a few almonds will help stave off hunger during a long flight.
    5. Ladies, wear comfortable leggings.  Choose a soft, breathable fabric and select a size that is not too tight.  The reason I suggest leggings is that, not to put too fine a point on it, you don’t want your clothing to touch the floor of the airplane restroom.  I have found leggings superior to slacks and capris in this regard.
    6. Pack a pair of short cotton socks in your carry-on bag, especially if you are wearing sandals or flip-flops. After removing your footwear, simply slip the socks onto your feet when you go through airport security.  I’m not a germ-a-phobe, but, seriously, do you really want your bare feet touching those rubber floor mats in the security line?  Also, you can wear the socks later on the plane to keep your tootsies warm if the air-conditioning is too cool.
    7. Bring a bamboo pashmina shawl.  This rolls up to a very small size and can be worn around your shoulders or used as blanket while in the plane. Later, the shawl can dress up an outfit and keep you warm on a chilly night. I recommend bamboo for it’s eco-friendliness and super-soft feel.
    8. Two words:  carry-on.  If at all possible, pack everything into carry-on luggage.  This allows on-line check-in, greater flexibility if you need to change planes at the last minute,  the guarantee of having your bags arrive with you at your destination, and zero waiting-time for bags after you land.

      But, please, be sensible and courteous in the size of your carry-on bag and personal item (e.g., hand-bag or computer bag). This means no mega-bags that weigh nearly as much as a small adult. Pack simply and bring less than you think you need.  Simple living allows you to get by with less and to make creative substitutions when called for.
    9. One word:  Kindle.  The Kindle or free Kindle Reader on your smart phone or computer can take the place of a stack of books.  This is technology at its finest.
    10. Breathe.  Travel is inherently filled with unpredictability and uncertainty.  Rather than stressing over situations that are out of your control, remember to take deep breaths and enjoy the journey!

    Bon voyage!

    Your turn: what tips and tricks do you have for traveling more easily?  Please feel free to leave a comment below.

    image: Winged Mercury, Rockefeller Center, NYC © 2010. Christianna Pierce.

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