Road trips: A wonderful journey into packing anxiety - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Road trips: A wonderful journey into packing anxiety

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Lynne D. Schwabe Lynne D. Schwabe

Lynne D. Schwabe was owner of Schwabe-May of Charleston, ran her own marketing consulting firm and is a nationally recognized motivational speaker. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Women's Wear Daily, and has appeared on CNBC's Power Lunch. She is now director of development for the National Youth Science Foundation. She can be reached at

Road trip! It used to sound so exciting. Exploring, eating at Cracker Barrels all across the country, using public restrooms. But now that I am of a certain age, the prospect of spending five hours a day in the car on an odyssey of discovery is fraught with the anxiety of what to take along. Staying in motels is dicey these days, what with bedbugs and germ-infested TV clickers. And how I remain the same size after eating in restaurants for two weeks also is cause for concern. So I am making a mental list of things to take with me on my next car trip.

Pillows are a must. Good grief, the ones in motels are a joke. They are either flat as a pancake or so stiff and firm that they resemble rectangular rocks. So I will have to find room in the back seat for my chiropractic water pillow, my Tempur Pedic between-the-knees pillow and my little square armrest pillows. Thank heavens I won't be traveling by plane, or else that would be all I could take with me. Oh yes, and the buckwheat-filled neck pillow for car napping. And the lumbar pillow, so that I won't develop nagging lower back pain. I suffer withdrawal when separated from my Pratesi bath towels, but I'll just have to suffer as they are so large that they would require their own suitcase. 

Snacks are essential. Just try to find anything except fast food on the road. So what should I bring? Maybe some granola bars. Sugary, but whole grain. Or apples. Except that they are not even slightly filling. Hardboiled eggs are good, but they stink after the second day out. Raisins? Fattening. This will take research. I may have to spend some time Googling "what skinny people eat on vacation." And, what is it about vacations (or even just getting in the car) that makes me ravenous and want to order a Reuben sandwich at every stop, something I would NEVER eat at home? 

The wardrobe should be a no-brainer. Pants made with a little stretch. Broom skirts and tee shirts. Flip flops. I don't eat dinner in fancy places, so one pair of linen pants and a cotton sweater should suffice. I gave up bathing suits about 15 years ago, as I no longer sit by any bodies of water; that will save a lot of space! Wait — what about long hikes or endless hours spent in museums? Ok, I will bring my walking shoes, "developed with inner shock absorbent footbeds that return the thrust of the heel strike upwards for increased walking/running efficiency." That should have me springing around like a teen. Either that, or bouncing. Note to self: Take a few good sports bras.

Apps. Yes, I have to download a few of those apps that tell you what good stuff to visit in towns like Applebong, Mo. and Indian Burn, Minn. And I hear that there are some really excellent audible books. Friends say they enjoy hearing Mark Twain or Thoreau read by people like Helen Mirren or Anthony Hopkins. But I will want to stay awake behind the wheel, so I am looking into the Rob Lowe book or something like "Fifty Shades of Grey." Or maybe Rob Lowe reading "Fifty Shades of Grey."

No camera. They look ridiculous hanging around necks.  I'll have a session with a 12-year-old on how to use the perfectly good camera built in to my phone the day before I leave.

I think that covers it. Well, bug repellent. OK. Sunscreen. Check. Dental floss — it's OK to use on the interstate; none of those people will ever see me again. Oh yes, and Tums. Beano. Band Aids. Ben Gay. Kleenex. A tire gauge. And, a very practical friend told me that I should always have a pair of sensible shoes in my car in case I got stuck by the side of the road and had to walk someplace. Oh, goodie, my walking shoes can do double duty here. Still, despite the space saving on shoes, this miscellaneous category may take up as much space as everything else. I may have to rent a trailer. 

It's May. If I start packing and loading the car now, I could be ready to go someplace by July!