How to Travel Happy

How to Travel Happy

Over the next few months I will be spending a lot of time in planes and on long road trips. I've flown a little over a million miles so far and during this time in the air, I've created a little kit of what works to help make travel more comfortable.

One tip that helps me feel refreshed, especially after a transcontinental trip, is taking off all of my makeup before I board a flight and sweeping on a Tan Towel. By the time I land, I have a nice glow. I swipe on a little Vaseline Rosy Lips and I feel ready to jump into a new adventure. The pashmina helps me feel cozy on cool flights and the eye mask along with the noise cancelling headphones relax me into a nice doze after a light fruit plate on the flight. I love my bkr bottle. It reminds me to keep hydrated, which is especially important when you're 36,000 feet in the air. Elizabeth Gilbert's newest book "Big Magic" is one that I have been saving to read on my next trip. I'm excited to start reading this and discover my own big magic.

Wherever you are traveling to this season, may you be surrounded by happiness.


Last night I went to bed before the election results were tallied. I had six news programs on the TV and anxiously watched them all. As I saw where things were heading, I shut the TV off. I grabbed the dog and headed to bed where we cuddled and I fell asleep with her heart beating against my chest. In that moment, all was right with the world.

This morning I woke up to dread, sadness, terror even on my Facebook feed. My heart went out to my LGBTQ friends, my Muslim friends, my nieces who are worried about their futures. I worry for them. So, I closed Facebook too. Today I want to be positive and send my energy out into this universe that somehow feels like it has been titled at a precarious angle. As author Liz Gilbert ("Eat Pray Love") says: Onward.

lesson #179: stop looking back

Cannes. Hollywood. Honolulu. Paris. Sydney. Prague. Toronto. London. This is where I worked. In these places, I did what I loved. As a reporter for MSN, I traveled globally and interviewed actors and musicians about their latest projects.  It was exciting and challenging and I was in love with my job. It never occurred to me that one day it would just stop. That's what happened. One day, on May 5, 2009 I was part of the big Microsoft Cinco de Mayo layoff. A job that had been my life for 14 years was just gone.

I was lost. I remember sitting in my car in the parking garage immediately after I got the news. My cel was ringing madly. Word got around fast and several other friends were also part of the layoff but I couldn't speak to anyone. I was shocked and sad. I was displaced.  In the dark garage I squinted out at the bright, beautiful day. I didn't know where to go. It felt weird to be skipping work but I had two weeks to come and go as I pleased. I couldn't have felt more alone. Or humiliated.

For weeks and even months after this fateful morning, I would think back to what I had. On Facebook I read about the adventures that my fellow reporter friends were still going on and I thought "This isn't fair." I spent a lot of time looking back at what I had lost.

"It isn't fair. It isn't fair. It isn't fair." It was my mantra.

The one thing I didn't do was look ahead. I was so wrapped up in what I had lost that I didn't  treasure what I had or what could be. One day, I was holding our dog and feeling sorry for myself (as I had for months) and I realized as I looked at her that I had her and my husband and my health and our home. What else mattered than that? Truly nothing. I had what mattered the most. I also realized that I DID have the coolest job and the most amazing memories and that is something I would always have. It's like the saying "It's better to have loved and lost than never having loved at all." This is so true. I would always be able to go back to my memory bank and remember the way the sea smelled as I sipped an espresso on my walk home from a party at 4am at the Cannes Film Festival. There would always be memories and that was enough. It was time to look forward and see what I had missed when I was busy feeling sorry for myself.

I joined the human race again. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and what I didn't have and started to feel grateful for what I had and what could be. I looked at what happened as a gift. I started The Happygirl Experiment. I spent more weekends at home. For years I had spent almost every weekend away from home working somewhere in the world. I went to brunch with L. I visited Home Depot at 7am on a Saturday and did house projects that I never had time for. I let go of the angst that came with working in a high stress job. I let go of checking my phone in the middle of the night for urgent mail. I let go of what I thought I had lost and I found what I didn't even know I was missing. The future lay ahead of me. Wide open. Anything was possible. I was ready. And happy.