Notes From The Edge

The tour starts tomorrow, and I’m more than a little nervous. I actually think that it’s more like straight up fear, that borders on terror. I’m determined to have the habu vest thing to wear on the tour (I actually hope I’m wearing it tomorrow) but it’s not finished yet, and every time I sit down to knit, the butterflies in my stomach start acting up and I end up leaping up to clean something, or organize something or do something else that doesn’t really need doing.

rustvest 2014-03-03

I think I’m just about packed.  I have enough clothes for 12 days (really I don’t, but I have a little bottle of Soak wash, and I think I can get through) and now I’m down to adding the good stuff. Book tours present a certain challenge to the human spirit. There’s a lot about them that’s good – the publisher’s support of the book is good, being with all of you is more than good, and as silly as it sounds, I know that at some point in the next 12 days, I will eat at least two breakfast burritos, and I like those a lot.

The biggest challenge is in the actual living of the thing. The planes, the cars, the hotels, eating in airports – I’m a homebody, and while I’m getting really, really good at travel now (you should get behind me in an airport security line if you ever get the chance, and I can bug out of a hotel room faster than a MASH unit, let me tell you) I still find myself a little nervous when I think about not being home with my stuff and my people for so many days in a row.  So, here I am, adding the icing to my packing cake. The things that I bring along to make it just a little bit better, a little bit nicer.  Here’s what I’ve got.

– good coffee beans, a tiny handcrank grinder and an AeroPress

– a mug from home, because nothing says despair like hotel coffee in a paper cup at 5:10am.

– a candle. (I’ve never lit it, but somehow it makes me feel prepared.)

-a present from my friend Jen, designed to solve part of the food problem on tours.

oatmealset 2014-03-03

It’s a mason jar, a ziplock of large flake oatmeal, and a little box full of containers with goodies like coconut, nuts, seeds and dried berries. Add hot water and whatever fruit I manage to buy at that day’s airport, wait five minutes and I’ve got a hot, delicious, wholesome dinner. (Dinner’s the hard one. My day is travel and events, and by the time I get back to the hotel room, room service – if the hotel has it, is closed. The only thing worse than being tired in a strange place is being tired and hungry in a strange place.) Jen’s a genius.

-a knife, for cutting up fruit, or slicing a hard boiled egg, or whatever.

– a tiny little box of gourmet salt.  It can turn the aforementioned egg into something a little special.

– tea bags. The brands that I like.

-Slippery elm lozenges, because I know for a fact my voice is going to try and quit on me somewhere in there.

– A bartender’s corkscrew, mostly for the beer opener on it. Every once in a while somebody gives me a great bottle of beer. (I love you guys) and carrying an opener means that I don’t have to use my keys to get into it, which I totally know how to do, and indeed, there is a key on there that I use just for that, in a pinch, but the opener makes me feel classy.

– Big ziplocks. For clothes I washed that didn’t dry before the next flight, and anything else I want to bag up.

That’s it. I feel pretty good about it, but I’m sure that there’s other frills I could get in there.  Anybody got a genius idea that I should be tucking in there?

(PS. Don’t say yarn. That was first in.)

(PPS. Don’t say books. That was second.)


231 thoughts on “Notes From The Edge

  1. I now travel with an electric kettle because hotel coffeemaker water always tastes like stale, weak, nasty coffee to me. It’s a luxury because it takes up space, but an 11pm cup of herbal tea that doesn’t taste like coffee grounds is worth it.

    • I agree. Last week I was in a hotel with a Krupps coffee maker. I ran water through that sucker 10 times to get the horrible coffee taste out. They could not get the individual tea for me. The week was not a complete loss.

    • You should get an immersion heater. It’s a small coil like device that plugs in and can heat a cup or so of water very fast. Much smaller than your portable kettle and works very well.

    • Yes! This was my first thought too! Electric kettle for tea, coffee, oatmeal – even instant soup (it’s been a cold winter even here in the states!) – I wouldn’t rely on those awful coffee pots in hotel rooms. They taste of coffee – but also only heat up to 180 degrees (for coffee) when you need to get to 210 or so for boiling for tea etc. Worth bringing!

    • Oh, definitely!! If they don’t have a microwave in the room (which isn’t my first choice, but there you go), the coffee maker is often just icky with “coffee oil.”

      Another option, perhaps, is a small thermos you can stash in your luggage – get the hotel’s bar or restaurant to fill it with hot water for you!

    • I’m pretty sure I dealt with that one time. Maybe someone could convince Prairie Lights to host Yarn Harlot in Iowa City.
      Very few big box or independent bookstores left in Iowa with the death of Borders/Waldenbooks.

  2. I always have to have a selection of music and an audiobook or two.
    Also lotion as my hands tend to dry out while traveling.

  3. I love that you bring your own coffee kit. Lucky for you, you should encounter plenty of good beans along the way. If I could make it to the San Francisco stop, I’d bring you fresh coffee.

      • Bamboo spork is a good addition to your kit. I never leave home without my Swiss Army Knife, absolutely essential to travel as long as you don’t put it in your carry-on.

    • Yes, I’ve done that too whenever I’m traveling by car! But–remember to put it in a brightly printed pillowcase. I’ve been known to forget my pillow, and they never are willing to give it back! (They say they’ll look, but they never find it…)

  4. A good chocolate bar is a necessity in my book. The oatmeal thing is very helpful. I also like the mini packets of Justin’s pb or the coconut butter for emergency purse food. They make fruit last longer in tummy and are excellent when you don’t have time to eat even if you just eat it plain! Did you remember your bra and hairbrush? A hair tie? Alka seltzer is a goodie too. Airport food bothers my tummy.

  5. I always bring a night light when I travel so I don’t have to turn on a light or bang around in the dark to pee in the middle of the night.

    • We do that, too.
      In fact, the last two summers we’ve stayed in the same rental cottage. The first year, we brought a night light to go in the bathroom. We forgot it when we were packing to go home. The second year, it was still there!! So we left it. 🙂

      • I use the light in my phone to find the bathroom. Less light, so no-one else wakes up and added benefit, the clock on it tells me what time it is.

    • Get the flashlight app for phone. Maybe iPad has one too. I just used it last night to see to jumpstart my employee’s truck at 9:30pm standing in snowdrift in 0 degrees! At least I could see.

        • You can also get it filled at one of the fast food places inside security. Cheaper than bottled water and doesn’t spill on you when they hit rough air. No much worse than a long flight and rough air with no drink service.

          • I usually fill my water bottle at a water fountain once I’m through security. I did have someone at a little store give me ice once, that was kind of him.

          • SeaTac airport now has water faucets on the gate side of security to fill your water bottle! Not a drinking fountain (too short to fill bottle!), but a real, tall-enough tap!

    • Prunes are also a great idea. I always become “irregular” when travelling and suffer for it. Alternatively, I pack several Peri-colace pills with my prescription meds. Prunes would be a more natural choice though.

  6. I love the oatmeal idea. I always pack granola bars or power bars so that the boys don’t get cranky, but when I can’t find a meal (too late, too early, no vegetarian options) they’ve saved me too.

    And cut a few crossword puzzles out of the paper for when you want to look unapproachable. They don’t take up any room in your purse or knitting bag and no one asks if you are crocheting or mentions their grandmothers.

  7. I’ve been traveling a bit lately with my daughter for college interviews… These are things that are must-haves for us:
    Charger cords for every device on the trip – in a ziplock.
    Travel packs of wipes – surface wipes, butt wipes, hand sanitizing wipes & make-up remover wipes.
    Dollar bills – a tip for anyone who helps can brighten their day and lighten your load. Last week we had an unplanned layover and arrived in a motel at 1am – an offer to pay for a few yogurts and bananas from their breakfast bar gave us the bedtime snack we needed. He didn’t want to accept pay for the food, but did accept the tip.
    A real sense of adventure and fun… Even the misery of airports can be turned around with a sense of humor.

    Have fun and good luck on your tour!

  8. We also like to have a small cutting board. It doubles as a plate. But we’re a little extreme on the “enjoy travelling as much as staying at home” scale. Our idea of eating while travelling involves stopping at the grocery store. Hummus, pitas, veggies. Nicer meal and much cheaper than a restaurant.

    Oh, and chopsticks (I keep a pair in a case in my purse). That way you always have utensils with you, and as an added bonus, you never have to use the cheap pine ones.

  9. Gum and/or mints. Sewing kit. If you don’t want to take your own pillow, take your own pillowcase. Ziplocs in all sizes are a must.

  10. I was gonna say an eye mask and a neck pillow for sleeping but you may be the kind that likes to look at the scenery while traveling. I know I like to look out the window while flying.
    Wow, they’re gonna let you have knitting needles, a corkscrew and a knife in your suitcase?

  11. Great socks or cozy slippers so you don’t have to walk barefoot in the hotel room. Earplugs to block out noisy neighbors. Headphones to tune things in/out. A sock-in-progress to photo at all of your stops & detours. And a few moments of peace and quiet to enjoy the journey & accomplishments that have brought you to where you are 🙂

    • The beer opener is genius. I second slippers or socks, or perhaps instead a cheap pair of flip-flops that can be worn in the hotel shower. And a car charger, even if you won’t be driving yourself anywhere… and one of those 1/8″ miniplug cables that lets you play music on your phone through the car’s aux input jack. And DEFINITELY some squishy foam earplugs. Safe travels!

      • Sox/slippers. I work with realtors and they will tell you….eeewww….about bedbugs and other creepy crawlies that infest hotels. Don’t put anything on the floor. If you have to, use the tub! Come to SC sometime!

        • If you put your slippers in your carry on, you can wear them during the flight. I saw a traveler from Europe doing that and I thought that they really knew how to be nice to themselves.

  12. What helps me when I travel is to have something with me that smells like home. Hotel rooms are so impersonal, and when you’re dashing from one to the next like a mad woman having something you can hold next to you while you sleep, that smells like home, can be a real comfort. I’d suggest one of Joe’s shirts.

    Also, extra underwear. I have never, ever been sorry I have packed that.

  13. I always carried little packets of EmergenC with me to births. A little extra energy and protection against any germs floating around the airport. I second the wipes for everything, also small containers from the drug store travel section of hand sanitizer for anywhere in the airport or plane.

  14. I second the vote for chocolate!
    The item I used more than I expected on my last business trip was a small LED flashlight – charges in the laptop’s USB outlet (but hasn’t needed it yet). It has a clip to act as a booklight. I also considered a head lamp.
    Hmm maybe you need a rider in your contract that the bookstore has to provide a vegetarian meal for you. If you prefer not to eat before speaking, they could arrange something packed. Seems extremely unfair you could return to the hotel unfed.
    Already looking forward to the trip photos! Safe travels.

    • Have you heard David Sedaris talk about book tours? In an interview on Fresh Air (NPR) he said he’d so tired of late dinners or skipped dinners that now he eats while signing books. I’m not sure who he has bring it, but he says not being hungry is well worth the awkwardness.

      • John Sandford wrote a marvelous article about book tours about a year ago. It included everything from clothing choices to wear and when to eat.

  15. A power strip to plug charge everything (we stayed in a hotel with 1 free plug-in to charge my phone, Kindle, camera battery, and to use my laptop…)

    Baking soda to hand-wash garments (I have washed stinky teen boys’ bike riding shirts and preteen girls’ Fastpitch uniforms and they come out clean and fresh-smelling every time…)

  16. Hi have one of those tiny flashlights attached to a loop in my handbag. The kind that are the size of a large coin that you squeeze to make them work. I have not had to use it often but the few times I have I was very, very grateful.

    • I second the flashlight suggestion. You can pick up those little led ones for pretty cheap, and with batteries in it, you can go far 🙂 You could even signal for help if you crash on a desert island.

  17. Make sure some of the spare underwear is in your carry-on, just in case the suitcase goes astray. Then, at least you’ll have something to wear while you put out a plea for underwear to be delivered to your next signing. If your suitcase does go astray, it might not catch up to you until you get home.

    I try to bring a laundry bag for whatever doesn’t get washed immediately. Your ziplocs should cover that, as long as you can tell your dirty clothes bag from your not-yet-dry bag.

  18. Lavender essential oil–a few drops on your pillow, on your hanky, in your bath, clothes wash. It is antiseptic, moth repellant and smells nice. Bon voyage.

  19. Just be sure to remember to put the corkscrew & knife in the checked luggage or you won’t have them with you for long!

    • I found an overlooked corkscrew/bottle opener in my bag on my last trip — after I had been through airport security. I tried to give it to the security guy on the way back and he said “no, those are fine, keep it”.

  20. I try to bring a few small clothespins or binder clips to use for hanging things up to dry and keeping bags (especially of food) closed. A few sanitary napkins and bandaids just in case. Even a sturdy cord that can be a makeshift clothesline. I second the suggestions of various size plastic bags, flash or reading light, wipes, dollar bills. And a lot of patience. Have a wonderful trip – it might not seem like it, but this is, in some ways, a reward for a job well done.

    • errr… no, 12 days of plane hopping and hotel living isn’t a reward. It’s marketing. It’s hard work, and it takes her away from her family. Meeting some nice people along the way isn’t a “reward” , it’s just a tiny pleasant moment in a hard job.

  21. Hi Stephanie! Sounds like you’re set, and I can’t think of anything extra that hasn’t been mentioned, except for downloading a movie to your ipad/laptop for entertainment on the plane. Hope to see you tomorrow in Portland!

  22. I definitely second the slippers – carpets in hotel rooms are nasty and the bathroom floors are always cold.
    I also really like to bring along a cloth napkin for my grab and go meals – so much more like home than paper.

  23. Echinacea, zinc lozenges, ColdFX, vitamin D, and have someone bring you cranberry juice to every talk.

  24. I have one of those quick drying hand towels that I always take with me in my hand luggage when I’m travelling. Whilst it maybe isn’t so important if you don’t have night flights, it always helps it seem more like morning if I can wash and dry my face when I land. I also tend to travel with a giant, woven silk scarf. It scrunches up much, much smaller than any knitted shawl, but is still warm enough to be a blanket in a pinch.

  25. I always have Wet Ones and Lysol wipes in my bag. When I get to any hotel room I have one in my hand and open the door and wipe off anything I use. I also put the TV remote in a zip lock.My hotel slippers/flip flops. A few bars of Lindt chocolate also travel good.

  26. I didn’t realize the utility of baby wipes until I started traveling with my kids (we cloth diapered at home, so our cloth wipes were basically the same as a small washcloth and I didn’t really see the draw of baby wipes until I took a few trips with them). They are great for a quick armpit or private area wipedown before you crash into bed if you don’t have time to shower after a long day, and they come in all kinds of handy resealable travel sizes.

    I also took a water bag with me on my last trip, which was kind of an impulse buy before I left but ended up being super handy. Rolls up flat to go through security or when not in use, then fill at a water fountain and clip to outside of backpack with attached carabiner hook. And then when you’re done, you’re not stuck with a big empty water bottle – just roll it back up.

    • Baby wipes are also handy if you dribble something down the front of you. It will help take out lots of drips on your clothes.

      Have a great trip! Hope to see you in the sunny South next time around!

  27. I have not one, but two Swiss army knives. One for outdoor activities, with a little saw, and one for indoors. That one is smaller, and has scissors.
    Good, sharp knife, pliers, toothpick, screwdriver, you name it, I got it. Saved me more than once.

  28. Wish I lived closer to where you are going to be stopping. I want to see some of the finds of your recent shopping trip with Sam. I’m thinking she did a great job. Enjoy your tour.

  29. I just this week added a tiny bottle of dish washing soap, because I was tired of my road utensils tasting like crappy hotel shampoo.

    Bon voyage!

    (Also, I LOVE the captcha on the new site!)

  30. Great suggestions from everyone–but you’d need a steamer trunk if you took all that! Earplugs (the squishy orange kind) are tiny and can give you a good night’s sleep in a hotel room. You really don’t want to hear your neighbours doing, um, whatever they’re doing. Just make sure you can hear your alarm clock in the morning, or your wake-up call from the front desk. I think Jen’s snack box is a great idea. Have a wonderful trip!

  31. Activated charcoal tablets. Because you never know what’s in the food and nothing is worse than a stomach bug when traveling. Ask me how I know.

  32. Hey Stephanie, I don’t have any items to add to your list, just wanted to wish you a wonderful trip and I hope to see you in Denver!!! Enjoy!!!

  33. Oh, thanks for the mini grinder and Aeropress idea! Am traveling to Arizona next week and will be in a location void of good coffee shops. It’s in my cart as we speak!!! Just have to pick up some beans on the way to the airport…

    And… the offer of the Strauch winder is still on the table.

    Safe travels and HAVE FUN!!!

  34. With all the traveling that you do, you should totally pay for the zip-processing through the security line. It’s an annual expense, something like $250, but really, if it cuts down the craziness in 12 airports in 12 days, it’s worth it.

    • The zip process is called Nexus and only costs $50 for 5 years. It even works (occasionally) for overseas travels altho it was intended for US-Canada. Best travel tip I ever had.

  35. My mother swears by panty liners. She can just switch them out instead, making her underwear last a couple days longer without having to launder. She likes to travel light.

  36. As a veteran travelers, my usual comfort item is a small scented candle. Hotel cleaning products usually leave a mildly unpleasant smell in the room and a candle takes care of that. Enjoy your trip!

    • Remember to bring something to light the candle. I brought an emergency candle with me, when I came to Hawaii to over see the building of our retirement house. I know the power can go out often. The first night that the weather was bad, I remembered that I didn’t have any way to light the candle. Lucky the power was on when I needed it and I got matches at the store the next day.

  37. A spoon? Otherwise you might be trying to use a size 15 knitting needle to eat your oatmeal. Good luck, wish Indiana was on your whistle stop tour.

  38. For travels with many trips and stops (which is the exact description of a book tour) I’d recommend an insulated lunch bag (folds flat) and a couple of plastic kids lunch ice packs (already flat). That way when you come across a stash of fruit or cheese or leftover salad, you can pop it into the lunch bag with ice packs from your hotel fridge and take it along for the next leg of your journey. Takes up almost no space when you aren’t using it.

  39. I wish I was close enough to go to one of the events, but I am in the center of Pennsylvania and we have some white stuff out there that is not wanting to melt. If I was or if anyone who is going to the talks reads this – make up a yummy basket of food for Steph! Put in good things – like a bottle of beer, some nice cheese already cut to eat, assortment of crackers, some nuts, some fresh fruit (cut into bite size pieces) a muffin or something very yummy for desert, don’t forget some plastic silverware or a plate or two. A basket like that is wonderful for someone in a hotel room to have when they get to the room too late to have room service. I can’t remember if you are vegan, but it rings in my head that you are. Otherwise you could add some meats too.
    Anyhow, have a great time on your tour!

  40. Well, gosh, now I have no excuse not to look for a good local beer to bring you when you come to Philly.

    I would second the wipes and the collapsible water bottle, but you sound like you’ve got it covered. Wishing you safe and easy travels (I know, but I can wish it for you!).

  41. I know you packed a coffe mug, but I think you should consider a Hydro-flask. It keeps coffee warm for up to 8 hours, it doesn’t get hot on the outside, it doesn’t sweat if you throw it in a bag, and best of all it has a truly tight seal so if you throw your coffee in your bag on the way out of the hotel room you can count on having a hot drink sometime later in the day without any damage to your knitting.

  42. A little flashlight, the smallest you can find. One that can be clipped onto a long nylon cord that you can wear around your neck (this also makes it easy to find in the bottom of things) is great.

    I failed the human verification test first time around! A serious blow to my self image. Let’s see if I can do better this time. (I don’t even see such a test – so maybe it’s true and I am really not human!)

    • Failed the human verification test!? I’m laughing so hard I’m crying. I needed that. It’s still 4 degrees Fahrenheit here. Thank you.

  43. Happy travels, I hope the weather co-operates for you. I never fly without a good decongestant in my bag, landing with suddenly stuffy sinuses is the worst! ( I learned this the hard way)
    Hope to see you in San Francisco.

  44. The best thing I ever bought for travelling is a small flashlight that glows in the dark. A flashlight you can find without a flashlight – brilliant! The second best thing is, as someone mentioned earlier, a power bar. Why, if they actually have an empty plug, does it have to be behind the bed or somewhere else you have to stand on your head to get at??!! I don’t envy your travel schedule, but it sounds like you have it all under control so try not to fret. And if you don’t, just put out the word and you’ll be overwhelmed with whatever you forgot!

    Can’t wait to read the new book, just wish you were coming somewhere nearby…..

  45. I use yarn bobbins to wind my various cords on – earphones, chargers, etc. The ones that look like clear plastic spools, not the flat ones. I put all my cords into a small zipper container that goes in my carry on and the bobbins keep the cords from getting tangled. For thicker or longer cords, use the larger bobbins. A medium size one will hold an earphone cord.

  46. I take a box of instant couscous and a small packet of my favourite stock cubes – instant yummy starch. Have also been known to take a small jar of vegemite, but I know that unless you’ve eaten it in mashed veggies as a baby the stuff is totall awful.

      • glad to be of service, and to know that my beloved vegemite is loved outside Australia. Have a great tour! Penny in Canberra, Australia.

  47. Aspirin and Gas-Ex (or some other kind of gas related meds). Nothing worse than being away from home in pain and/or farting all over everyone you see.

    • HAHAHAH!! Agreed! Failed stupid human verification test the first time…I think I know the difference between a tree and a robot?!?!

  48. My nose always gets really dry when I travel (planes and hotel rooms), so I suggest a saline nasal spray or neti pot. Heartfelt congratulations on the book and best wishes for the tour Stephanie!

  49. Hey Steph,

    I’ll be seeing you in Baltimore, one of your last stops. If you email me at the address I had to enter, I’ll be happy to bring you whatever you’re out of!!!! Can’t wait!!!!!

  50. To begin with, you should RELAX. This is not teaching. People are coming to bask in your genius and witty personality. You sit at a table and adoring fans watch you sign their books. It is an easy, happy gig. This is your chance to enjoy the contact. You do not have a syllabus to complete, text and materials to organize, and you are not stuck sticking to a schedule. You show up, people compliment you. How hard can that be? (By the way, I wish I lived near one of the stores in which you are appearing, and I would be there in a flash, talking to you and all agog because you are signing my book. Relax! This is the low stress part!

    By the way, I hope you are not going to try to take a corkscrew and a small knife in your carryons. That will make the airport secruity people go nuts. You know those things need to be in your checked luggage.

    HAVE FUN!!!!!

  51. My pillow always goes with me. Hand lotion, chapstick, sunscreen. A drop spindle,to amuse myself if I have to stand in lines.

  52. I always have an empty water bottle to fill after going through TSA and a baggy in my purse filled with homemade trail mix of dried fruit, nuts and chocolate covered raisans or peanuts.

  53. If you get to PDX and realize you’ve forgotten something, you can always hit up us Portlandians to bring you what you need. 🙂 (P.S. SO EXCITED to hear your talk tomorrow!!!)

  54. Hand lotion and chapstick. Traveling always makes my skin dry. LOVE the new captcha. Why can’t there be more of those around the internet. I can’t be the only one that has a hard time reading those garbled letters.

  55. A small container of all the aches and pains remedies you might need — zinc lozenges (for colds), ASA, Pepto-Bismol tablets, etc. Phone card (in case cell phone quits or is lost). Safety pins. Medical marijuana card.

  56. I seem to recall from years of reading your blog that you (understandably) shy away from hotel tub time and opt for the shower. Having said that, I think a bottle of lavender essential oil will help your perspective in the late evening and early morning. At home, I add it generously to the tub. On the road, add just a drop on a lightbulb. I took some to Madrona. It’s divine. A perfect beer and lavender…..(gasp)!!!!!!

  57. I love having my slippers. My bathrobe would be even better, but it’s hard to pack (long and fuzzy and pink).

  58. I always travel with a self-addressed and stamped puffy mailer in case, for some insane reason, TSA decides I may not travel with my knitting needles. Rather than have them thrown in the trash or sold at some clearinghouse thrift store, at least I know I’ll get them back in the mail.

  59. Cinnamon (to go with the oatmeal and fixin’s)
    I also, usually carry a travel mug that I like but would not be too sad if I lost.

    • I read this post and thought ‘bet she doesn’t have to worry about dinner this tour!’. Glad your planning to take care of her. (She’s coming nowhere near me or I’d be in.)

  60. You should invest in a decent Swiss Army knife. It will have every tool you will need, even a can opener. If you get an officer’s knife you’ll get the corkscrew as well.

  61. A few little squares of dark chocolate. You can at least usually buy them on the road but they’ve kept me from being an absolute bear in many airports.

    An empty reusable water bottle. This sounds silly but it means only needing a water fountain as you’re charging across the airport.

    A couple of packs of instant coffee, because while good coffee is wonderful, sometimes you’ll deal with pretend.

    Safe travels! Sorry I won’t get to see you on this trip, St. L is the closest you’ll be and unfortunately work doesn’t allow for it. I have the book on preorder though and I’m hoping we can get you onto the bestseller list again.

  62. I always travel with a little clam shell with some white sage in it. I also bring a candle I don’t light it, but it is a nice smell. One or two essential oils (rosemary, clary sage, lavender…) and some tinctures (usnea, skullcap, whatever you like). They are small and feel very homey to me.

  63. I know you said you had the yarn, but how about the needles and patterns that go with that? I always keep some needles in my checked bag JUST IN CASE my carry on ones get taken from me. It’s never happened, but I worry that it could.

  64. Maybe next time you could take a daughter with you, to ease the stress and loneliness of the crazy travel schedule. Someone to help you look after food and such so you can do your thing.

  65. emergency chocolate-as useful as currency, and my Nomi inkle loom. It keeps me entertained on the aeroplane, and doubles as a ball winder, a doorstop, a paperweight, a book prop, an iron, a tape measure, a hammer-and anything else I forgot.

  66. Your favourite pillowcase from home, doesn’t take up any room, but feels comforting in a strange place. Downside is that it is easy to forget in a hotel room.

  67. Have a wonderful time and good luck. Your book coming out tomorrow means me on my sofa, coffee in one hand and book in the other. I have been looking forward to it for months! Happy thoughts,

    Sarah in Calgary

  68. When I traveled to California from New York a few years ago, I found that disposable earplugs and an eye mask were great for when I wanted to sleep on the plane. The other thing that was great when I could not sleep, but simply wanted to relax was the ipod loaded with a guided meditation session.

  69. At my other job, I used to travel quite a lot. At the time I would always have in my bag a small electric kettle, a bowl and a spoon. With this I could make oatmeal, coffee and or heat up anything that I picket up at a store. If you picked up some fruit or vegies at the same time you would be set for a week.

  70. I think I’d bring my own pillow case 🙂 Have a wonderful tour. Was going to try and see you in Boston (I live in Connecticut) but you’re there in the middle of the week and that makes it a little hard to get to as I work in New York. Safe travels!


  71. A real picture of a real place you love with the real people you love in it, in a little frame, to sit by that grim hotel room alarm clock, so you open your eyes to something happy. Those first few AM minutes in the weird place are the worst.

  72. I never travel without a few emery boards (they take up less room than clippers and work well as bookmarks). Because I (as yet) refuse to have a cell phone, I also recommend a camera that can use AA batteries, just in case you forget the charger for the rechargeable batteries you bought for the camera (or the one for your cell phone)! If I’m flying, noise-canceling headphones are a must — that engine drone just disappears, whether or not you’re listening to music or the movie. And, as an insomniac, add my voice to the chorus for lavender essential oil, linen spray, candle, or even bar soap!

  73. I once had to buy emery boards at the airport, at an outrageous price. I was unable to ignore the little rough spot in my fingernail any longer. Maddening to me. Since then I never forget to throw one in my carry on.

  74. A few people have mentioned bringing chargers for all your electronic gizmos. Before packing them, label some bread bag closures with “cell phone”, “laptop”, “camera”, etc, and stick them on their respective chargers. That way, you aren’t searching for the correct charger (if you are ambitious, you can use different colours for different chargers), and if you happen to misplace one, you will know quickly which one is missing. Safe travels! (Oh, and a travel pack of duct tape–handy for fixing hems in a pinch, and patching just about anything else!) 🙂

  75. We travel from Florida to eastern Europe alot. I always take an extra large sarong. On the plane it’s a light weight blanket that doesn’t itch, a shawl, a thin pillow, a way to blackout light but still be able to breathe or a so small as to be unnoticeable item in my carry on. On the ground it’s been a bathrobe (worn like you’d wear it at the beach, not ideal but better than a tiny towel after a shower), a clean spot on the floor/ground, a rope…oh, and sometimes even a sarong.

  76. I like to take those battery-powered electric candles. Hotels don’t like it when you burn real candles. They also make great night lights.
    And bubble bath! Then I take those electric candles in the bathroom and have a nice long bubble bath without interruption before bed. Maybe at some point you will have time for a bubble bath?

  77. Echo the slippers for the hotel room. I’m an awful clothes packer so I bring a small spritz bottle of Wrinkle Release. And to get extra mileage out of jeans/shorts, a small spritz bottle of fabric Febreze.

  78. Safe travels. It’ll all go well…. One thing to do when you travel during the nicer weather is to check the open air/farmers markets…. Boston, Mass supposedly has a great one that runs from mid May through November… Maybe someone will be nice enough to hit them for you and bring goodies…..

    • Well, it’s March now, but we do have a number of winter farmers markets around town. I think most of them are going for another couple of weeks.

  79. Nervous I can understand, but fear bordering on terror? Perhaps the ramped up feelings are because your new book isn’t as much about yarn and knitting as your others, and you’re worried we’ll, therefore, be disappointed. No way, lady! We love reading your blog for the everyday happenings in your life, home, and family, and how you manage to deal with them . . . or not . . . with your sense of humor intact. You are a sensible and sensitive woman who balances work, family and fun vacations; it mystifies some of us how you do that.

    Traveling so much on a book tour isn’t my idea of fun either, but at each stop you will be enveloped in love from your thousands/millions of fans. You’ll be just fine, Steph.

  80. I don’t have a genius addition, but perhaps a little tip for your washing. Arizona is super dry, which can be problematic, but is brilliant for drying knits. I hand wash my stuff, send it through the spin cycle of the washing machine to remove excess water (even the feltables… they’re fine!), lay them flat in the evening, and by morning they are bone-dry. Since you probably won’t have access to a washing machine, you may want to lay stuff out earlier. But still… if you’re going to need to wash some stuff, this is probably the place for you to do it. ^_^ I can’t wait to see you! I hope you enjoy us! A pretty big group of us are getting together from Tempe Yarn and Fiber to come see you.

  81. I would suggest the most essential items that you will need to get you through anything that you can carry on!!!!! Our family must be jinxed because they always lose our luggage. So for carry on I take basic grooming needs (i.e. toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, wipes, cream, lip balm as I have dry skin, medications, especially the head ache remedies), amusement like knitting, or a trashy novel that if I don’t need it, I can leave behind and of course all my money and credit cards so that I can replenish! Have a good time.

  82. I checked–Millennium Restaurant is still going strong in San Francisco. I so hope you get to go again; I remember how much you swooned over the place last time, and with good reason–their food is better than anyone else’s anywhere. (I won’t be the one driving so I can’t snag some beforehand for you, I’m afraid.)

    Can’t wait to see you when you get here!

    • Greens is also a fabulous place. Located in Lower Fort Mason you get to watch the sun set behind the Golden gate Bridge (if no fog) while you watch the bay and eat great locally grown organic food.

  83. I like to include a nice cloth placemat and a napkin, which make a hotel-room meal feel planned instead of desperate. A small cutting board is really useful too.

  84. How about a t-shirt with a copy of the 4th amendment on it so that the airport screeners looking at your naked torso have something interesting to read.

    • Wouldn’t that be sort of a weird choice for a Canadian? (Not that I’m opposed to reading material, you understand.)

  85. The tricked out oatmeal is genius. Oatmeal in a sad little paper “bowl” is too depressing for words. Can’t wait for you to come to Tempe!
    (The airport may be in Phoenix, but Tempe is a different city, and they don’t always like being lumped in with the big sprawling thing that is Phoenix. Pro tip 😉 )

  86. If you are only taking direct flights this is not an issue, but I always put a change of underwear and socks in my carryon ever since the christmas I was flying from LA to ohio and my luggage decided at some point it would rather go to green bay.

  87. When the season is cold, pack something cool in case of weather change, and vice versa. Dried fruit travels well. Powdered milk (and other powdered drinks) can be mixed with hot water for delicious drinks in hotel (hot chocolate, hot lemonade). I also travel with a clothespin to close the heavy drapes that crack just enough to keep me awake from leaked light. I also pack a comfy robe in my carryon, in case of sickness, a fire alarm in the night, or the welcome chance to loaf in the room free of bra. Also pack a change of shoes–surprising how much energy it can give you to have a change.

  88. Can’t wait to see you Wednesday night! YAY! Deep breath and know that we appreciate all you go through to come see us.

  89. Meals out: I’ve no connection/interest, but suggest for listings of vegetarian/vegan restaurants and stores in almost any given city. If it’s a large city, include the zip/postal code of the area you’ll be in. User reviews are also included, to give you an idea of what to expect at each of those businesses.

  90. I know you are a veteran traveler. and I don’t want to instill more paranoia, but if you have not already, I recommend our Univ. of MN Extension web site wih the section “Advice for travelers” on how to inspect your room and keep your luggage free from the little buggers. I’m a scientist in the lab that studies them, and I feel obliged to tell everyone who travels a lot about our site.

    • Thanks for the tip. We are travelling in the southern US next summer, so my DH went on the web site and asked for the bedbug tips. The wallet sized cards arrived today.
      Much appreciated!

  91. I never leave home without my stuffed puppy dog. She’s black like my dog, Molly. I love to snuggle with my Molly impostor when I go to bed each night.

  92. I always travel with a can of Heinz Beans. Doesn’t need a can opener and tastes okay cold when you’re desperate. Best thing for a hungry vegetarian!

  93. Hey – you’ll be at the Powell’s right by my house, first day of the tour! Yay! We’ll be there. Hope your vest will be too. :0)
    Welcome back to Portland, Stephanie!

  94. I admire yours\ commitment to your values, especially when it comes to traveling as a vegetarian. I would think there would be times that you actually go hungry because you can’t find any food let alone vegetarian options. You could always check camping stores for freeze dried entries and I’ve seen bean and split pea flakes that only need hot water. Don’t know how tasty they are but they would be easy to carry. I shop at a store owned by Seventh Day Adventists and they have lots of portable vegetarian ideas.

    Enjoy your trip. FYI-major rain expected in Seattle on the 5th and 6th.

  95. I vote for the Tom Bihn travel tray. I used it for a multiple city/ multiple hotel trip with my daughters (both under 6) last year and it helped me keep track of hotel keys, phones and headphones etc.

    I also took my Tom Bihn Swift bag and was amazed how great it was on a plane (but you already know that). It fits so much, and it wears amazingly.

    I also really like the Evian water spray that you can get at cosmetic counters. It helps you travel without that desicated feeling. I also vote for Lo Lo Bars by Bar Maids for the same reasons. The single use eye drops are also great. Target brand are great and quite inexpensive.

    I am stealing your oatmeal kit idea the next time I travel, too. On our honeymoon, my husband and I ate the two pecan pralines our hotel left us for dinner at 11:30 pm on a Sunday because we were delayed so much. After that, I began bringing protein bars everywhere we went.

    Good luck on all your travels, I hope they are filled with amazing experiences and that you are home before you know it. Cheers!

  96. Hair dryers work great for emergency clothes drying. Just hang the items on the shower rod and blow dry. Has saved me more than once.

  97. For easy-prep with a bit of protein, you can bring pouches of dehydrated camping food. Just add boiling water to the pouch and you’ve got minestrone or lentil soup or hummus (or chocolate mousse). Some options are more delicious than others, but all look much better than buying dinner at 7-11.
    Best of luck, and I’m looking forward to your next visit to BC!

  98. What great ideas. I discovered e-bags. they are t.h.i.n. nylon zippered bags with netting for the edges. I put undies in the smaller one, pants/shirts in a medium one. That way if TSA opens things up, or I need to open up my bag to get something…nothing is moving and sloshing around. I got mine on Amazon. Hope you are having a lovely time meeting people who adore you 🙂

  99. I’m so glad you’ve a beer opener because my First day of Portland vacation itinerary looks like this:
    Arrive, drop bag at hotel.
    Walk to fancy cool grocery that I know happens to have Epic beer, (craft brewery out of Salt Lake City for whom my brother brews) buy beer for Harlot.
    Walk to yarn store, start sock.
    Coffee and knit.
    Bus to Beaverton.
    Give Harlot beer.

    So, you know, you’ll have some beer.

  100. I would like to suggest a whistle, and clip it to the flashlight and put it all on a landyard. You just never know when or why you might need such a thing. Years ago we were in California and experienced a earth quake. The people at our hotel suggested that we do that so that we could be found if we were in rubble. Or even any other type of emergency.

  101. I’ve no travel tips for you but just want to wish you well on your tour. I’m really looking forward to reading your latest book and I’m sitting on my hands to stop myself from ordering online. I will try to purchase in a bookshop as requested before I cave and take the easy option. Not sure how easy it will be to find in a bookshop in Ireland though. Safe travels.

  102. Now I want to go on a trip so I can try out all these amazing tips – except fot the vegemite, I’m one of those Aussies who did not grow up eating it.
    Bon voyage Stephanie, and on your next tour please visit the land of Oz after New Zealand.

  103. I am laughing so hard, I am crying. I have already sent a quote to a friend. Thank you for that. Congratulations!!!!! Good luck on your tour (although you will not need the luck)

  104. How about a coat hanger – that way you can steam creases out of crumpled clothes by hanging them in your bathroom – in case your hotel room has those sorts of hangers that only work in a wardrobe. Will also be handy to dry clothes on! Good luck with the tour … [come to London!]

  105. You’re just going out to visit family so please don’t be nervous about how people are going to respond. We love you and appreciate you. About the travel, that’s always a little nerve wracking, no matter how long or how far you’re traveling. Here’s wishing you traveling mercies and may you meet knitters everywhere you go!

  106. a good foot balm in a scent you like… I like lemongrass for the start of the day, lavender for evening… Putting it on practically requires a foot massage and even when you are massaging your own feet it lifts the stress of the day away.

  107. Haven’t seen it in the comments yet, but if you have an extra pair of glasses, and/or glasses repair kit, you might want to pack those along as well. Anytime I couldn’t get to eye doctor was when I could guarantee something would go wrong!

  108. A hot-water bottle is the first thing I pack, always, no matter if I’m going to be gone overnight or for a month. I am perpetually cold, plus it relieves pain/stress in many situations. Have a great trip!

  109. You will be assured of decent dinner at least one stop – Changing Hands shares an open wall with Wildflower (a chain sandwich/pasta shop with good offerings – try the butternut ravioli) and there’s a Trader Joe’s in the same plaza so you could stock up on some dried fruits and things there. (But if you have time, have someone take you to Four Peaks for some local brews and good bar food. If I’m able to make the talk I’d totally drive you over.)

  110. Horrors!! Amazon can’t fill orders for your new book. Quoting long lead time — they’ll notify me when it will be available. What happened?????

  111. We have the same hair. You must bring curly hair tamer. My current favorite: Be Curly leave in goop by Aveda, and Style Prep by Aveda as well.

    Good luck on the tour!

  112. Dental floss (because there is nothing worse than 12 days with no floss, and no way to get any…been there, done that).

    A nice smelling dryer sheet.
    — de-clings clingy clothes
    — de-statics fly away hair
    — nicely camouflages smelly shoes/clothes in your luggage.

    Have fun!

  113. i think you should travel with a friend…it would make life so much more pleasant…or a daughter or a mom. Yes, I know it would double expenses, but with each book tour, a 12 vacation with your daughters on a rotating schedule would be so special you would not miss home.

  114. A family photo (doubles as a bookmark), comfy socks for walking around hotel room, essential oil (like lavendar) to help relax or for a scent pick me up, a scarf/bandana,a journal/pen for writing down notes/thoughts/impressions and a safey pin (never know when you need to MacGyver a piece of clothes and never seem to have one when you need one). Have a safe, fun trip.

  115. I find it so hard to believe that you’re ever on your own. People love you so much I’d think you would have people clamoring to take you out to eat at some vegan place or cook for you themselves. I totally would have when you were in Bethlehem Pa, but didn’t want to seem like a creeper. I just kept feeling bad for you knowing you would be alone and hungry in a hotel, but felt helpless to stop that. I guess I thought the people putting on the event would do that. Not so much I suppose…

  116. Since you’re like me and wish your clothes in a hotel room then a salad spinner is a must. I pack things in and round it so it doesn’t take up too much space, but it helps get more moister out of the clothes then you’d believe.

  117. silk underwear for travel. it washes easily in handbasin and dries in a flash. travel stores sell them.
    oregano oil, take three drops in a shot glass daily. my intrepid friend swears he quit having travel distress when he started this. he travels interesting places with brutal diseases, so I tend to listen to his travel advice.
    consider a shirt and a pair of pants in rayon/polyester/lycra knit. It’s a travel-proof, wrinkle-proof fabric. the pants usually have elastic waistbands. they are not dowdy. Since they usually come in cream and brown- I’ve seen sage- as well as black or white- they would match all of your clothes. If you get slightly expensive ones, they are from tri-lobal thread-so dirt stays hidden.
    you travel several times a year. You might as well get professional travel clothes.

  118. I don’t want you to bug out even more, but for those who read the comments I have a few travel suggestions. i’m an American living abroad with my husband and two kids. when we travel, it’s usually for a good length of time and we are importing a lot of things. so, when we return, our suitcases look crazy. but I do have a few things I won’t go without.
    -a spray and wash stain stick. because sometimes there are spills and no time to scrub right now. that stuff is magic.
    -a couple of bandaids and a small bottle of peroxide.
    -a pair of nail clippers. they are small and light and have proven to be worth the space.
    -stick of solid perfume. it can go in the purse and go through airport security. travel evokes smells.
    -tinted lip balm. again, it goes through security with no problem and makes me feel a bit more polish as a human than plain chapstick.

    • Ok, my head is spinning with all of these ideas…pantyliners, dryer sheets, oatmeal…I like those spongy toothbrushes on a stick like you get in the hospital. Don’t need to find a bathroom, just brush when ever, where ever. I also keep a nylon shopping bag that folds into it’s own pouch and clips onto my purse. That way I have a handy bag when I need it.

  119. A book! (I may have missed that), or a whole library on your Kindle/reader. Also, you must have lip balm.

  120. Love that breakfast burritos made the list of things to look forward to on book tour 🙂

    Tip when short on space: socks and underwear go inside your extra pair of shoes in your luggage to save space. (If you do have extra shoes).

    Good luck – can’t wait to read the book!

  121. A small night light and a couple of clothes pins are helpful in a hotel room. The night light helps from breaking a toe when stumbling around in the dark to go to the bathroom. The clothes pins helps to hold the drapes together for some reason hotel drapes don’t want to close together all the way.

  122. I’m starting to travel more, and as one of my primary services for my business is social media, I need to stay connected, and last year I totally got trapped in an airport, unable to find a plug & my phone at 29%.

    So for my Christmas this year, my best friend bought me a Powerrocks Magic Stick. You can charge it with your laptop or in an outlet, and it’ll charge your phone fully at least twice. I tend to use it in smaller doses to tide me over until I can get to an outlet, but it totally saved my bacon when at Stitches a little over a week ago. I was running a contest all weekend for a client, and NEEDED my phone to be charged.

    The Powerrocks is about the size of a small flashlight and comes in all sorts of colors so it’s easy to find in the bottom of your purse.

    Another gift from her was the Anker portable charger for my laptop and/or iPad. This one I haven’t used, and it’s a little heftier. About the size and weight of one of those WD external portable hard drives, but if it means I won’t be trapped in an airport without a charge for my laptop or iPad, it’s worth every moment of carrying it.

    I also travel with TONS of hand sanitizer and hand wipes, and a pile of Ziplocs in 2 sizes (gallon & quart). It’s amazing how often they come in handy. And the snack size ones are perfect for keeping business cards in. Both the ones you collect or if you have a few floating around to hand out.

    And finally, a tip for everyone: If you ever leave a charger somewhere or are at a hotel without a needed charger, ask the front desk. They can’t throw out the cords people leave behind because they’re technically lost and found, but who bothers tracking down a charger they can just run into a store at home and replace? So the hotel often has BUCKETS of chargers they’ll let you choose from. Any brand, Sony, Apple, Android, Blackberry, whatever. You can probably find a charger you need.

  123. Sachets of instant miso…the one with spring onions is good, then you can have soup before your dinner, and it gives you the extra nutrition you need when travelling

  124. Steph, you were great tonight, although the microphone at Powell’s sucks. I’ve heard you speak before, so I know it was the microphone, not you. I applaud the coffee/beer colored blouse as well as the readings. To answer a previous question, I got to Powell’s 45 minutes early and took one of the last seats. The hostess was surprised that we could wait so patiently (her comment that she couldn’t knit because she wasn’t patient proves that she hasn’t read your books) Other places may not be so savvy, we were the home of the sock summit after all (RIP) and the just completed yarn crawl, but in any case, bring your knitting and get to her readings early.

  125. I travel size humidifier, the base is about 4 x 4 so very packable and you just insert a plastic water bottle. No more dry hotel room after being on a flight. I found mine at Bed Bath and Beyond but they are on Amazon as well. Not very happy with Amazon right now said your book will be delayed by a month ???

  126. I can’t wait to see you at the Tattered Cover on the 10th!
    Two of my favorite things in one night….Books and Knitting!

    After a trip to Ireland where my needles were confiscated…I always carry a spare in my checked bags. So my knitting is only delayed not eliminated.

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