Traveling Light

Sorry to disappear for a few days. I had to head back out to Indiana in order to move some of my things back home. The trip was bittersweet – I was able to see a large number of my friends and have a nice time with them, but moving my things home was so final, even if I’ll have to go back out there a few more times. I know I was moving home in a couple of months anyway, so these mixed feelings would have occurred anyway, but that doesn’t make it any easier. This was my home away from home for 4 years and some of my best friends in the world are there.

Then, the day after I returned home, there was a shooting on campus (I was a student at Purdue). While it appears to be a murder that happened to take place on a college campus rather than a traditional “campus shooting” (side note: isn’t it messed up that school shootings are so normal that I need to point out this one is weird?) it was still terrifying to think that something like this could have happened to one of my friends, colleagues, or former students.

In order to move things home, I had to make sure that there was a lot of room in my car. Now, my car is surprisingly roomy due to the ability to lay the seats down completely flat and the wide hatch opening (I have a Chevy HHR), but I had Kris and Belle along for the ride, and they usually are not in the vehicle for these trips. Kris and I packed nothing but 1.5 backpacks (one had only a computer in it so I could stuff it with stuff from my office) and a tote bag for Belle for a 5 day trip. We were able to fit all of my remaining clothing (about 2 suitcases); a ton of my office supplies; all of my toiletries; all of my sewing equipment; several stuffed animals; a printer; and my Keurig into that car with us. I was quite impressed with my abilities, and the opportunity to bring Kris and Belle along to show off while simultaneously bringing all this stuff home was worth the hassle of traveling lightly.

I had no idea that traveling lightly would hinder my health so much, though. I wasn’t expecting this to be the healthiest trip in the first place. I typically slack off when traveling as it is truly one of those rare things that don’t occur every day, and I have been doing somewhat poorly lately due to the stressful changes in my life and the discouragement I feel from being unable to run very often. I will say that not all of my food choices were terrible – I had a lovely lunch of stuffed grape leaves, grilled mushroom kebabs, rice, and hummus with pita bread one day. This trip was probably one of my least healthy, though, because I didn’t even try to work out! I didn’t pack any workout clothes because I would “have some there.” Technically, I did, and I could have ran on the treadmill, but “not packing anything” ranked high on my list of excuses for not working out. I guess in the end it was me, rather than my packing skills that led to me not working out – I really had the ability to work out, but I’d already told myself I didn’t really need to because I was “on a trip.”

The other problem was the snow. I had at least thought that even if I didn’t get real workouts in that I would be able to get some walking in. I had even promised Kris that we could go to the Tippecanoe Battlefield and walk on the Wabash Trail a little so that he could see where I fell down the cliff. It was snowing terribly, though, and we had not brought any snowboots with us, so it was difficult to even walk the dogs in the parking lot of my apartment. You see, we left on Thursday in order to avoid the snow that was predicted Friday, but the storm moved south and ended up hitting us around Columbus. It didn’t seem bad at first but then people started wrecking all around us (I mean this literally). I am a relatively talented snow driver, but this was one of my scariest moments on the road and I actually had to pull of and collect myself before starting up again, and I very seriously considered getting a hotel in Columbus instead of moving along. It was 2 pm. It took us nearly 13 hours to make the 9-10 hour trip because of the snow and several other wrecks along the highway, and when we got to Lafayette, the roads were not plowed at all and the town had received like 5 inches of snow, making our last few miles very frustrating. It then snowed like 5 more inches on Saturday, making it nearly impossible to walk around. I will blame the weather and my inability to pack snowboots for my lack of exercise rather than blaming myself here.

We sent this picture to my mom from I-70 in Ohio to assure here that the roads were “perfectly fine” after my freakout.

We also managed to bring one other thing home, though this doesn’t really count in my “light” traveling because it didn’t have to fit in my car – my bicycle! Now Kris and I can actually start working towards the huge rides we have planned this summer if the snow ever melts. While we had no real snow on the way home (we left 2 hours later and managed to arrive earlier than we had on the way out), bringing the bike home made the return trip stressful. I have a super cheap bike rack and I am always terrified the whole contraption is going to go crashing down while I am on the highway ruining my bike, or, worse, causing a wreck. I tend to become very distracted by watching it in the rearview mirror and sometimes just put the bike in the car even though it takes up a ton of room so that I don’t have to deal with the stress. Note: this is mostly my worrisome nature coming out. The bike rack works perfectly fine and I would even recommend it to others given that it has survived through multiple 600+ mile trips. It is available on Amazon, though I will say I paid $10 less for it. I even gave it a 5 star review on there because I was so impressed but I just cannot be calm when I am using it. I think on my next vehicle I will get a roof rack – I don’t care if they are safer or not, I think I would feel better if I couldn’t see the bike back there threatening to fall at any moment.

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