Veteran Traveler Makes Rookie Mistakes

October 21, 2008
Inspiration in the Harvard Sq. T station.

Inspiration in the Harvard Sq. T station.

I have no idea how many tens of thousands of miles I have covered by plane, train, bus, car, boat and horse. Well, very few by horse, but those miles still count.

Still, when it comes to all the new travel regulations, I get thrown off. My usual routines and travel habits become muddled, and before you know it I’m sitting at SFO late at night, no stores open, my contact lens case packed away in my check-through bag, and my contact lenses feeling dryer and more glued to my eyes with every passing minute.

My old routine was simple: Throw the case in the front of my backpack with my glasses and bottle of solution, next to my toothbrush, toothpaste, chapstick, hand lotion, and maybe some aspirin. It’s the easiest place to access while on a plane, and then you have all your most pressing physical needs taken care of in one place.

But now I have some liquids in my Ziploc baggie for security, some toiletries checked in because they’re bigger than the few ounces allowed to go through security, and some things in my camera bag, for no real reason other than packing laziness, and a full Ziploc baggie.

With few options, I improvised, dropping my lenses directly into the travel-sized contact lens solution bottle, then carrying it very carefully from SF to Boston so that they would stay wet and not get stuck to the side of the bottle and dry out. I was thrilled to get to Boston, dump them out, and find that they were still in good shape, and figuring out which eye was which was no problem at all.

The lesson here: No matter how much you think you’ve planned ahead, plan some more. Also, be flexible. Also, always keep an extra pair of contacts on you, just in case you lose a pair.

Oh, the rest of the trip was fabulous. Thank goodness I was able to see it all.

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