Disclaimer – The following post is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease or sickness. Please use caution if any parts apply to your specific situation and contact a health care professional for further advice.
Happy New Year!!! First blog post of 2019 is going to be a special one. I have a super special treat for you all this week with the very first ever DUDEWITHPOTS guest post! I know those of you dealing with chronic health issues have to travel a lot to see multiple doctors, find yourself with long period of times in waiting rooms, stay in multiple hotels, and spend many hours traveling on the road. And those of you that are healthy are hopefully getting out and seeing the world! *or at least the neighborhood park*. I asked my brother Joey to share some insights into some advice (both travel and life) that he has acquired through his continual travels throughout the country that his job takes him on. Enjoy!
GUEST POST – Joey Gunning – January 3rd, 2019
Hey folks. My name is Joey Gunning, and I am Jarod’s younger brother. Yes, the same one that he is always ragging on in this blog. Over the past few months, I have been working an amazing job that allows me to travel all over the country, sometimes to really cool locations, sometimes to random cities with literally nothing to do. Either way, this job has allowed me to experience all of the pros and cons of travelling, and Jarod has asked me to share a few tips that I’ve learned along the way. Enjoy!
#14 Have a time waster
No matter how busy you think you are, you will always have down time. And unless you want to be sitting around twiddling your thumbs, then make sure you have a time waster. Reading is an excellent option. But if you, like me, aren’t a big reader, there are lots of other options! Get a Netflix account, get addicted to a stupid game on your phone, start a journal, do something! Lately I have been playing Solitaire on my phone, and I play the cumulative Vegas scoring mode, so it’s like one big ongoing game!
#13 Hot Tub
This one might just be me, but I have found that there is no greater feeling than sinking into a sizzling hot tub after a long day on your feet. Even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes, your body will thank you. I always feel so much better after a soak in the hot tub. And hey, that pool use is included in your hotel bill, so you might as well take full advantage of it!
#12 Play music in the morning
This one is really just a general tip for everyday life. I am not a morning person, by any means. But I make mornings fun, simply by playing music. Right when I wake up, I scroll through my playlist and look for a happy, feel-good song that will kick start my day (90% of the time it’s Who Let the Dogs Out). Just hearing the music makes it so much easier to jump out of bed and start my day. Continue playing music while you shower, get dressed, and brush your teeth. Starting your day off with a mini dance party really sets the tone for the rest of the day!
#11 Join reward programs
Virtually every airline, hotel or rental car agency has a free loyalty reward program that you can join. You can earn points and miles for every flight or night at a hotel. Don’t leave these points on the table! Start racking up those free nights and free flights!
#10 Always drink local
Here’s the deal. You can hit up Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the Monday Night Football game and drink a few Coors Lights (or, as I like to call them, Cooies) and you will probably have a great time. However, I have found that you can usually find a much more unique and satisfying experience by going to a local brewery or sports bar. For example, I was in Birmingham, Alabama a couple weeks ago and found a brewery that had only been open for a month! The owner was there, and I had a great chat with him about his story and how he got started. It was an awesome night. Plus the beer was great! It is those unique experiences that you will remember when you look back on your travels.
#9 Walk it
If it’s 9pm in a sketchy Detroit neighborhood, then by all means take an Uber. That’s just common sense. But if it’s daytime, or you know that you’re in a safe neighborhood, or you are with someone big and strong, then WALK. Most of the time, you can find something cool within a couple of miles of your location. Take an afternoon to just walk through the town and soak it all in. There are some really neat places in this country, and you just might miss out on something great if you are in the backseat of an Uber watching Snapchat stories the whole time. Plus it is an easy way to get some exercise when you’re on the road and don’t have time for actual workouts!
#8 Uber drivers are people too
Not just Uber drivers, but hotel staff, flight attendants, pretty much anyone and everyone you encounter in your travels. Greet them with a smile and ask them how their day is going. Especially if you know you will be seeing them again, or working with them throughout the day. And remember, your Uber drivers give you a rating as well, and my 4.97 rating is something that I work hard to maintain! Just be genuine, and don’t let your bad day affect your interaction with them. You never know what kind of battles someone else is going through.
#7 Take pics (of yourself!)
This one took me a while to get on board with, but now I am a big fan. When you are in new or unusual places, take lots of pictures! Yes, it’s also important to live in the moment, but taking a couple seconds to snap a few pics will not take away from the moment. And make sure you are IN the pictures. You can find a picture of the Grand Canyon on any old online image search. But a picture of yourself with the Grand Canyon in the background? That’s special. And if you don’t have anyone to take the picture of you, there is no shame in snapping a selfie. Trust me, it’s cool to look back on those pics and see all of the places you went. Also send those pics to your family, they like to see what you’re up to 😊
#6 Plane Tips
If you’ve ever travelled by plane, you know just how vexing the whole experience can be. But here’s the good news: it doesn’t have to be! Here a few tips for making the most of your plane ride.
- Use the restroom 5-10 minutes before you board. There is nothing worse than being stuck in a window seat, with the two people next to you fast asleep, and you have to wake them so that you can use the lavatory. Avoid the issue and just go before you board.
- Bring a neck pillow. Before the plane takes off, when they make you keep the seat upright for some reason, wearing the neck pillow is extremely awkward and uncomfortable, I know. But once you are in the air, and you are allowed to recline the seat back, that neck pillow is glorious. Especially if you are 6’4” like me, and you are too tall to even rest your head on the seat. Neck pillows are crucial.
- Wear headphones! This one is non-negotiable. All it takes is one flight with a crying baby in the row behind you for you to never forget your headphones again. Just crank up the tunes and drift off into a blissful snooze.
- Unless you plan on watching movies or reading, try not to get too much sleep the night before. I LOVE sleeping on planes. The pressurized cabin and the hum of the engine make for the perfect sleeping conditions. So make sure you aren’t wide awake. It also helps if you have a window seat, so you can lean your head against the wall.
- Have a drink before boarding. A lot of people will tell you to take some sort of pill or medicine before boarding a plane, but in reality all you need is a drink to loosen you up just enough to enjoy the ride.
#5 Will you have another chance?
Whenever I am in a new location and there is something close that I want to do or see, but I am extremely tired/exhausted, I ask myself one question: “Will I have another chance?” For example, I was in Buffalo, NY a few weeks ago. It was about 7pm when I arrived at my hotel, and I was dead tired. I had been flirting with the idea of going to check out Niagara Falls, which was a 30 minute drive away. I had nearly talked myself out of it, just eat dinner at the hotel and get to bed early. But then I asked myself, “Will I have another chance?” Maybe I would, maybe I wouldn’t. But I knew the chances were slim that I would find myself in upstate New York again any time soon. So I pulled the trigger and went for it. And I am SO GLAD that I did. If you have ever seen Niagara Falls (especially at night, close to Christmas) you will know what I mean. It was so cool. And I almost missed out on an amazing opportunity simply because I wanted a couple extra hours of sleep.
# 4 Don’t take things too seriously
When you travel a lot, things will go wrong. I guarantee it. You will have a flight get delayed, your hotel booking might be screwed up, your taxi driver will run out of gas, etc. These occurrences are frustrating, no doubt. They might make you miss a meeting or arrive at your hotel in the middle of the night. When these things happen, it’s so important to first think about the big picture, and second to remember whose fault it is (or isn’t). Believe me when I say that the crew member at the airline desk did not intentionally screw with your flight to cause the delay. They are not your enemy, they are your friend. And they want to help you, but most of the issues are OUT OF THEIR HANDS. They have rules to follow, and they are just doing their job. Getting upset at them will not help your situation. If you flight gets delayed or cancelled, just work with the airline help desk to get yourself a new flight, then head back to the airport bar, order another drink and send an email out to whoever might be affected by your delay. Life goes on.
#3 Remember your life back home
When you’re constantly on the road alone, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in your own adventures, that you forget about the people in your life back home. A 5 minute phone call to a parent or grandparent will mean more to them than you might think. It’s also fun to buy little knick knacks for people back home. People appreciate little things like that. The fact that you were thinking of them makes them happy. And it makes you feel good too!
One major con of spending every Sunday morning in an airport is that it is nearly impossible for me to attend church. Fortunately, we live in an age of extreme convenience with the accessibility of the internet. These days it is incredibly easy to view sermons online and access daily Bible reading plans from your cell phone or laptop. Growing up, one major lesson I’ve learned in my journey of faith is that you don’t give God your spare time when it’s convenient for you – you make time for God. No matter what.
#1 No Bad Days
This is hands down, without a doubt the most important tip I have. My motto has always been “No bad days”. This does not mean that I don’t have bad days. Everyone has those days. What I mean is to stay positive through the bad days, and do whatever you can to make it a good day. I promise you, no matter what you are going through, someone out there is having a worse day than you. Count your blessings. Stay positive. You are more fun to be around when you’re happy.