Ask the Hippie, Vol. 3, Issue 1

Q. How do I prepare for a long trip?

A. You know how I love to travel. I’m the queen of the 2,000-plus-mile weekend (just got back from one last night and am headed out on another this Friday). I often travel solo. I never get scared by myself on the road. And I always follow three simple rules to ensure a good experience:

1. Travel light. Here are my summer basics: toothpaste; toothbrush; deodorant; comb; all-in-one shampoo/conditioner; razor; extra pair of glasses; Croc knockoffs; jeans; tank tops with built-in bras; underwear; one pair of comfortable shorts for sleeping or jogging; socks; broomstick skirt and slip; sweater to match the skirt; light jacket; ponytail holders and barrettes; can of Aussie 2-in-1 mousse; baseball cap; camera; iPod Touch; Flip video camera; notebook; pen; cell phone; wallet; quarters; keys; LED flashlight; various paper products; gum. For a longer trip, I might add running shoes and an extra pair of jeans.

2. Reject fear. I don’t do fear. At all. It doesn’t deserve space in my thought, so I refuse to give it any. If you’re scared of strangers, take a self-defense class. Four years of combat karate training did wonders for my confidence. If you don’t have time or money for lessons, I can sum up the most important lesson in three words: TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.

3. Don’t overplan. If a particular restaurant, motel or attraction is enormously important to you, call ahead to make reservations or confirm that it’s going to be open when you’re there. Otherwise, just follow your instincts and let the road show you what it will. Detailed itineraries stress me out. When I’m on vacation, I want freedom to linger over coffee, visit with a friend, or set up the perfect shot with three different cameras.

Travel should always be fun. It only becomes stressful when you overthink it and allow the Whatifs to muck it up.