En Route With…Felicia Sullivan

Felicia is a dear friend, one that started as a Twitter buddy and quickly became a very close in-real-life one.  When we first met (at her apartment, to cook an autumn inspired feast), it was as if we’d known each other all our lives.  The afternoon flowed into evening, as our chatting ebbed and flowed as we prepared pumpkin gnocchi with brown butter, apple pies with blue cheese, and a salted caramel apple tart.  Since that fortuitous October evening, we continue to bond over spectacular meals, riveting conversation, and a mutual disdain for Gwyneth Paltrow.  Given that Felicia is also well-traveled, it makes perfect sense to feature her on En Route With.  This is a GOOD one.

En Route With Felicia Sullivan

Felicia C. Sullivan
Author | Blogger, Love Life Eat

There is no greater sentimental education than having an airline lose two meticulously packed pieces of luggage en route to the first real holiday you’ve taken in years. This was the holiday you’d been planning for months, a needed reprieve from leaving a job that was killing you, threatening to wrestle every last bit of air, out. This was a trip all about risk, since every sane person in America told you to stay in New York and look for a job because people at your level are…expensive. But you were separated from your luggage, for possibly forever, and this was the trip where you found yourself in the one of many underwear shops in Rome, a store that resembled a rave replete with strobe lights, a disco ball and fluorescent signage. You were no longer in Kansas, kids, and maybe the ace traveler could have benefitted from a more thoughtful carry-on strategy.

Lesson #1 for the smug, seasoned traveler: Don’t get too smug, Lufthansa can lose your luggage, too.

After years of traveling for both business and pleasure, I’ve developed a carefully crafted system of efficient travel, and it beings with food. There was the time I was stuck on a tarmac in Boston for three hours without a Kind bar in view. There was that other trip where I found myself ensconced on a plane for seven hours wondering if the chicken was indeed chicken, or some other unfortunate creature that found its fate on my tin tray. Suffice it to say, I pack a BAG OF FOOD. On shorter trips, I’ll bring a tub of quinoa and grilled chicken, a bag of nuts and a few KIND bars. For longer journeys, you’ll find me carting Tupperware filled with apple slices and almond butter, whole wheat pasta dressed with kale, basil and pistachio pesto, or slices of grilled chicken on a bed of millet. I’ll smuggle some dark chocolate and sweets as treats for the long hours in coach.

I’m not fancy. I may have airline status, but I’m always in coach. {epic sigh}

Once I’ve got the food sorted out (this is critical because I tend to be myopic. If my food game isn’t settled, rage blackouts tend to ensue), I move to the luggage. After years of wasteful overpacking, I now pack light. You’re never as fashionable as you hope to be on your travels, so nix the expensive four-inch heels and opt for a few versatile pairs of footwear. Glitter flats, walking sneakers and sandals are usually in my rolling bag. I then pack three pairs of pants (one black, one blue, one color), a wrinkle-free dress (rayon and cotton are favorites), a cashmere cardigan (it will always get chilly, anywhere), a few t-shirts, 2-3 blouses folded into garment bags, and comfortable lounging clothes. I tried rolling. I respect it, but it’s not my way. I’m a valiant folder. I pack toilet-sized toiletries, always, especially now since you’ll have to hold a gun to my head to make me check luggage on any flight. You laugh? Try buying underwear in Rome when you’re not a size 00 and then come back to me. Try buying contact lens solution from a pharmacy to then have your Roman friend warn that you’ll probably catch some sketchy eye infection, so it’s best to buy from an optician. Peace out, 12 euros from your fixed income!

Books are my inevitable ruin. Don’t talk to me about newfangled gleaming gadgets that allow me to simply scroll through pages of my favorite book. I’m a writer who collects first editions of Raymond Carver, Woolf and Hemingway – I don’t want to hear it. In a very virtual world, I need some of it to be tactile, so I suffer the inefficiencies of carrying books and magazines. Some of which I’ll pack in my rolling bag, but I always have a few shoved into my carryon, which is the weight of some large mammals, if you count my Canon 5D Mark ii, laptop, phone, chargers, cords, snacks, red lipstick (I have tubes of MAC’s Russian Red in multiple locations, JUST IN CASE).

Finally, I always roll with a cashmere shawl that I’ll roll up and cart along when I hop on the plane. Airline blankets freak me out (as do tray tables, but we’ll get to that later).

People who know me well know that I’m typically 45 minutes early for any appointment. The fear of being late is that great and profound and defeats all norms of logic. Naturally, this dovetails to travel. It’s the case that I’m normally sitting around the airport lounges for 1-2 hours, however, I’m never bothered by this as I normally blog, read news and have some quiet time before I board a plane.

Since I’ve traveled quite a bit, I always stand behind the suits, as they don’t get frantic and starry-eyed at the prospect of shoe removal. I’m horribly impatient, and I push through my coat (jewelry is already stowed in a pouch in my handbag), carryon, and rolling bags. I tend to push through my personal bits first, so I don’t have to deal with waiting for them should my bags be frisked for carting arm weights (it’s happened – apparently, 10 pounds weights are verboten and deadly but 2 lbs won’t harm a fly, according to TSA regulations). I’m usually in priority boarding or behind suits, so security is rarely an issue.

Once I’ve made it through, body parts intact, I’ll purchase water, additional magazines and make my way to the United lounge or my gate. Once I board and find my aisle seat (I ALWAYS sit in the aisle, as I need to get up and move often), I take an anti-anxiety pill (my fear of flying is pronounced), hit the bathroom while it’s still relatively clean, wipe down my arm-rest and tray table with sani-wipes (do you honestly believe they are cleaned and sanitized between flights?) and buckle up only when all the other passengers in my row are seated.

You’ll then find me immersed in a book, magazine, with headphones blasting.

En Route Essentials Felicia Sullivan

Celine luggage tote – HBR – In Touch – New Yorker – Womens Health –
– The Woman UpstairsSlouching Towards Bethlehem
Canon Mark 5D ii – iPhone – Morphie – MacBook Air –
Moleskine pensMoleskine notebook
Uniqlo denim leggingsEverlane sweaterEverlane blousea&R cashmere blanket