Tuesday, November 19, 2013

More Random Travel Observations and Appreciations

Home, sweet home...

Well, my mother is securely and warmly ensconced in her new home, and I have logged quite a few miles - air and ground - in making that dream a reality.  As with all things in life, I think I learned a thing or two on my travels.  At a minimum, I have a newly warm appreciation for a couple of my wiser packing choices, and a refreshed dislike of Midway Airport.

Just to get this out of the way first - if you have a choice between the 2 Chicago airports, choose O'Hare.  Yes, it is bigger than some European countries, and you can walk yourself into a marathon getting around there, but at least it has clear signs giving you a clue about where to go.  And moreover, it has SEATS.  In a place where people have to wait, sometimes for hours, wouldn't adequate seating be the most OBVIOUS amenity to provide?  Not if you're a city of Chicago Airport manager...

We arrived back in Chicago Sunday night, hot on the heels of those terrible storms.  The airport was dealing with many delayed flights, and the impatient and exhausted passengers were draped over every available flat surface, which made walking an obstacle course of bags, strewn bodies, and darting children.  Lovely...

Even if flights are precisely on time, the average gate at Midway provides maybe 45% of the needed seating for boarding passengers to wait.  There's no such thing as giving up your seat for an older person or someone in obvious need of a seat - you're on your own in a sea of people tethered to their phones or computers.  It does not bring out the best in humanity..

Eileen Fisher Slouch Pants
These pants look a LOT better in person than they do in this photograph - especially if you get them long enough that they don't leave your ankles looking abandoned...  These are sort of the dressiest possible take on sweat pants - they have an elastic waistband, and deep on-seam pockets,but the legs look nice and low-key with flat shoes or walking shoes.  I wore mine relentlessly on this trip - machine wash delicate, tumble dry 'til they're kind of sort of dry, and hang overnight.  Perfect for car riding, walking miles in a new city, dining out at casual restaurants etc.  I just wish she hadn't named them "slouch".  I NEVER slouch.  I slink, insouciant and elegant...

Munro walking shoes
These shoes are destined to be workhorses in my wardrobe until they have completely collapsed!  I wore them with jeans while I was cajoling/castigating the movers, I wore them with the black Eileen Fisher pants to walk for miles some days, and they were always comfortable.  I thought it was risky buying shoes online, but now that I'm sure of my size, I would do it again tomorrow.

Alexis Bittar stud earrings
And I found that I wore the same pair of earrings for 14 straight days...  It was easy, they are beautiful, and they worked well with my mostly grey and black wardrobe. They are small enough to be subtle, but have just enough sparkle to make me happy.

One thing I did that I might have sworn would never happen - I downloaded the Starbucks app to my phone!  While I'd much prefer to patronize small, independent business in most cases, when you're in the middle of a five-day drive, and you aren't even sure what STATE you're in, familiar coffee is a wonderful sight...

I'm sure there are other things that I picked up on my travels that I will share with you in the future - do you find that you come home from travel with new insights, observations and appreciations?


  1. Every outing away from our regular surroundings has the potential to teach us new things, once we take the time to reflect...


  2. Good to have you back. I have a similar pair of EF pants (without the pockets) that I spent 22 hours travelling door to door to my mother's house in Germany in August. Like you said, like wearing PJs only so much more stylish.

  3. There is nothing so lovely as the first sight of your home town after a long trip. BTW, I'm a firm believer in traveling by app. Once you're ensconced in a place, you can search out the local establishments, but when you're on the move, nothing beats it. This summer my family of four traveled half way up the Eastern seaboard via apps -- maps, hotels, parking, restaurants, coffee. They satisfy the desire to be free spirited as well as the need for planning.

  4. Those pants look like exactly what I've been searching for, too bad they're not longer, 27 3/4" would make me look like they shrank in the dryer :-) If you know of similar styles from other sources, I'ld love to check them out. Happy homecoming.

    1. I don't know what material the EF pants are made of, but Chico's, Travelsmith , J Jill (Wearever pants), and Coldwater Creek all have some version of comfy pants that can be dressed up or down and can be handwashed in a sink if necessary and dry quickly. I also found a pair of golf pants at one of the golfing superstores that is a wonderful, wrinkle-free light material with really deep pockets (for golfballs I presume) that I wore all over France a couple of years ago, Dried super-quick when I washed them at the hotel. Not as comfy as an elastic waist, but worked for sightseeing and business meetings.

    2. I own and love those Eileen Fisher slouch pants. Ironically, I purchased them when I was helping MY mom move into her new house too (and driving back and forth between New England and Arizona. They're a godsend.

  5. Amazing how far a pair of simple black trousers will go. It's so easy to dress them up or dress them down, I love my version of "slouch" pants.

  6. I agree about O'Hare - yes, it's a marathon to get around, but for the most part the airport is efficient and (yay) there's an America's Dog in one of the Concourses! :) And yes, adequate seating too.

  7. LL Bean has great knit pants similar to the EF style shown...they also have amazing knit jeans that no one but you would ever know they were knit..they don't bag or sag, I have one in black and blue denim.

  8. Midway is pretty grim, true, with the longest security lines I've ever seen; however it's a more convenient location for my trips to Chicago. I once got lost in O'Hare. I do agree with you on the pants. I have them in two colors and wear them constantly. They do, indeed, look better on the body than in the photo. They work with different kinds of footwear, sandals to boots.

  9. So good to see your post, Janice. Welcome home! Glad your Mom is all tucked in! I always return home appreciating a safe trip and snuggling into my own bed.

  10. I very rarely even remove my diamond stud earrings. They go with everything.