Archive for Middle of Nowhere

My first over-night business trip and stories from the middle of nowhere

Posted in Travel, Wear to Work with tags , , , , , , , on March 24, 2011 by Jessica

I’m on the road again…
So I find myself back on the road this week and back in the middle of nowhere. Actually, last time really wasn’t the middle of nowhere – where I went this afternoon truly was the middle of nowhere. Ever hear of Lake Butler? Neither had I, before I went there. It’s about an hour north of Gainesville and so out of the way that none of the several major interstates that run across the state passes within an hours driving distance of the town. I will say it was one of the loveliest and most pleasant drives I’ve taken in a very long time. But there were moments when I thought I had stepped onto the set of Deliverance: The Sequel. Which leads me to the most comical moment of the whole trip…
I really had to go to the bathroom. I was about half way between Gainesville and Lake Butler. There’s not a whole lot along that part of the drive except for a few towns so small that if you blink you would miss them. When I finally come upon what appears to be civilization a gas station, I pulled in to use the ladies’ room. And it was like a scene straight of a cheesy country music video or an old western. A few older guys in cowboy hats and Levis hanging around outside chewing tobacco and shooting the breeze. Then when I roll in everything stops. The old guys’ conversation stops to first stare at/ogle the fancy-looking car (a rented Dodge Avenger) and then to stare at/ogle the young lady in the suit stepping out of said fancy car. For the record, I did not request that car (but it was awesome). But… wow. I had not been looked at like that in quite a while. I was still getting looks when after I finished my business and got back in the car. And it didn’t get much better once I finally got to the courthouse in “downtown” Lake Butler. As I walked out of the courthouse, the entire lawn maintenance crew stopped to stare. I’m starting to think lady-lawyers don’t exist in this part of the state. As much of a die-hard Gator fan that I am, I was actually quite happy once I made it my hotel in Tallahassee. Sigh.

Anyway, as this post is about travel, it seems appropriate to give you all a couple of my packing tips:
(1) Travel size products are your friends. Call me weird, but I prefer to actually find my of choice in a travel size rather than buy the travel-sized bottles and transfer my product into them. But it works either way. Really the key is pairing down the size of all your necessary products. You’d be surprised how much room you can save in your suitcase by carrying travel-sized shampoo and conditioner rather than packing the full-sized product.
(2) Where possible, make your clothes do double-duty. I went to my Tuesday afternoon mediation in a red three-quarter length tee and suit. When I got to the hotel that evening, I took off the suit, left the tee, and put on a pair of jeans. Voila, I was ready to go get dinner.
(3) Stick to a common color scheme. By that I mean brown vs. black and silver vs. gold. This cuts down the number of accessories you have to pack and helps make sure most everything you pack matches with everything else.
(4) Style is important, but this is not a time to sacrifice comfort. I tend to prefer skirts over pants – pencil skirts tend to fit me better than dress slacks and I just like the way I look in them better. But I find for traveling (running around and sitting for long periods of time in a car) pants are much more comfortable.

If you’re wondering what I actually packed, I kept it pretty simple as (1) this was a fairly short trip and (2) I didn’t really want to have to think too much about what to wear. I wore a black pinstriped skirt suit with the above mentioned red three-quarter sleeved shirt underneath it. I packed the pants that match the skirt and a red short-sleeve button-front shirt for the next day. I wore the same black pumps both days. I threw in a pair of jeans and sandals to wear after I made it Tallahassee and to change into for my drive back to Tampa. And I wore the same jewelry both days. Simple and not terribly exciting, but perfect when wanting to travel light for a short trip.

Aaaaand now it’s late. And all this traveling is got me right tuckered out. Nighty night ya’ll!

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Musings from the road…

Posted in Travel with tags , , on March 11, 2011 by Jessica

As you may have guessed from both today’s entry title and from the picture, I’m on the road today. For those of you who are familiar with Ocala, well, you know where I’m spending my day. For those of you who can’t find Ocala on a map, we’ll just say you’re really not missing much.

I currently find myself seated in a Panera at the tail end of the lunch rush. My next mediation starts in about an hour. I’m tapping away on my laptop trying to get a little work done – update our case management system as to my earlier mediation, email the appropriate department as to the necessary next steps, and fire off a few miscellaneous emails (one of which at least is likely to make a certain client none too happy), and so on.

So a few things I’ve learned from my first business trip:
(1) Getting a rental car always reminds me how much I need a new car. Seriously. Mine is becoming a piece of crap that I wouldn’t trust to take me on this 4-ish hours round trip without completely failing me.
(2) It’s always a good thing to try to save the client a few bucks, but there’s no need to be overly stingy with yourself. Technically, driving my car (and crossing my fingers) might have been a tad bit cheaper for the client. But, in my opinion, the few extra dollars are worth my relative comfort and safety when the client wants me to trot off to a place 100+ miles away from home on their behalf.
(3) Try to still eat well. This also kind of ties into the above point. I could have gone to’ and eaten greasy (yet delicious) crap. Instead I went a little pricier, fancier, and healthier and went with Panera. Also, finding a place with wi-fi allowed me to get some work done (and play around on my blog, as well 🙂 ).
(4) Always, always, leave early. I don’t have the greatest sense of direction. I’m fine when I’m at home or in cities I know well, but get me out of my comfort zone and it’s a guarantee that I’ll get lost at least once. Which I did today, of course, on the way to my first mediation. Thank goodness I left about 30 minutes early.

Anyway, time to clean up and prepare for my next mediation. Then hopefully back home sweet home before dark. Have a wonderful Friday, all!!