Low Impact Travel: Thanksgiving 2012

I am back from my Thanksgiving travels.  I’m still pretty tired, and have a ton of school stuff to catch up on, as usual I suppose.  This year, travel was especially crazy because ticket prices were so high (ouch), so I took a red-eye flight on Wednesday which got me into Nashville around 5am CST.  I then flew out of Nashville on Saturday at 7am CST.  Quick turn around, and a few very early mornings!  I thought I might reflect on my wanderings and talk about small things we can do to make our travel footprint a little smaller. 

I did some school work in the morning and early afternoon.  The usual.  The boyfriend (hereafter D Lo) picked me up from school right after class, and I went straight away to making brownies for my roomies and my rideshare buddy.  I went through my fridge and tried to pick out the veggies that would go bad before I got home.  I juiced up a carrot, cucumber, chopped a sort of mealy apple, and threw all that in  the blender with some kale, frozen raspberries, and bananas.  D Lo usually avoids my “salad smoothies,” but I think he was counting on missing me, so he drank up, and it was proclaimed “not that bad.”  My lab mate and her boyfriend swung by to pick me up just as the brownies were done and the smoothies were in our bellies.  My lab mate is from the Bay Area, so she just dropped me off at a train station near her house.  I jammed out to podcasts all the way to the airport.  Once there, I got real hungry, and got another smoothie (this one in a plastic container).  A quick jaunt from SFO to LAX, a speedy veggie burger and fries from Burger King (I really love to eat while I travel) and I was on a plane again and on my way to the southern homeland!

Green smoothies are one of my fave snacks.
Travel Dos:
#1àDo make sure and use up your food before you leave home.  Waste not, want not as they say.
#2àDo ride share and ride public transit when you can.  SO MUCH less stressful than dealing with holiday traffic.
#3àDo remember to pack your own snacks.  Things you buy at the airport as so over priced, wrapped in plastic, and usually not that good for you (I’m looking at you Burger King).
Many many cooks in the kitchen!
I rode in the car SO much today, but in that part of the country, it’s much harder to avoid.  Public transit is just not really well developed in more rural areas.  I also went on every errand with all my siblings.  Really, nothing beats riding in a car, chatting, listening to music on a beautiful fall, country day.  I just love Kentucky.  I had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I didn’t take that many pictures, but I am so blessed to have such lovely family and friends to spend these times with me.  I did make everyone laugh till they almost cried when I admitted to drinking cabbage juice last year when I was working on my thesis.  I’m a weirdo in a family of weirdoes, and we all like it that way.  My brother even made a fabulous vegan dish for me to enjoy with the Thanksgiving Feast!  We ate, and drank, and played games until the cousins had to head home.  It was a great holiday.     
Post dinner entertainment from my bro and my sister’s beau.  
Travel Dos:
#4àDo remember it’s the holidays and you are supposed to play and do things you don’t always do (like eat till you have a little tummy pooch! Yum!! Or ride all around town in a car.)
My newest niece puppy who I met Friday.
This was my only full day in Kentucky.  I’m so glad my brother got this day off work so we could all hang out till he and my sister-in-law had to leave at 1pm.  My college roommate was also in for the holiday with the family, he’s an adopted kid to my parents, and he got to stay till lunch time as well!  That evening my best friend and another college roommate stopped by to hang out and chat and eat more food!  I also had some time on Friday to talk Christmas plans with my mom.  She is going to make me some bulk food bags and some reusable face cloths (think a reusable item that will replace cotton balls in the bathroom), more on this later.  I also remembered where I got so many of my good-for-the-earth habits when I watched my mom fix a few Christmas decorations instead of throwing them away and give tons of leftovers to us in reused containers (No, D Lo, that is pie not feta cheese!).  I also had an amazing conversation with my sister about women in science and the impacts of our diet choices.  She is pretty amazing and works for the National Park Service, and her park just got its first female director!
On the road again, way way early.  Too too early.  Luckily, this time I had my mom around to fix me tons of snacks.  I wish I had taken a picture of the spread.  I had coffee in my to-go mug, pretzels in a reused container, peanut butter and gram crackers wrapped in tin foil, and raisins.  This kept me from buying any snacks all the way through the airports!  Thanks mom!  I took the train from SFO to within about an hour of my California home and, once again, D Lo and I were able to avoid the stressful airport traffic.  Basically, living in a city where the train is connected to the airport is amazing (…duh…).  We were way too tired to cook that night though, so we ordered in Indian food.
Travel Dos:
#5àMake ahead of time, and freeze, a homemade meal.  You will be too tired to go out or cook when you get home, and your delicious curry will come in a plastic Tupperware.  To the credit of this restaurant, my curry and two small condiments were the only things in plastic.  Pretty cool!

FINAL WORD:  Obviously, this isn’t a post about large scale travel choices (train vs. plane vs. automobile) because this little southern girl has got to get home, and flying is really the only practical way at this point.  Maybe that post will come later.  That said, the holidays are supposed to be fun!  I think that lots of things you can do to make your travel lower impact, also make the whole experience more fun and way less stressful.  Public transit and ridesharing are decidedly less stressful because you spend less and deal with traffic less, always a win.  Spending money on overpriced items *cough*airport snacks *cough* always stresses me out, and I loved not doing that on the way back to CA.  Think about your holiday routine, we’ll all be doing it again in a few weeks, and consider changes you can make. 

What do you think?  Do you have any great green travel tips?  Any tips for avoiding holiday stress?  Favorite on the go snacks?   

2 thoughts on “Low Impact Travel: Thanksgiving 2012

  1. You forgot to blog about how I kicked bottom at family game night. I bet we could come up with a whole post on making the most of the last amount of game supplies. Cards/dice/poker chips and a few boards and there are so many options. I just had a brilliant idea for reusable Yatzee score sheets.

    My favorite on the go snack has always been Fritos and those little cans of refried beans. BUT I bet I can make my crock pot refried beans and throw those in a reusable container for trips! Color me inspired!


  2. Um, you could probably sell reusable Yatzee score sheets on Etsy! Who needs stinking graduate school?!

    You could totally make your own bean dip! Also, I bet if you look at the ingredients on the little can of refried beans, you will always want to make your own. Preservatives are weird, right? But you know from experience that traveling brings out my worst eating habits, so I can never judge. I have eaten so many bags of road trip Doritos. It's a good thing really…lots of room for improvement…


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