FARGO — Hello to you all! This is your favorite newspaper-writer-named-Emma here with another rendition of my "Friday 5"!
This time last week, I was sitting in a hotel room in Fort Collins, Colo., probably watching something on Food Network or hanging out at a brewery — depending on when you read this lovely little piece.
Ohhh yes, your girl is a world traveler! Well, a country traveler, I guess. Either way, I was not in North Dakota or Minnesota for almost a full week and it was wonderful. The weather was in the 70s most of the time, there were mountains in the distance, I got to drink beer like a hipster (no knock to the hipsters of the world — I really do love craft beer and flannel) and I got to wear a pretty dress and look cute for once in my life!
Oh, yeah, did I mention we were there for a family wedding? I didn't? Well, I was in Colorado for a family wedding. It was really great.
Except six straight days of family togetherness can be a bit stressful. But, you learn how to deal. Because as my Papa said to me before he died, "There's nothing more important than family." Here's five ways to survive six days of traveling with family.
If there's anything this reporter knows, it's reading others' works is one surefire way to improve my own writing.
It's also a good way to distract yourself from the chaos that is sure to ensue when family gets together.
Fortunately for me (but unfortunately for my wallet), I have a tendency to subscribe to magazines after one too many adult beverages. I don't know why I do it, but I do it and there's really no way to stop me since I have my card number memorized. It's an issue I am trying to work on, please don't judge me.
On this particular trip, I made it through the November issue of Food Network Magazine, planned what I am going to contribute to Thanksgiving and even helped to distract my cousin's daughter with the lovely pictures and words. She's a great reader!!
Snacks are key
For the past, well, forever, I have been trying my darndest to lose the weight I gained in college. It isn't easy, because I love to eat. But just before the trip I made the decision that I was going to lose weight and gosh dang it, I am going to do it!
Meal planning, careful grocery shopping, limiting snacky foods (I say as I am currently shoveling snacks in my face just two hours after lunch... baby steps, right?) is my plan and I am sticking to it.
Until I went on my trip. As it works when heading to someplace different, meal times are anything but normal. Especially when traveling with children, snacks are a lifesaver.
Crackers, apple sauce, cookies. You name it, we probably had it. It's a great way to keep the blood sugar regular and avoid hangry feelings when there's no other food options. It's also good currency when handling children. And when you're on an airplane that doesn't offer complimentary cookies, they come in handy.
Just remember to carry a big purse. You can fit more in those than you can in smaller purses!
Phones are cool, too
I know people say that phones are ruining today's youth. But you know what? Who gives a rip.
When you're dealing with insane city traffic and there's restless children involved (and, let's be real, a restless 23-year-old Emma), phones can be a lifesaver.
Take a look at old pictures, play a game, check Facebook. Use that little computer in your hand to keep you sane if you have to. There's no shame in that game!
Crank up the tunes, bro
When all other methods fail, just pop in those earbuds and block out the h8rs.
Seriously though. If you're like me, the cacophony of large crowds or nearby voices speaking at a higher-than-normal register for more than just a few minutes will put you on edge. Even having more than one person trying to talk at once gives me aggressively anxious feelings if it goes on longer than it should. Not a fan.
To combat the barrage of noises that comes with that jet-setting lifestyle I have now grown accustomed to, there's nothing better than some earbuds and a good podcast or some music. (I have quite the variety of podcasts to listen to if you ever need recommendations, just please no hate on the weird nature of them.)
It may sound counter-productive, but sometimes focusing on one noise at a time can calm anxious feelings a tad and make you feel better.
Get over it
Traveling with family can be stressful.
You have your mom trying to help out with things the best she can (even though she's feeling stressed), while your sister gets cranky because you're asking for a sip of her water. Meanwhile, your cousins are arguing over who played a game correctly and the baby wants to wander off. All in the middle of a busy airport.
Not speaking from experience, of course. (Insert winking face here)
But in the end, sometimes you just have to suck it up and get over it. They're your family and, while they can drive you nuts sometimes, you love them anyways. Life would be boring without them.
Friday 5 is a weekly column featuring quick tips, tricks, ideas and more — all in bunches of five. Readers can reach Forum reporter Emma Vatnsdal at 701-241-5517.