Weird Cargo

There are all sorts of travelers who have with them items I’ve never considered. Some people travel wth their dogs, their cats, the ashes from their recently deceased mother, the corpse of their distant father, etc. In many cases, there are explicit airline guidelines for traveling with such objects.  

During my former career as a funeral home financier, I learned lots of details relating to our bodies post-mortem and I cannot believe how much of a life our bodies have after we exit them. I worked in funeral home financing so I was pretty far away from the actual funeral proceedings, bodies, trauma, and depression. But I still got my fair share of new information just by being peripherally involved in the  buying and selling of funeral homes.  

Rather than learning about embalming and showings and plugging (shudder), I was more involved with funeral directors as they decided if they were ready to take a step towards ownership. Owning ones own funeral home is a big achievement with lots of big responsibilities and I was there to help these guys (mostly guys) out in the logistics.  

didn’t really learn anything about the transport of bodies via air travel but ever since working in that field, I’ve been a bit more aware of just how much the deceased move throughout the world with the living – albeit for shorter times in most cases  

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Using Travel Time Wisely

Some of you are up in my comments asking for recommendations as to how to pass the time flying. I’m sure we all have our own go-to time-sucks for airplane time. I travel for work and so I’m up in the air a ton, like ten hours in the average week. I used to spend this time working but that felt tedious. Then I switched to spending that time consuming media, but that felt like brain-poison. I’ve recently decided to switch up my routine and spend that time learning or practicing something.  

 Sometimes I’ll spend an entire flight doing DuoLingo Language Learning Coursework – especially if colleagues in my destination is non-English speaking. And recently, I enrolled in some online math coursework. It sounds pretty silly but I was a very poor math student and it always kinda irked me. I remember the moment I decided to switch that part of my brain off and focus on the ARTS. It was definitely the right choice for me as a child, I am interested to see if that choice remains the right one for my adult brain.  

I enrolled in a kids online math program and spend my time in the air completing worksheets. Just this morning I completed an equivalent fractions worksheet and lesson on a flight to Cleveland. On one hand, it feels pretty silly and childish. And on the other, it’s kinda fun and removes a lot of the barriers to learning math that existed when I was in school (e.g., grades, mean teachers, classmates, etc).  

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Travel Tip Feedback

I’ve been surprised to see the comments sections of these blogs turn into a swap meet for travel tips and secrets. I’m into it. I’ve used lots of your suggestions; some were great, some were dumb, some were just weird.  

One of you suggested traveling with a blow-up neck pillow for more comfortable sleeping on the plane. In theory, great idea. In practice, I can’t stand the looks and stares from my seatmates while I casually blow up my neck pillow and then, a few hours later, deflate it. Shudder. 

But then one of you suggested this interesting little hoodie with a neck pillow built in. It’s just the hood part of the hoodie, attached to a memory foam neck pillow. This thing is amazing because I can be comfortable AND hidden behind the hood. The two things I always want to be on a plane are asleep and invisible!  

And finally one of you shared a hummus recipe (chick peas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic) and suggested putting it in a ziploc bag and then cutting off a corner when you board the plane so that you can eat hummus out of the bag. Like icing a cake but…. icing your mouth, with hummus, while in public, on an airplane, surrounded by strangers. 


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Tumi Luggage

It is straight up fucking bonkers to me how expensive this luggage is. Unless it’s carrying a very valuable human baby or something of equal value, I cannot see spending $600 on a fucking suitcase. I’m appalled at the notion.


I declined to review this luggage on that principal alone. People rich enough to spend $600 on a piece of luggage don’t need peons like me to review it for them.


All I do is work. I’m not some Wall Street Executive Coastal Elite Luggage Expert. I’m just a bored guy with a cool hobby! NEXT!


Although I’ll concede, they’re pretty and travelling with one certainly says something about you.

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Amazon Basics Luggage

Amazon makes fucking everything. The luggage they make is, actually, great.


For the price, it’s the best luggage I’ve had the pleasure of using. Because I’m a pretty avid traveler, I decided to stick with the Away Luggage that I reviewed in my first post because they have a lifetime guarantee and I like that kind of confidence in a company. But for less frequent travelers, I highly suggest the Amazon Basics line of hardside rolling bags.

Image result for amazonbasics luggage

This luggage is sturdy, well-built, has a good sense of balance, the wheels roll freely, there is ample space, and yet it’s small enough for every overhead space I’ve seen, they come in beautiful colors so you’ll never have to inspect every black bag that comes down the luggage carousel, and the wheels are sturdy whether on airport linoleum, Roman cobblestone streets, or the sandy beaches of Florida.


If I have to note something less than desirable with this bag, which I do have to, it’s that the handle feels a bit flimsy. When pulling the handle up or pushing it back into storage position, it always feels a little breakable and fragile. This creates about five seconds of struggle each time I mess with the handle – a small price to pay for a bag this inexpensive and functional.


I’ve read some reviews about a wheel falling off here and there – that’s super annoying and I’m very glad it didn’t happen to me. But with Amazon’s generous return policy (especially for Prime members) I don’t anticipate this being a huge deterrent to giving the bag a shot!

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Target Luggage

Target sells some really nice luggage. But I want to talk about their Skyline line of luggage. It’s super cheap, if you need one piece of luggage for one quick trip, and you’re comfortable with it literally falling apart before you get home from a long weekend away, then I highly suggest this brand.

Image result for broken suitcase

Like most trendy luggage lately, it has four wheels meaning you can walk within beside you instead of behind you. The problem here however is that the luggage is not weighted correctly – whether empty or filled with travel necessities – so it will not stand upright on its four wheels without leaning against a wall or chair. Further, the wheels do not roll smoothly. I can seldom walk the length of a short airport terminal without one or more of the wheels getting stuck every three minutes or so.


Also, when I received the luggage in the mail, it was inside of a box, inside of a plastic bag. When I opened the bag I almost got a contact high from the chemical smell coming off of the piece of luggage. I’m not sure if it’s the fabric or the plastic, but I would not feel comfortable traveling with something this toxic.


I tried three different wheeled pieces from this line of luggage. The carry-on was fine, beyond what is described above. I also tried the smaller version, the underseat carry-on luggage. I had never bought a specifically under-seat piece of luggage. My usual travel plan is to have one overhead space wheeled suitcase and one personal item, like a purse or backpack, to put under the seat ahead of me.


This little rolly bag was designed to fit under that space and yet, on my flight, it didn’t fit – not by a long shot. Granted, I was traveling on Spirit Airways, an airline notorious for their limited space. But this little rolly bag clearly didn’t meet my needs in that respect. It was pretty embvarrassing and stupid to board the flight so late that there was no overhead space left, failing to fit this under my seat, and then spending several loud public minutes fighting with the air hostess about paying $50 to check it. She ended up winning that dumb argument.


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Away Luggage

This is the first luggage I ever bought and found remarkable enough to write about. It comes in beautiful colors, even the large sizes are sleek, the carry-on sizes are elegant, the built-in battery is especially helpful on the carry-on bag when I’m sitting at the gate playing Words With Friends waiting for yet another unexplained flight delay.


The setup inside the bag is simple but effective. One side zippers off to create a compartment for “hard goods” like shoes, dop kits, a hair dryer, etc. Between the two halfs of the suitcase is a swinging mesh “folder” in which I hold my paper goods – travel documents, magazines, playing cards, journal etc. This swings over the other half of the suitcase and clips in to press down clothes. I can hold about four days worth of clothes in the large carry-on size luggage, all folded into the open half of the suitcase and pressed down with the singing mesh folder.

In a small pocket at the bottom half of the clothing half of the suitcase is a pocket, inside of which is contained a zipper bag. This is meant to hold clothes as they become dirty along the journey. When not in use, this little laundry bag folds down and fits into the pocket. It features a small tag with a snap – when in use, it snaps into the pocket and when filled with clothes, lays flat in the clothing half of the suitcase, only taking up as much space as the clothes took when they were clean. It’s very clever, very useful, and helps me sort out my clothes as I travel without putting the dirty ones back into contact with the clean ones.


The battery pops out in case I want to check my luggage or for when charging it. It takes about one hour to fully charge, and charges my iphone about three times.


I love this luggage. If you’re simply looking to spend about $250 on a nice carry-on bag, look no further. It’s practical, it’s cute, it’s light, everyone constantly asks me about it, and they have a great customer referral program. It even came with a large canvas bag to store it when it’s not in use. And the lock feature built into the piece is nice, if only for peace of mind.

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