Five Traveling Tips for OCD Heads

by Bill Brenner on July 16, 2012

Staying healthy while traveling has never been easy for an OCD case like me. When I traveled to New York in June, I pushed myself to the point where I was lying on the floor of the airport as I typed away, waiting for the flight home. My LA trip the month before ended pretty much the same way.

I don’t really sleep on these trips. There’s too much to do and see, too many interesting people to talk to. I work hard, but I always make time to catch up with friends and family in the city I’m visiting. Next week I fly to Las Vegas for the Black Hat and BSidesLV security conferences. I won’t get destroyed on the road as badly as I used to, because I’ve learned to follow these five steps:

Mood music:


  • Don’t eat junk. This one is easier for me because I don’t eat flour and sugar. But it’s still a challenge because I’m not weighing my portions on the little scale like I do at home. That makes it easy to overeat. For the most part, I’ve been able to hold it together, and the better I do, the better I feel when I get home. When I used to junk it up on the road, I’d be useless the first three days at home.
  • Pack lightly. I used to try cramming most of my wardrobe into the suitcase, along with five books, boots, shoes and so on. I feared being caught far from home without enough shirts and socks. Now I keep it light because I can breeze through the airport and get on and off the plane more quickly. If I run low on pants, I’ll wear the same pair more than once. Many of you do this but won’t admit it. Shirts are a different story. Wearing the same shirt twice would be gross because you can’t hide the stench your armpits leave behind.
  • Wear sleepwear to the airport. I usually sleep in cut-off gym pants and a t-shirt. I wear them to the airport, too. That way I don’t waste time in the security line removing the belt, rings and bracelets. I keep the jewelry in the suitcase and avoid laced footwear, too. If you have business meetings straight from the airport, you can’t do this. That’s why I never, ever book meetings for the day I land.
  • Remember the music. The radio stations you get on the airplane almost always suck, so remember the iPod. For me, music is the required way of passing the time on a five-hour flight.
  • Use the first day to screw your head on straight. The first day in the city I’ve traveled to is not for business briefings and conference calls. I use the time to explore the city I’m in for a couple hours, then I go back to the hotel and look over the agenda for the coming days. At night I meet up with friends, family and business associates for dinner.

From there, I’m ready to work my ass off.

And when I get home, my recovery time is much faster than it used to be. With the busy family life I have, that’s pretty essential.


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