Tag Archives: relaxing

How Jury Duty Made Me a Better Traveler

A while back I was seated on a jury.  Anyone who knows me in real life is well aware that I’ve been jealous of potential jurors for most of my life.  Weird, I know.  I still loved my experience and learned a lot, but my particular case was incredibly emotionally draining, as it was of the Law and Order: SVU variety.  But, reflecting back, aside from the stress there is a lot I learned about decision making and being fair. 

  1. Use all of your senses.  When viewing a witness and hearing testimony, you are not only permitted but encouraged to obersevre their posture, body language, the tenor of their voice and facial expressions.  It isn’t just what they say, but how.  In a case with no physical evidence, it was the star witness’s physical demeanor that really sold me, and others on the jury. 
  2. Consider the source.  A big sticking point for us was that two of the witnesses were not getting any benefit from testifying against the defendant, one even moreso than the other.  Their was certainly nothing in it for them other than the truth, as their lives had moved on and the players no longer mattered to them.  Likewise, consider who you get travel tips from.  A friend or blogger who had a great time and wants you to do the same is likely to be your best resource, moreso than a tour company or sponsored blogger with certain allegiances. 
  3. Be prepared.  Court rooms are cold, lunch breaks are flexible, and you may not even be selected to be on the final jury (there are two alternates).  So every day I brought a sweater, a good book, a silly magazine and some snacks.  While you can’t prepare for everything (like randomly being let out 2 hours early one day for unknown-to-us court reasons), you should prepare for everything you know of.  Similarly, there’s no good reason not to have comfy shoes, emergency funds and a good towel.  In fact, I would say treat it like a cold, unreliable courthouse: bring a snack, reading material and sweater and you’ll be fine in most situations. 
  4. Work with what you’ve got.  We were only given certain information, and the pertinent legal knoweledge.  We all knew Massachusetts had statutory rape laws, but for whatever reason they were considered irrelevent to the case, so we had to decide based on the facts we actually had in front of us.  When you’re traveling, don’t lament  the guide book you forgot, the local knowledge you don’t have, the clothing you can’t find.  Just take what you have in front of you and make it work. 
  5. Find a Way to Clear Your Mind.  Traveling can be stressful, and even mroeso depending on your companions and where in the world you are.  It’s extremely iomportant to have a reliable way to restore your sanity.  During the trial, I would lay on the couch eating cheese and crackers, talking to no one, watching tv and movies nonstop onDemand.  If I didn’t, I would get too freaked out.  Like traveling, I had limited resources available to me–I couldn’t discuss the trial with anyone, especially not my deposition-filming brother, and I wasn’t supposed to read the news.  When abroad, I prefer to write, go for a solo walk, do some yogo, or listen to great live music while in some form of transportation.  Find something that works, and apply as necessary. 

I Like Me So Much Better When I Travel!

Travel Delia is way cooler than home Delia–sorry for those of you who only see home delia!  When I’m away, I think critically, but I’m also more laid back about obstacles and delays.  I’m thrilled to sit in a crowded train station on a hot Egyptian night, people watching, reading and soaking it all in.  At home?  I look like one of those Bostonians your mom told you about, the Massholes you shouldn’t bother. 

But every day you can litterally wake up and be someone new.  Every person you meet is the opportunity to make the changes you’ve been thinking about, or maybe even implementing, the ones your old friends don’t notice because their image of you is trapped in resin like a mosquito.  Who Says I can’t be Travel Delia every day?

When I’m away I…

  • read or look out the window on pretty much every form of transportation, instead of always listening to my ipod
  • write way more
  • don’t worry about hygeine
  • am far more likely to talk to a stranger
  • am barefoot!
  • am open to hearing new opinions
  • am more of a listener (but, let’s face it, still a pretty big talker…)
  • randomly help strangers and travelling companions alike
  • am more mindful of how often I speak, when I interupt, and how loud I am
  • wander
  • practice yoga most days
  • wake up early
  • fly solo
  • arrive on time almost everywhere, unless it really is beyond my control (see: Benin)
  • go to all kinds of cultural festivals and museums
  • take notes.  All the time.  And I love it. 
  • am thankful every time I have AC, halfway-decent food and a bed without bedbugs (regular bugs don’t bother me)
  • am not at all scared of bugs
  • dance more; smile more; hum to myself
  • take lots of pictures of my friends
  • play sports
  • don’t worry so much about what I’m wearing, since my choices are limited
  • pay more attention
  • take better care of myself
  • challenge myself
  • let myself fail
  • write thank you notes
  • walk everywhere
  • play with children and strangers
  • talk to every kid I meet

This year I’m doing something different: I’m staying home, and I’m loving it.  And I’ve been inspired by my travels and by Thoreau to apply my travel mindset to home–the local, the domestic, the unnoticed and the seemingly-banal.  Because that’s what the point of this blog is: to think critically, live happily, examine everything and go forth with equal parts whimsy and thoughtful care.  After all, the people, language, culture and politics of Massachusetts and America at large are no less interesting or worthy than those on all the other continents, in all the other states. 

Are you different when you get into a new environment?  How and why?  Does it have to be far away, or is it just the presence of new people?