It started with a small thing – I asked an online group if anyone had any flower bulbs that they’d be willing to donate to my very bare garden patch. Within two hours, I was gifted literally dozens of irises, narcissi, calla lilies, dahlias, and more. The generosity of people is nearly overwhelming, but in order to receive, you must ask.
Such a simple thing and yet one that is devilishly difficult for so many of us.
I spent this past weekend at a conference in nearby Asheville, a lovely, quirky town that is filled with beautiful vistas, interesting shops, and colorful characters. (Plus an unexpected snow flurry, but that’s a tale for another time.) Now, I’ve known for quite some time that there are advantages to “packing heavy” when you’re able to do so – seriously, take your own pillow if you are able to; it makes all the difference in the world – but I wanted to share something else with you.
At the hotel, ask.
Since Covid, staying at hotels is just — different. Gone (and unlikely to come back) are individual-sized toiletries and daily maid service. That’s fine – those little bottles are examples of massive plastic waste (although I enjoyed gathering them up and dropping them off at a homeless shelter) and I don’t really need fresh towels every day – but added to other amenities that have vanished as our lives changed (notepaper has gone the way of the steamer trunk), staying in many hotels is not as special as once it may have seemed.
I always ask for extra coffee, for example. I want my first cup in the calm private of my room. Looking at the hotel’s website, I found that they were running a fall special that included pumpkin spice coffee, something I quite enjoy and rarely treat myself to. So I went to the desk and (very politely) asked if they had any that I could have. I left with half a dozen packs, along with pumpkin spice popcorn for a snack.
As you know, I believe in “using the good stuff” on a regular basis and staying in hotel rooms where everything is paper and disposable just feels very blah. So I asked for a coffee mug, a metal spoon (instead of that tongue depressor thing that comes in those flimsy packets), and an actual water glass. The hotel couldn’t have been more accommodating. Now, keep in mind your attitude – be nice. Be very nice. You’re asking, not demanding. Make people WANT to do nice things for you and you’ll go far in this life and you’ll make the lives of those around you more enjoyable as well.
Look – I’ve asked for small refrigerators, power strips, vases (I like to buy flowers for my room when I travel. It pretties the place up, the flower shop folks are invariably delighted to help me out when I explain that no, it’s just for me, I’m here for a few days and I want some color in my hotel room and the cleaning staff seems to like it when I leave them behind with the tip), and odd pictures, like a picture of a javelina when I was staying in the Southwest. (The staff took it as a challenge, and a full-color picture was pushed under my door by the time I got back from dinner.)
Ask. You just never know.
And travel heavy, if you can. That means pack for comfort – slippers, that super-comfy loungewear you love, a few candles and a lighter to take the stuffiness out of the room, a room/linen spray, your own coffee and tea fixings (for some reason, hotels usually have Sweet ‘n’ Low, which I just hate), and download a white noise app to help you sleep in an unfamiliar place.
And always ask.
Spread joy, Divas! And be sure to take a portion of it for yourself.