One of my guilty pleasures is reading the New York Times column that discusses with famous people what they cannot travel without. It was with particularly interest that I read the column that discusses she-of-the-famously-exacting-taste maven Martha Stewart.
As I continued reading, a strange sense of relief-slash-grief washed over me as I came to a horrifying realization: I’m not really like Martha. Not at all.
Picture me, sitting here, crestfallen, at the United Club in Los Angeles, trying not to let the disappointment attract attention as I console myself with a gin and tonic and some expertly squared mass-produced brownies and cheese cubes.
Martha: “I’m not a light packer, so I will definitely pack enough variety of clothing to cope with weather, events and surprises. I’m not embarrassed to take two suitcases. My carry-on is the largest possible that will fit into the compartment. I really love the Rimowa luggage. I’ve actually Instagrammed me with seven suitcases when I had to go out and do my show with Snoop. I had 20 wardrobe changes.”
Me: I once entered the cabin of an aeroplane wearing three pairs of underoos to avoid checking a bag.
Martha: “One’s just for books, one’s for TV show series, and one’s for movies. I load them up with enough movies so that I have one per day. I don’t sleep well on land so I like to watch movies in the night. I have three because I’m always running out of space. I don’t like erasing all my movies.”
Me: I will gladly sit through Hidden Figures for the seventeenth time.
Martha: “I always take a very comfortable shawl, a shahtoosh. They weigh almost nothing and they’re as warm as a down comforter. It’s paper thin, it goes through a wedding ring.” [Update: After this article was published, Ms. Stewart hastened to clarify that the shawl is made from cashmere and is not an actual shatoosh, which uses the hair of an endangered Tibetan antelope.]
Me: We’re actually in complete lock-step here.
Martha: “I take a workout outfit so I can go to the gym in the hotel, with good footwear. I oftentimes take my Pilates ring and my yoga strap and a block to do stuff in my room if there’s no gym. I work out every day when I travel.”
Me: I pack an extra top in case I drip sauce on it. Every sauce drip on your top makes you look ten pounds heavier.
Martha: “If it’s a long flight I’ll take some very good food that I know I’ll want to eat on the plane. I might make a delicious smoked salmon sandwich on seven-grain bread; I might take a tabbouleh salad. I take homemade yogurt with apple sauce. I try to avoid plane food most of the time. I just don’t find it very appetizing. And my hard-boiled eggs are just so much better than any eggs on the plane. They’re from my own chickens. I take them for everybody I’m traveling with.”
Me: If the airport has Roundtable Pizza, I’ll get that, but I won’t take it on the plane. If they serve a meal on the plane, I’ll take a picture and then start eyeing my neighbor’s roll until they hand it over.
Martha: “I bring all my own bath things. A lot of hotels put out soaps with so much perfume; they’re awful. I wish they would do unscented high-quality soaps and things. I always bring my own soaps, like Dr. Orentreich’s silicon soap and Mario Badescu’s A.H.A. soap.”
Me: I steal the soap, then call housekeeping and ask for more.