Under pressure! That’s what many of us feel right before taking a vacation. Locking down the house, arranging for pet care, stopping all mail delivery, etc. It’s almost as if you need a vacation from your vacation planning before it’s even gotten started.

I don’t know about you, but renting a car at the airport after an international flight has to be a seamless experience, otherwise I am even more stressed. So when we got to Dulles International Airport two weeks ago, we were astounded at how fast the check-in service at Dollar Rent-a-Car went. Until we discovered they didn’t have any more economy cars available for another fifteen minutes. No big deal, I thought. I live in a time abundant state. We’ll have some snacks and wait. When the newly washed car was driven up, we were thrilled.

But what I didn’t know was the rental car agency had rushed through the detailing process such that the air tire pressure was uneven. A light indicator for the air tire pressure illuminated in my car about a week later. We even went to a tire center to have it checked. All but one had fifty pounds in it, but they couldn’t add the tire because the supervisor hadn’t turned the machine on yet (it was almost 10 am – you have to love slow country living!). We found an air machine at the local convenience store. Following the tire guy’s instructions, I added enough in the one tire to match the air pressure in the others.

That is, until my dad suggested I look at how much air pressure is SUPPOSED to be in the tires. It turns out the “lowest tire pressure” was actual the accurate one. So I went back to the rental agency and asked them to please check it. I wasn’t about to spend anymore money on it. Indeed, the tires had been overinflated by the agency itself. I suggested he let the detailers know to which he snippily replied, “I would if they spoke English!”

Hmmm…I was starting to feel less enamoured of Dollar by the minute.

So my slow travel tip to you is to ask that they check the air pressure for you before you leave, or travel with a gauge yourself. You can find the proper air pressure on the inside of the driver’s door. Apparently at Dollar, the buck stops with you.

 

Admittedly, I was zooming through town a tad too fast. Fueled by my excitment at landing a new PR account (based in the juicy slow land of Bullerbü ~yes, Sweden!), I almost overlooked a family of ducks walking pompously across the road. They didn’t waddle. No, no. They strutted in web-footed fashion. They weren’t eager to cross to the other side either. They walked like they owned the place.

It’s happened on that corner of the street before. I should have known they might be out for their daily country jaunt. Luckily, I slowed fast enough for them to carry out their mission undeterred.

The family of birds reminded me of a long-forgotten book I used to read to the kids when we lived in Boston: Make Way for Ducklings, a true story about a policeman who ushered a family of ducks across the street on a frequent basis. We can learn from stories and experiences such as these. Slowing our pace, despite our distraction about this or that, can bring us into present time, the only real time we have.

What will you do to make way for ducklings in our life today? Do tell!

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Embrace Life

April 10, 2010

The power of slow is all about embracing your time, which really translates into embracing your life. As the warmer weather leads to more road travel, please remember to wear your seat belt.

If you have one minute and twenty-six seconds, take a look at one of the most beautiful seat belt commercials ever made.

Embrace life today.


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