Road Life: Unpack

on March 17, 2014 in Road Life with 11 comments by

I got back to Nashville about 6pm yesterday and I fly out this afternoon at 5pm.

23 hours.

It’s not always like this. But sometimes it is. You can tell by my travel/speaking schedule. I kinda have some busier months intentionally- so that months like December and July are a little quieter. But it makes for a head-spinning month here and there.

Last year, it was the same. And sometime in mid-November (of 2012), I kinda had a “MY ROOM IS A WRECK” meltdown. Every time I came home, I just kinda ripped all the clothes and items out of the bag, threw them on the floor, and then repacked. And then if I was home for a few days, I would pretty much just open my suitcase and live out of it until it was time to put clean clothes in it and head out.

My meltdown mainly looked like tears. Per usual.

So I talked with my friend Jeff Pardo– he’s married to Marisa and he’s the band leader for Matthew West, so yeah- you can trust his decision making. Anyways, I tell Jeff of my COMPLETE AND TOTAL MESSY ROOM MELTDOWN, and he asked, “Do you unpack?”

Um…. no? I mean, sorta? I mean, no?

Jeff, who travels a ton more than I do, said you have to unpack. All the way. No matter how long you are home, you unpack everything when you walk in the door, put your suitcase away, and put all your clothes and shoes and toiletries in their right place.

And y’all? It totally changed my life.


It makes me feel like I’m home when I’m home.

So now it is the first thing I do when I get home from the road. Unpack. All of it. Even the toiletries out of my travel bag, and yes- I will repack them again today. But it is worth the extra work for my peace of mind and sanity.

. . . . .

Someone asked me recently, “what do you do to feel at home when you are on the road so much?” It was an interesting question for me, that I pose to you too.

What do you do to feel at home? When you’ve been on vacation and come back, do you immediately light a candle? Go to the grocery store? Remake your bed? 

(Do you have more questions about my weirdo life on the road? Check out other Road Life posts here or ask questions in the comments below and I’ll answer them there or in a future post!)


  1. Katie
    posted on Mar 17, 2014 at 5:55 AM  |  reply


    • posted on Mar 17, 2014 at 10:52 AM  |  reply

      You’re welcome. 🙂

  2. posted on Mar 17, 2014 at 7:47 AM  |  reply

    Thank you for your commitment and generosity to go some extra miles and minutes dear Annie. I swannee, if you ever host an i(RL) Camp Annie, I’m signing up! I’d clean your room and swish your toilets just to glean from some of your hard-earned wisdom and endless wit! You’ve blessed this girl here with your REAL and I will pray for you.

    • posted on Mar 17, 2014 at 10:52 AM  |  reply

      Thank YOU for having me! I absolutely love coming to Waynesboro! Hope to see you again soon soon soon.

  3. posted on Mar 17, 2014 at 10:02 AM  |  reply

    My thing is I have to have a clean home to come home to. I do whatever I can before I leave (even if it looks like I just pretend made my bed) so when I come home, I’m not overwhelmed with a list a mile long of things I need to do on the home front. And then YES, I unpack everything too.

    • posted on Mar 17, 2014 at 10:53 AM  |  reply

      Yes and amen.

  4. posted on Mar 17, 2014 at 1:15 PM  |  reply

    I try to unpack asap and always take a shower. Something about being in MY shower just helps me wash off the dust from the road and reminds me I’m home! (I’m unpacking from a trip as I read this…great timing! :))

  5. Lucinda
    posted on Mar 18, 2014 at 12:59 AM  |  reply

    It sounds fun, yet tiring to be travelling! I have not been out of Australia (I live near Sydney) so I don’t quite know what that is like. The purpose of this comment, however isn’t to tell you that, but I am a ranter and so I did. But what I wanted to say was that your book ‘speak love’ has been unbeliably helpful to me, so much that it has actually changed my life in extraordinary ways, so thankyou for writing it. I also love your blog. I love reading people’s rants, and it makes me happy I’m not the only one that has them x

  6. Heather
    posted on Mar 19, 2014 at 5:02 PM  |  reply

    I don’t mind the unpacking part – indeed it does make me feel at home – but I don’t enjoy the packing part. I find it hard to decide what to take along and frequently overpack preparing for all possible conditions.

    Even though I don’t travel that frequently, I have a toiletries bag always packed – that way I won’t forget shampoo, toothpaste, soap, etc. The only things I need to throw in the day of the trip are the items I need that morning anyway: make-up bag, blow dryer, brush, etc. As they get used, they go into the bag.

  7. Gretchen
    posted on Mar 19, 2014 at 6:57 PM  |  reply

    I travel almost weekly with my job and am not in the habit of unpacking after a trip. I just unpack the dirty clothes for wash, leave an empty suitcase laying around for a few days before I repack. And I’m totally with you – I never feel rested or at home. So thank you for speaking these little tidbits of thoughts! I shall have to try it next week 🙂

    And to echo previous sentiments, I MUST leave a clean apartment. I cannot come back to a dirty one!

  8. posted on Mar 19, 2014 at 7:13 PM  |  reply

    so i got here from Girl on Fire blog which had a link to your blog….and i got to Girl on Fire from Imperfect Prose which I linked with today. At least I think that is how I got here…all those clicks and I may have lost my way, but I did end up here!

    anyway, when i travel I just have to have a fireside Woodwick Candle which crackles and smells heavenly. Then music is important. – worship music and some meditation music. I dont travel as much now that I am retired – hardly stay in a hotel any more, but when I did, that’s what i needed. and yes, unpacking woudl be a good idea, but oh man, i was terrible at it. good for you for making the change.

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