Road Life

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!)

Road Life: Travel Must-Haves

on January 27, 2014 in AnnieSpeaks, Road Life with 6 comments by


Oh friends. What a fun weekend we had at the Becoming Conference. The leadership is awesome and the girls were the sweetest and California is as dreamy as you can imagine.

I’m on weekend three of a five weekend run of speaking and traveling. I leave tomorrow for Atlanta where I do a couple of events (including this conference that you are welcome to attend if you’re in the area) and then I head to Austin for IF:Gathering. I have THE BEST JOB at IF. I can’t wait to tell you about it.

There are a handful of things that go with me to all the places. I think that’s important when you travel – especially when I’m only sleeping in my own bed 1-2 nights a week right now. So taking home with me really matters.

Example? My pillow. It goes everywhere, even if it means I have to check a bigger suitcase, so be it. Where I go, she goes to hold my noggin.


Also? Nail polish. When I don’t have a color with me, bad habits return- like me biting them. Woof. Also? Headache meds. Man, I get migraines. Have we talked about that? It’s not fun- but luckily the amount of headaches continues to decrease now that my body hasn’t had dairy in A YEAR (we will talk about THAT in February) and I don’t eat much wheat. But none the less, I still get them. So I do not leave home without proper meds.

polish and meds

Speaking of no dairy, I bring Larabars on every trip. While most churches and venues work hard to provide dairy-free options at every meal, sometimes it is just easier to bring a snack along that I know tastes great, fills me up, and isn’t made by a cow.


Also in my carry-on? Usually a long sleeve sweater of some sort. I do not prefer to be cold and if I have an early or late flight, I like to get all snuggly and snoozle. Also in my carry-on? Laptop, iPad, magazines, Bible study book, earphones, and… ahem… a pair of underwear.


I also don’t leave home without my Jackery Bar – my mama got this for me. It’s a portable charger for my iPhone and iPad! Pretty much it has three full charges in it. So I keep it full and carry it in my purse most of the time to make sure I am never stuck in RandomTown, USA with a dead phone.

Here I am, obviously very casually talking on the phone and charging it at the same time in the Orange County airport while some old guy napped beside me.


And so those are my main must-haves. If I keep this collection of things with me, I feel like I’m at home even when I’m not…. almost.

But then when I get home? I unpack IMMEDIATELY thanks to Jeff Pardo‘s recommendation- as a member of Matthew West’s band, he is a professional traveler and told me that is the BEST way to feel at home quickly. (He’s right. It changes everything to get unpacked right away.)

And I light my favorite candle.


But seriously. I can’t quit this smell.

. . . . .

What are your travel must-haves? I bet there is something you take with you that I’m gonna realize I need to take with me everywhere. Tell me. Please? 🙂

Road Life begins.

on January 13, 2014 in AnnieSpeaks, Road Life with 4 comments by


After a few weeks off, this weekend kicked off my 2014 speaking and travel season. I spent this weekend in Texas, and the next few weekends go like this:

  • Gatlinburg
  • Los Angeles
  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Nashville
  • San Fransisco
  • Louisville
  • Augusta, Georgia

And by “next few,” I mean I have Valentine’s weekend at home, the Girls of Grace in Nashville at home, and then my next weekend off is March 22.

(You can see my full speaking calendar here– we have a few weekends left in the spring if you know of anyone looking for a speaker. And we’re starting to book the fall so let me know about that too!)

I absolutely LOVE this season of my life. I won’t always be able to travel this much, I won’t always want to. But while I want to and while I can, it is a blast. Seeing so many cities, meeting so many people, eating at so many hole-in-the-wall local places. It’s the best.

I instagrammed from the airport on Friday, and got comments about 2 things:

1. travel


So I thought I’d do a series of posts on what I’ve learned from traveling, being at a whole lot of different churches and venues each year, things I don’t leave home without, how we decide where to eat, what luggage I use, who goes with me, how to carry fifty pounds of books across the country, these types of things.

But I’d love to know what you want to know about road life. Like, what questions can I answer for you? 

And as for THAT. BAG., it was a Christmas gift from a dear family that I love, so I don’t exactly know where to get it. But the tag on the inside is So maybe check there? And it is as amazing as it looks- the handles are long and sturdy, the design is gorgeous, and it easily holds all the things I travel with in my carry-on.

… which is a list I will write about in the next Road Life post!

Get a sneak peek of Annie’s latest book! Click the link to download two free chapters of Let’s All Be Brave.