I was once the type of person who would mock anybody who carried a travel pillow. I thought it was beneath me, that anybody who wore it looked ridiculous and well, I thought it was plain uncool.
Of course this was back when the only travelling I was doing was with my dad, on a comfortable flight, where they provide you with pillows. Or sometimes by train, where you’re horizontal most of the time anyway and lay your head on a bag or whatever. Also, being young and nimble means you are less prone to stiff necks.
Enter my early twenties and suddenly I can’t even survive a three hour flight with that scrap of cotton they call a pillow.
It was only two years back when I started travelling by bus, with friends, that I realised my vanity, my snobbishness, was starting to become a pain in my own neck. There I was, on a bus to Pondicherry and I couldn’t sleep a wink. My eyes were drooping but my neck kept lolling about like I was at a slow-motion metal concert. So I look to my right to see if my travel buddy is in the same predicament. Nope, her head is snugly resting in a travel pillow!
Now, I should have learnt my lesson then and bought a travel pillow. But where’s the fun in that.
A couple of weeks down the line, we were on a bus to Kerala to attend a friend’s wedding. The journey was long and delayed and I was seated next to a girl whose seat was too small for her. So she conveniently borrowed some of mine. To add to the misery of it all, the air-conditioner was running on full-blast. How can anyone sleep like this!
My buddy, who carries a travel pillow – that’s who. (She also has a travel blanket, which is next on my list of travel-purchases this year.)
After that, I had to agree I had been foolish. After that, I haven’t boarded a bus without a travel pillow hanging from my backpack.
You’re on a bus, for anywhere from 7 to 10 hours. No matter what, when you reach your destination, you’re going to look like a hot mess. If you’re anything like I was, I suggest you buy that travel pillow. At least, you’ll be a well-rested hot mess.
P.S. This obviously applies to other modes of transport too.