What Divas Know About Travel

  • Divas are delicate, do not make us walk up a hill, any hill unless we agree in writing beforehand. And we decide what constitutes a hill. Not you.
  • We could not be less interested in ‘views.’ We will decide what is a ‘view.’ Not you.
  • Diet Coke, coffee, champagne, or a local equivalent must be at hand at every moment. And we decide what an equivalent is. Not you.
  • Learn as little as possible about where you are going, ideally don’t even look at a map of the city until you arrive in the hotel room. If you plan excessively, invariably the one place you were most interested in seeing will be closed.
  • Children, older people and pregnant women go first in any kind of line – use the extra time to remember that being kind makes your hair more lustrous.
  • One must know how to sit in a café and drink a cup of coffee without looking at any kind of a screen, reading a book or making conversation – a diva knows the importance of people-watching and the importance of not endlessly distracting oneself. Sit. Be.
  • Divas never call themselves “travelers” (or, heaven forefend, “nomads” or “gypsy” or “Roma/ Romani” or “hobo”) or make fun of “tourists.” Divas know that we are all tourists, all the time. Get over it. And no, even if you are on gap-year or living on rice and locusts or “everything I own is in this small knapsack” or hitch-hiking/ trainhopping  – you are do not get to pretend you have joined specific cultural groups for funsies or to make yourself seem exotic. Divas make their own exotic – they do not lay claim to others’ ethnic heritages.
  • If you want to have a good nights sleep in someone else’s guest room, you need to make sure that you have a plan for when someone comes crash on your sofa or stay in your Designers’ Guild-decorated guest bedroom with teak floors. You must have a way to make your space of guests warmer (blankets), cooler (fan), darker (eyeshade or curtain) or brighter (nightlight). Coffee fanatic adults keep a few tea bags on hand and tea enthusiasts keep some non-disgusting instant coffee. This is the way to peace, harmony and having friends who answer your 2am phone calls. Never shall auntie forget the visit to a person (kindness clouds the name) who insisted that coffee was not to be drunk until after 10am. Adults make provision for people who wake up and/ or eat earlier or later than them. If you are dealing with a person over 17, there is no enforcing what is eaten when.
  • Travel can be frustrating and divas know how to calm themselves down and cheer themselves up with unlawful pharmaceuticals or excessive alcohol. But please note that Bellinis do not count as alcohol as they are mostly fruit, as are mojitos. And champagne cocktails do not count because they are in Casablanca.
  • Watching people can be fun and/ or excruciatingly painful. In the UK, seeing someone eat breakfast is both mesmerizing and terrifying; it takes hours, sometimes the whole day. Fork in left hand, knife in right, cut a minuscule square of toast, cut a thin slice of mushroom, separate out one bean, cut a sliver of tomato, detach 1/8 of a teaspoon of egg and a wisp of bacon. Assemble all the pieces on the fork. Eat. Sip tea. Complain silently about tea but decide not to say anything to the server. Repeat. If you are in the UK and a person suggests a scheme for the day that you do not want to do, don’t protest – order a “full breakfast” for everyone and, as it will take six hours to eat, you are safe. If there is a fun plan for the day, order coffee and croissants.