Here’s a little something from my experiences to help others in their travels up and down the road. Some names have been changed to protect the guilty.
One of the first things you realize when you become a wrestler is that there are some VERY long travel days. These days can be made longer still if you are unprepared, ill equipped or just plain stupid. Like me.
I’ll start with might be the most important — don’t screw around when going through customs. They have no sense of humour and are generally going to get the last laugh when you have your pants around your ankles and someone is stretching on a rubber glove. Bend over please.
When you are passing through customs be it Canadian (the harshest), U.S., England, Thailand, or wherever, have your passport out and ready. If you don’t have one, get one. ASAP. Have your customs questionnaire ready. Fill it out nice and legibly. And tell the truth. If you are dumb and trying to smuggle in some ultimately worthless piece of crap and trying not to pay a duty or whatever, that piece of crap is going to become the bane of your existence when it leads to an extended customs stay or jail time and a red flag on your passport.
As I write this, I am in a taxi going home from Toronto’s Pearson airport. It is 6 p.m. My flight was to have landed at 3, but it was an hour late. But still I should have been through customs and had my luggage and been in the taxi by 4:30 p.m. But because I tried to be a funny guy at the customs counter, I got a nice hour and 20 minute wait in line. The lady in front of me did not understand the customs card and had filled in yes on what are normally no questions. So I got to stand there for 10 minutes while the customs officer asked her each individual question and made sure she understood them. When it became my turn I walked up and made a bad joke (the agent next to my agent knew me and laughed) and the customs agent smiled weakly at me asked me how long I was gone and made sure I was in the “search this douche” line. Yay me.
And for those of you who like to smoke that wacky stuff that makes you hungry, remember to leave your paraphernalia at home when crossing the borders of other countries. Coming back from England, once I made the mistake of grabbing a couple lighters my hash smoking roomie left behind. I put one in each bag, an old army trick so that if stranded or whatever you always have a lighter. Now, anyone who knows me knows I don’t/can’t smoke anything. I just about die when it’s second hand. So when I went through customs in Canada on my way back and the agent was persistently asking me if I smoked I wondered what was up. Apparently hash pipes need to be “tamped down” and you can use the butt end of a lighter to accomplish this. So each of the three lighters I had with me each had little circles of hash in the bottom and the agent was having a really hard time believing my innocence. Thankfully he finally did and I made it home safe and sound. But man was I sweating bullets. Thanks again, bro.
Now for those of you who are indy guys or just travelers in general, here are some tips to ensure a couple of problems don’t ruin your trip.
When you are doing a long drive — ie: everything over three or four hours — here are a couple things you can do to make your trip more bearable. First, bring a pillow. I used to bring a pillow with me on every road trip. At first some of the boys (if they had never ridden with me before) would laugh and try to rib me about my pillow. But guaranteed three or four hours later they would ask if I wasn’t using it to use it and get some sleep. LOL. The answer was always no. But then next trip or when ever I would see them next four out of five times they would have their own travel pillow.
Second, always have a snack or some kind of extra food in your bag. If you are in any way trying to become a professional wrestler, you should already be carrying some form of protein in your bags (bar, shake, whatever) but a granola or oatmeal bar can fill a carb craving like no protein can when you are a couple hours away from anything. Plus it’s always good to have a little something to hand a guy like Bobby Roode to ensure he doesn’t become so hungry you start to look like a light snack.
Third, always have a book, magazine, crossword, sudoku, or some form of entertainment that doesn’t require batteries or plug-ins. There will be times when, say on airplanes or in cars, where there is no power or use of electronics. Then it is you who will not be sitting bored and going stir crazy for hours on end.
These are a few of the tips and tricks learned through long hours on the road. There are many more but after these last few travel days I thought these needed to be addressed. I am sure you all know some others and can send any suggestions to me and I will try to do another of these with some more on another column.
In the mean time and in between time, that’s it. Another edition of Devine Intervention.