Graphic by Rachel Yoon / North by Northwestern

“If you walk out the glass doors, walk straight and make a right and your room will be a straight shot to the end.”

As I bid goodnight to my teammates in the lobby and amble into the courtyard, I am pleasantly surprised (but happy to be welcomed) by the brisk Phoenix air. The DoubleTree reminds me of the Santa Barbara Motel 6 we left earlier that morning, where all the rooms were accessed from the courtyard or the balcony for the upper floors. The towering tropical trees are decorated with other various shrubs and cactuses around the base. On my way through the courtyard, I pass the pool and hot tub emitting blue light. Too bad my swimsuit is en route to Chicago.

133. 134. Room 135.


As I push open the door, I let out a little gasp.

There is a living room with a TV stand across from a couch. A little kitchen table and workspace is situated further beyond. I have my own personal bathroom and king-sized bed to myself.  

I chuckle to myself when I think about my teammates who are taking red eyes from San Diego, Dallas or Charleston. My flight back to Chicago isn’t until 11 the next morning. At this point, I’ve already accepted that I will miss my work shift and class, and I will pretend that this was a long weekend.

The only clothing I’m wearing is my Dick’s shorts layered by my sweatpants, my sweat and sunscreen-covered sports bra and pinny and my long-sleeve jersey with “Northwestern 0” on the back. After showering, I gingerly put my clothing back on and venture out to the front desk to get a toothbrush and toothpaste. Luckily, my $12 food voucher from American Airlines covers the cost of buying floss and a comb. Without my glasses, I put my contacts into a small water cup, drop some eye drops, and put my dailies in the homemade solution.  

As someone who takes forever to get ready for bed with all my facial and dental hygiene procedures, I feel naked going to bed without my retainers. Yet I can’t help but realize that traveling lightly makes one’s life so much simpler.

For the next frisbee tournament, now I know I can travel lightly. Although I hope next time I come to Phoenix, it’s not because American Airlines put me on connecting flights I couldn’t physically catch.