No matter how tight the airlines want to squeeze us onto planes, no matter how long the TSA lines, no matter the expenses you’re sure to incur along the way, there is a way to travel well. To help you figure it out it, we’re asking people who do it for a living what they’ve learned along the way. This is Life on the Road, and for this installment, we talked to Tyler Lockett, wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks.
Thanks to their location in the uppermost corner of the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle Seahawks often travel more miles than any other team over the course of an NFL season. During the current season, the team will fly more than 27,484 miles — fourth-most — including five games that require more than 2,000 miles … one way.
It’s a reality fifth-year player Tyler Lockett, who’s been with the Seahawks since he was drafted in the third round out of Kansas State in 2015, is all too familiar with. So we decided to ask Lockett, who had a career-best 10 touchdowns last season and just released his first book of poetry, how he copes with traveling for road games and what he does to make sure he’s not sleepless when the team is on the road. And also — duh — his poetry.
Do you have a method for packing for away games?
“Not really. I kind of pack at the last minute. As long as I’ve got the clothes I know I’m going to wear for game day, then I know I’ve got everything I need. I went to Canada and created some cool little shirts, so I try to wear those to our games, especially away games, just to be able to have fun with it. I’m pretty basic. I bring what I need and if I need to get more, I’ll just go buy it. A lot of the stuff I need, the hotel already has it. So I just pack clothes and pack my spiral notebook so I’m able to write.”
What’s in your notebook? Do you use it when you’re watching game film?
“When it comes to my notebook, I’m more writing just thoughts to myself about life. When I’m watching film, I’m more the type of person that’s good at memorization, so I kind of see how a team plays and how the DBs play. Once I can understand that, it allows me to develop my own gameplan in my head based on how I’m going to attack them.”
What specific clothes do you travel in to be comfortable?
“I like wearing a hoodie and sweats just because I go to sleep on the plane and I want to be comfortable with being on the plane ride and the bus. I’m not really a fan of always wearing jeans on a plane, because I want to be able to move around and not feel restricted. And I like being cold on a plane, so even if the air is on, I want to make sure I have a hoodie rather than a shirt, because it feels more like a covering.”
Are there shoes you like to wear while you travel?
“For the most part, when I’m on the plane, I wear flip-flops. I like to go to sleep, and I can easily take those off and lie down. I’m kind of a basketball-type of person when it comes to being comfortable. They don’t really have to be as comfortable because I know I’m taking them off as soon as I get on the plane.”
Do you use any wellness products to help you sleep?
“Usually, I just have to lie down and just relax. If I’m not doing that, I’m just talking to my teammates or playing some of the games that are on the plane. I drink Vita Coco before games and during practice to help me stay hydrated. The electrolytes help prevent cramping, which is something all athletes have to consider. I have a full stock in my fridge at all times.”
Is there an item you always try to bring with you?
“I always try to make sure I bring headphones. Sometimes I forget them, but I’ll just ask the equipment staff if they have any extras. It varies. I have Beats, Bose … it just kind of depends. Sometimes Russell Wilson gives us whatever he can give us. Whatever’s free is what I have on my ears. But, other than that, I mean we get a per diem and we’ve got TVs on the plane. The only thing I wish I could bring was wifi, because we don’t have that on our plane.”
What do you usually use your per diem on?
“I usually just save it and use it toward groceries. Or if I want to go to a restaurant and eat. I save it for those types of things, because there’s nothing that I really have to spend it on. Depending on where we’re at, and how good a spot is that’s close to us, I’ll maybe use it on that.”
What’s you’re favorite kind of food to get on the road?
“It depends. When we’re at home, one of the things we usually do is eat Chick-fil-A. When we’re away, it just kind of depends. We have a rookie go get us food, so they’ll get us Popeyes or stuff like that. Once we get to the city where we’re playing, it’s just kind of whichever is more famous. We ended up getting the Popeyes chicken sandwich before it ran out. It was pretty good.”
How does it feel to have your first book of poetry, Reflection, out on bookshelves?
“I never thought I’d do a poetry book, to be honest. It really means a lot to me, because I found out that the best way to be able to help somebody is just to talk about yourself. If you share your own scars, they’ll listen more.”
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.