So this weekend's 3-Way must be:
What is your packing scenario?
I'm leaving on a jet plane in a couple of days, and it occurs to me that it is probably well past time to start thinking about packing. For me, packing is not just a chore; it’s an adventure that requires strategic inspiration and many, many lists. My strategy is to cover my bed with the clothes I’ll bring, trying to lay out outfits that will work for the purpose of each day. Then I will select my luggage, which, unlike Beth, means foraging a trip to the pit of despair, aka the garage. I’ll get the clothes in there, but inevitably discover that at least half of what I want to bring is in the hamper. So, I'll start some laundry, and try really hard to leave space in the suitcase for that stuff. Meanwhile, I’m working on undies and shoes and toiletries and accessories and books and electronics and lots and lots of whatnot. By the time the laundry is finished, I usually need a bigger suitcase. Now that I can’t see my outfit piles, I start to doubt myself, and begin throwing odd bits and pieces of generally unseasonable clothing into the now overburdened giant suitcase. It’s a total crapshoot whether or not I will be able to piece together a marginally normal ensemble on any given day of my trip.
I’m usually pretty good about the carry on, it’s so much better to travel light. I just need a couple of books, the laptop, and snacks. I’ll buy water in the terminal and I’m good to go.
This all sounds like a perfectly reasonable and doable, albeit taxing chore to tackle over the next 48 hours. But what I neglected to mention thus far is the veritable kiss of death. My kids are coming with me, and the last time I tried to let them pack for themselves, my girl brought about 12 pair of pants and not a single shirt. Help!
What a crack-up, Jacquie. Didn't your girl also forget undies and your boy forget shoes?
Here's the deal with me and packing. For years I used to travel all over, for work, and I had it down. I could go on a 2 week trip, to Europe or Asia, and get away with one wheelie-cart, usually carry-on. A few interchangeable business/casual numbers, a few pairs of shoes, a pair of sneakers, a swimsuit, book and my dob kit in my backpack. Those were in the days before 9/11, when it was all so much easier than.
Or so I hear. As I've mentioned, I've not been on an airplane since January 2001, so I am a stranger to the new world of mean air travel.
But, Mistah and I did travel around the country for 7-1/2 years in a Westy (I just changed "have been traveling" to "did travel". Sigh), and packing for that we had down to a science. Actually, science sounds too formal and rigid. We had it down to a creatively scientific art. Just ask anyone who's camped with us over those years. We had everything, and lacked for nothing.
Of course, when you travel with an electric coffee maker and lots of shoes and several chairs and a wok and spare coolers and a canopy and tons of books and booze and a grill and, during some of those years, an extra refrigerator, when, in other words, you travel heavy, your Westy can sometimes look like this:
I consider myself an accomplished packer, even though I don't travel nearly as much as I used to. In fact, an ex-boyfriend's father once called me the most accomplished packer he'd ever met. That trip I had one tiny fabric backpack for a week of sailing in the Caribbean, and even came up with an extra outfit for my boyfriend's sister on New Year's Eve.
Kids, of course, change this one-tiny-bag deal quite a bit. Their clothes are small, and I've always been able to fit all of our clothing in a single (checked) bag, but there so needy ON the plane. They need so much gear for the ride itself. They need lots of snacks, especially since the airlines stopped giving out ANY food during the flight, and some of it better be of the treat variety. Because of the myriad treats, I always feel compelled to add fruit and nuts and some semblance of other healthy food stuffs, so the food backpack gets to be quite a load.
They also need activities, which in our family means all matter of work books and sticker books and coloring books and regular books, and sometimes homework, and movies. Yes, movies. They are imperative and make my travel almost bearable, but it requires both a portable DVD player and movies. And all of this stuff needs to be schleped (sp?) by someone. Luckily my kids are getting older and this last trip my oldest's carry on backpack was as heavy as mine.
I can hardly wait for my second pack mule to come of age....