Packing for travel has got to be one of the most frustrating things to do. Years ago, we spent three weeks in Italy, which was a trip of a lifetime, but the weeks leading up to the trip were stressful, knowing I had to pack.
On a normal day, I look through my dresser and closets full of clothes and complain that I have ‘nothing to wear’, which clearly is not the case, considering they are full. I put on an outfit that I felt great in three weeks ago, and suddenly I am not feeling it. Did everyone actually let me leave the house wearing this? What were they thinking? What was I thinking? Two or three clothing changes before I walk out the door would be a fairly typical day and you can always gauge what kind of mood I left the house in by the size of the pile of clean clothes on the bed. The bigger the pile, the wider the path you should consider giving me. How can a person have full closets and nothing to wear?!
Then it comes time to pack for a trip, and suddenly, I have to know what I want to wear next Tuesday? And the Tuesday after THAT? How is that even possible? I changed my mind three times about the shoes I have on today, and that was just to go running. It’s not just what to wear, but the endless possibilities of the types of clothes that are needed. Are we beaching it? Do I need work clothes, church clothes, going out clothes, casual clothes, workout clothes?
Gentlemen, make no mistake, these are all different clothing categories in my mind. Chances are great that the longer a trip is, the more categories of clothing will be required and each category is going to require it’s own type of shoe; Boots, heels, wedges, flats, sandles, flip flops, tennis shoes. Within each category, there are sub-categories; ankle boots, tall boots, heeled boots, flat boots, running shoes, walking shoes, weightlifting shoes, etc. And then there are color choices. I need to go through this same selection process with shoes, jewelry, hand bags, jackets, sunglasses and belts, never mind what gets worn underneath. Seriously. It is a burden.
The only thing that makes me feel a little bit better is if I pack a few spare choices into my bags, but have you tried to get three weeks of clothing, toiletries, make-up and shoes plus a blow dryer & flat iron into ONE bag? One bag that weighs less than 50 pounds? Or dealt with crap from your own DNA because you packed seven pair of shoes for a weekend college visit? Note: I wore all but one pair, take that!
Some people pride themselves on packing light, and more power to you if that’s you. I just like choices- and to wear clean clothes every day. Plus, who really wants to be wearing the same shirt every day in your pictures? Your Facebook friends would totally know you only brought one shirt. It’s just that bringing all the extra crap means that you have to deal with a couple of things.
1. Your kids will never let you hear the end of it about how many shoes you’ve packed- even if they will be borrowing some
2. Your husband will look at you, your bags and you again and then raise an eyebrow and leave the room saying, “Good luck carrying all of that.”
3. You will single handedly have to figure out how to get two bags, a carry-on, a personal item and your neck pillow out to the car before everyone else, because if it’s a tight fit, you don’t want your bag to be the one that won’t fit or left behind. This is also the perfect time to practice carrying all of that stuff at one time though, because once you’ve reached your destination, no one that you’ve traveled with is going to volunteer to lighten your load, after all, natural consequences… aren’t YOU the one who was so adamant about teaching natural consequences?
4. Upon arrival at the airport, you will be charged $25 for your first bag and even more for your second, because if you insist on looking good, you are certainly going to pay for it.
5. God forbid one of your bags weighs over 50lbs. You tried to avoid this by putting it on your scale at home but it kept sliding off, so you finally had to get on the scale holding your bag and then get on the scale without your bag and do a fricking algebra problem to figure out if it’s going to make the weight limit. If in fact the check-in crew find your bag to be in violation, you have two choices, pay through the nose, or take some things out and try to shove them in your carry-on or someone elses bag. Neither of which your family will appreciate. No one wants your underwear in their bag.
I’ve actually tried to embrace minimal packing, giving myself no choices, just necessities. I feel great about getting it down to one bag and I’m all show-off-y about it. These are the trips where I arrive at my destination only to realize that I actually forgot my panties. Really. It has happened. More than once… Which does nothing to reinforce a girl’s light packing habits.
I have been on enough trips with myself to know that I do end up over-packing most of the time and I do think about how much easier it would be if I packed lighter. Lugging around all that baggage is expensive, awkward and can cause you to need your chiropractor.
As I have gotten older, I have realized that it is also not necessary to carry around all of the baggage of the past. There are occasionally times that I need to shuffle through it, but for the most part, the crap in there is out of date and doesn’t fit me anymore. Carrying it around all the time can be expensive and awkward. When you decide to quit taking it everywhere with you, you can focus on the stuff that is really important. The stuff that DOES fit. Just one word of advice though, don’t forget your panties!
“Many of us are one job behind who God’s turned us into.” ~Bob Goff