I’m not particularly big on travelling. I do love going far away, the farther the better. But the act of travelling itself is not something I enjoy. Driving is ok, but I admit flying makes me nervous. This does not prevent me from boarding the plane though. I’m afraid of turbulence. Not long ago I got so sick that I spent two hours squeezed between my fellow passengers, with my head deep in the barf bag the airlines kindly make available to their customers (in hopes they wouldn’t be used). The other two passengers blissfully ignored me, immersed in films, with earbuds deep in their ears. Only the flight attendants occasionally asked me if I was ok, looking genuinely concerned. I’m fine, no worries, I just enjoy vomiting during the flight, thanks for asking.
Since then, I haven’t had anything to eat or drink on board. As soon as I find my seat, I try hard to fall asleep immediately. I wish to remain completely unaware of anything until the captain announces the descent. Of course, the flight attendants keep waking me (Tea? Coffee? Water? A perfume, maybe?) because they don’t seem to understand that some passengers only wish to reach their destination without having the actual travel experience.
Conventional wisdom has it that the more often you travel, the better you become at packing. Not true for me. Once I managed a five-day trip with only cabin luggage. I still remember that with pride, hoping that a similar feat is on the horizon.
Only one thing bothers me even more than flying. It’s packing.
I’m not very good at packing light. I need or may need everything.
It may sound incredible, but I carry a 30kg suitcase for just ten days. In reality, I don’t need half of the stuff in there, and don’t get to wear two thirds of the wardrobe I pack.
Let me give
you an example of my packing mastery.
We are talking about a business trip here. I won’t even touch upon vacation because the situation becomes so dramatic that I’d better not even plan it, ever. If I drive to the seaside, I tend to fill the trunk and regret not having bought a roof top bag to carry everything I might ever need.
So, here it goes…
Seven days ahead of the departure, I take out half of the closet, just to check what’s there and what remains to be bought, what I can wear and what I should leave at home until I lose a few pounds (almost there, word of honour). I usually find some forgotten clothes and take the opportunity to give some away and throw the rest.
Then I have to check the weather forecast. Will it be sunny, rainy, windy, hot or cold, or both?
My clothes lie piled up on the couch in my living room. The piles are mentally marked as “absolutely necessary”, “likely”, “not a chance”. The third pile remains there until the very end of the process, just in case the weather changes or I manage to lose some weight (after a 3-day fast, for example).
There are also piles of footwear. I need something comfortable, of course. Something classical. Something black, something brown. But who at the right mind would carry three pairs of shoes for a 10-day trip? I would. Did I say three? Ok, four.
Now the handbags. I definitely need at least a tiny one, for cash and cell phone. Fine, but which colour? I need one that would match everything. But there is no such thing. Right, so I need a few handbags, small ones, of course. But then, a bigger bag would be more practical. Ok, one bigger and two small ones. I can just put the small ones into the big one. Solved!
Makeup bag. A liquid powder, concealer, mascara, lipsticks… A small correction, two powders, you never know. A few lipsticks. A girl is a girl, after all.
When it comes to cosmetics, it goes without saying. No, I’m not going to the desert, and I can buy what I need anywhere. But still…
Hair dryer. There is one in the hotel bathroom? Well, in my experience, hotel hair dryers are usually just hand fans, practically useless. Besides, I’ll most definitely need my favourite hair curler. I must look presentable. Formal, but reflecting some effort to improve my looks. I represent my company, not myself? Ok, all right. I’m packing both the hair dryer and the styler.
Meds. No, I’m not ill. But you never know. I might need ibuprofen, effervescent aspirin, antibiotics (a few kinds). I’m not going to the wilderness and surely there are good doctors where I’m headed, and I have a travel insurance policy. But again… you never know. Five packages of antibiotics, thanks to my friend, a doctor.
Tights. Loads of tights. They have this ugly habit to exhibit a huge run down the leg when you most need them and replacement is not within reach. Ok, I’ll pack ten, they don’t take up too much space.
As the departure nears, the piles become smaller, although some pieces of clothing may change sides occasionally. If it turns out the weather would be cold, the pile with short sleeves shortens, and the one with big sleeves grows. But short sleeves are kept on their toes until the very last moment.
To sum up, for a ten-day trip (including two days travelling) I have packed: four pairs of trousers, three shirts, seven long-sleeved blouses, three T-shirts, three pairs of shoes and… I’ll spare you the details about my underwear.
Now the cabin luggage. Yeah, you’ve heard right. What do I need it for? Well, for one, I’m entitled to it. That is a good enough reason. Secondly, I carry electronic devices and photo equipment in the rucksack.
Ok, so: one computer, one tablet, one Kindle e-reader. What for? Well, I have it! When am I going to use it? I’ve also put three books in the suitcase. Why three? I couldn’t decide which one I would like to read. Between us, I usually don’t open a single one. But, if I leave them at home, I’ll probably need them.
Let’s move on: a GoPro, a 360-degree camera. Yeah, I have that, too. I’m crazy about new technologies. A camera, three, no four lenses. Ok, five, I might need all of them. Three selfie sticks. Why three? Well, one for the cell phone, one for GoPro, one for the 360-degree camera. In fact, I’ll bring 4 selfie sticks. I have two for GoPro.
I’m bringing the packing to an end. The rucksack weighs a ton. I hope I won’t have to check it in. I confidently approach the safety check. I have to take everything out before the x-rays. Every single thing. People roll their eyes. They don’t understand I need all those things.
So, that’s it. The same routine repeats every time and every time I hope the next time will be better. But it gets worse.
I almost forgot. The luggage weight restriction is 23kg. But my excesses are always tolerated. The airport staff must be eager to get rid of the crazy woman who simply refuses to travel light.