I Am Packing, Therefore I Am. Packed, That Is
Packing for a trip. Who doesn’t love it? I’m sure there are plenty of people who hate it, but those people take the miracle of flight and the freedom of travel for granted because they’ve been thrown off too many overcrowded flights and stuck in too many traffic jams. They are irredeemably cynical and jaded. I weep for them.
(Not really; I’m very happy if they stay home and leave me their seat. I have airline retiree discounts, and I fly really cheap. As cheap as seats are now, so I may as well buy a ticket and travel like a ‘real’ person.)
At any rate, those jaded cynics don’t deserve to get on an airplane or in a comfy SUV, and they certainly don’t deserve to go to Rome or Paris.
I used to fly stand by all the time, because I flew for Pan Am. I even took my mom to England on a trip and we went stand by. We were upgraded to first class on the way over, and were fed caviar, Chateaubriand, strawberries and chocolate. It was wonderful.
On the way back, we had to fly economy. My mother swore off flying forever after that, unless, as she said, “I can go first class.” Well, excuuuuse me. I don’t blame her. I’ve flown economy on United, and being a sardine in a can doesn’t even begin to describe it. Do sardines have their breasts pushed up into their noses by their elbows?
When we drove to the airport to leave for England on Pan Am’s Round the World Flight, we left a mere hour before flight time. The flight was delayed, so we drove the 40 miles back home, and retrieved something important; it might have been our passports. Sigh. We were so much more cavalier then. It was nice.
If I’m invited somewhere on a visit, or we’re planning a road trip, I start packing because I’m excited.
I was going to drive to Tucson in March to meet my best friend when she planned to be there for three days, and I started packing as soon as she invited me. Which was in January. This method of planning and packing means I’ll be searching frantically for my favorite top sometime during the intervening two and half months, which is packed in a suitcase. Who’d think to look for it there?
I will have looked in the washing machine, under the bed, in the back of the closet, in the dryer, in the giveaway box, and will be forced to conclude that someone stole it. But who? Who could have taken my favorite top?
As soon as I hung up the phone after she invited me to Tucson, I made reservations in a motel near her fancy and too-expensive digs, looked up things to do in Tucson, packed a suitcase, and made a list. All before the email confirmation came from the motel. Okay, I wasn’t that fast, but I did it all before I checked my email for the confirmation.
I love condensing life down to its essentials. You wouldn’t take your pressure cooker on a trip, unless you were going off in an RV for three months. You most certainly should not pack it in a suitcase for a two week trip to Europe.
What you pack for a week long trip is Life Condensed. Add a can of water and three minutes in the microwave and you’re all set.
Packing for a trip, even a day trip, is a challenge. It’s survival mode. Who wants to buy a new anything of what you’ve got six of at home? You want to save the funds for the really important stuff- souvenirs, maybe. A show, or a fancy restaurant. Gasoline.
Whatever you forget that you need loses you points in the Game of Life.
Don’t forget your glasses, your contacts, your hot curlers, your favorite eye cream, extra underwear, that little black dress that looks great over leggings, those perfect little heels you haven’t worn in a year, but you’re sure you’ll need when you’re in Paris, chargers for your phone and your laptop, your vitamins, and your toothbrush.
You’d better need that little black dress in Paris, or somebody’s gonna hear about it.
The more you pack and the more you think about what you’ll be doing and where you’ll be going, and what the weather will be like, the longer your To Go list gets. If you can pack one regular size duffle bag or suitcase, and one carry on for a two month freighter cruise, you win.
You win peace of mind and unforgettable freedom, even though you know you forgot something vital. Like your neighbor’s phone number. And to turn off the burner.
19 thoughts on “I Am Packing, Therefore I Am. Packed, That Is”
Where are you heading off to? You didn’t say.
I notice you have books, an alarm clock, and a camera. These have all been compressed into our iPhone now. But not the kitten.
I agree with your mother. Life is too short to fly coach. We made that decision last year after our 24-hours-in-the-air trip to Bali. So when we went to Europe this spring, we gritted our teeth and upgraded to Business Class $$$$. On KLM–wonderful! We’re hooked. If you’re going to spend that much on a trip, why skimp on air travel?
My brother is Air Force Ret., so he gets to fly wherever the Air Force goes, which is a lot of places. So he’s like you. I’m not. We pay retail, alas. But we pay for legroom and butt room.
Re: packing. We pack as much for a weekend trip as for a five-week trip. For our Europe trip we didn’t even use our entire luggage allowance. Not even on the way home, with our extra crappola.
I’m not going anywhere, Mike. I wish I was. One of the best parts of traveling is packing. It embodies anticipation. I’m sure men don’t feel the same way.
You guys were smart. My dad was a retired USAF major so that’s how we came home from Australia. Via Pago Pago and military flights.
You’re also lighter packers.
Gigi, this was such a delightful post bringing back some wonderful memories especially our less than well planned honeymoon. Ordinarily, Bernie (HI- Her Indoors) is meticulous in planning anything, she is the original “list of lists” girl. We got married in 79 in Northern Ireland, popped 30 miles over the border to the Republic of Ireland for the reception. Blunder number 1- as they say in Ireland between the jigs and the reels we forgot my mother and her sister. They were not pleased. We were oblivious.
After the reception we were to drive, in our canary yellow car smothered in deep red lipstick messages, to the Europa Hotel in Belfast. Note this is the most bombed hotel in the world. Not a good idea especially with two catholuc looking names plastered all over the car. Well anyhoo, we also forgot our passports and cash our plane tickets to London ou
r plane tickets to Italy. We did not panic we just rang Bernies Mum and she put them all in an envelope and gave them to the driver of the next bus to Belfast and we picked them up 3 hours later. Gigi, you said you enjoyed being cavelier back then and I agree. I think we were naively cavalier.
I won’t say what happened two nights later in Heathrow airport waiting fir for our honeymoon flight. You’ve heard enough of our unplannedness.
Thanks Gigi for triggering some haooy memories. What car were we driving? A Vauxhall Cavalier, of course.
A Vauxhall Cavalier? I’ll look for a picture of that, John. I love the name! Perfect! It sounds wonderful, and yep. The 80s and 90s were probably the final decades when we could be cavalier. And forgetting Mom and Sis? Oy vay. I can only guess what happened in the airport. Oh, my. Good thing surveillance cameras weren’t everywhere back then. Snort.
Thanks, John. This was a wonderful story!
Isn’t this the truth!! Tch. Haha
I almost don’t like going anywhere these days when I know I have to pack. Such a drag. And the airport, a whole other story on it’s own… you would know!
Thanks for the hilerious read, Gigi! xx
Tch! I missed your Tches! I love to pack, it’s riding in economy and getting through today’s airports that’s so difficult. Thanks, Mickey!
AAHHH My Love! You even make packing seem like a Fun Adventure.
I Love your energy and drive.
I swear to you here and now, with all your followers and Friends to witness,
That I will take you on the trip of a Lifetime to all the places you want to see and want to see again. This I swear. All that is required of you is to be able to ride a bike through the glorious country side of all these countries we visit.
You have a deal, MOTH! I want you to see these places, too. You deserve it. You’ve worked hard your entire life, and now it’s time for you to have fun and relax. I know you won’t for long- you’ll work on some invention or other. But for awhile, for a few months of every year… Love and kisses!
Gigi, my eyesight! I did mean to say catholic, cavalier, for and happy. Under the circumstances though, I think haooy could be said to be Freudian slip.
I didn’t have trouble understanding any of it, John. That’s a comment on my own failing eyesight, by the way. No worries, my friend!
John! Your story reminded me of Two For the Road! Remember that movie? Just saw it recently.
Back in 2003, USA, I took a plane from the MidWest to California. Back then I was a Democrat, little did I know. However, I packed one large backpack. I did not need more luggage and I was trying to travel economy.
Needless to say, on the way home the stewardess was a bit apprehensive. I think, really, that an air Marshal was sitting next to me on the way back. Maybe not.
She was hot and that is the important part. I did try to get her involved in a conversation but apparently travelling with a large backpack is not chick pickup material.
I need to fly more often. Or take a train. Something.
I’m not sure what being a Democrat has to do with flying, J, but I’ll take your word for it. Snort. The flight attendant was probably a Democrat, but the Air Marshal was Republican.
More likely, she was married or otherwise engaged. I see nothing wrong with Men With Backpacks. They might be hikers. I would love to take a train around the US. But take it in style, like the Orient Express. Thanks for reading, J! So happy to hear from you.
I flew to Brazil with one suitcase for me and one for hubs, for a three month trip. Of course, I was 20 and in the summer in Rio you don’t need very many clothes!
But, Navy brat here. Learned how to pack from Dad. Best list maker in the known universe. He would have loved your grid!
Are you serious, Mary? I don’t think I could have done that. One suitcase for three months, although you’re right. You don’t need many clothes at any time in Brazil. We went to see Ooba Ooba (I think it was) in LA. Those ladies just wore their tiny bikinis the whole show. You’re Navy? I’m Air Force brat!
Love you Gigi!! Tch, Tch!!
Mickey! I was just thinking about you! Love you too, girlfriend!
PS I will pack to come see you! Even getting through the airports. Tch. Haha!
Mickey, I saw the cutest trailer yesterday. It was a little 50s style blue and white pulled by a smallish car. It had a little solar panel outside. It belonged to a single older lady out camping alone. It was so cute, it made me want to buy one, and just run off for a week or two. You should get one of those. The hell with TSA!