The packing list

I’m leaving home in 26 days. I’m leaving the country in 28 days, in a crazy, dream-come-true kind of holiday. It’s not that I’m stressed, not really. I’m breathing okay, see? In. Out. In. Out. Where was I up to?

Oh yes. I’ve got nearly all the accommodation sorted, which is a big relief. I’m slowly going through and putting all the details into a spreadsheet that we can share with family and friends, and so we’ve got a record of all our addresses/contact phone numbers/flight times/etc in one place. Sixteen cities. Two months. Sheesh! I ordered USA sim cards for our phones today, and the extra travel bed we ordered a fortnight ago should be shipped soon. I’ve started packing.

It’s okay. It is. It really is.

The shoes bother me a little bit. I am a woman, yes, but I’m not a “shoe girl”. Or, at least, I never used to be. I used to wear my Doc Marten boots with everything, and that was fine. Trouble is, I grew up, and I no longer truly believe I can get away with Docs and an evening dress at a gala dinner – even if the dress is floor-length. So I’m traveling with strappy heels, summer walking shoes, winter walking shoes (may be snowing in the Canadian Rockies), looking-nice-because-I-need-to-look-a-little-dressed-up boots and my everyday regular wear-everywhere Docs.

Swimming gear. Thermal underwear. Parka. Sunscreen. Woolly socks. Warm hat. Sun hat. Did I mention swimming gear? Vegemite. Milo. Enough underwear to survive ten days in the Canadian Rockies possibly without a washing machine. Possibly in the snow.

Remind me again why I’m driving through the Canadian Rockies with a floor-length evening gown and strappy heels?

Not that I’m stressed. Not really. Not that it bothers ME that I’ve been so busy that I haven’t done any laundry all weekend, nosireeeeee. Oh no. Clean socks are completely overrated.

I think I need to go buy a tumble drier today. I’m sorry environmentalists: I’ve tried, and I’ve failed. I wonder if I can buy a portable one that fits in my suitcase?

I wonder if I can buy one that washes and dries my Doc Martens?

So tell me friends, seasoned travelers, any great tips on what to pack, what not to pack, what to buy? I’m trying to keep it down to one suitcase, but I am allowed to take two. Thermal-lined formal-wear with detachable hood, perhaps? 

Packing

If you’ve been reading this for any length or time, or if you are at all familiar with what’s happening in my world, you may just be aware that I’m heading off on a Grand Adventure in (oh MY) seven days’ time, on my first ever overseas trip, to the USA. I’m packing. It feels wrong. I’m reminded of all the times we went on family holidays to Melbourne when I was a little kid, and I wasn’t allowed to wear half my clothes for about two weeks leading up to the trip, because I might need them in Melbourne.

I used to laugh. We have a washing machine, and it does things pretty much all by itself. It’s not on a roster, we can use it any day of the week!

I’m a grown-up now, and have been for a number of years, and have been on countless grown-up trips to Melbourne, where I’ve casually thrown a few choice pieces of clothes into a small suitcase the night before. No big deal. Sometimes I’d go with just carry-on.

Oh the rebellion. Oh the freedom!

But now I’m packing.

One week to go, and already I’ve decided that there’s enough to think about without wondering whether my favourite jeans are clean, or whether that red top I like so much will be dry in time. I just don’t care. I’m packing. It feels wrong. But then again it felt wrong four weeks ago when I baked two cakes, a zucchini loaf, pumpkin slice and Anzac bikkies and froze them all (oh okay, we ate the Anzacs already) in individually-wrapped portions for the children’s lunch boxes while I’m away. Doesn’t feel so silly now. Now I’m glad they’re there.

Now I’ll happily wear the same top and the same trousers for the next few days, because I like them. And because the weather is warm chances are I’ll wash them tomorrow, and wear them again for a few days after that as well.

Here’s the irony though: I like this top. I like these trousers. They’re comfortable, they’re flattering, they’re very Me. Chances are I’ll wash them the day before I go and wear them on the plane. Chances are I’ll wear them for quite a lot of the time I’m over there. Chances are that all the rest of these things that I MUST have clean because I MUST take with me will spend quite a lot of their first overseas holiday staring at the inside of my suitcase. It’s happened before. I’ve lugged all kinds of things around the country and never worn them.

And I wouldn’t change a thing.

How about you? Are you an over-packer? An under-packer? A last-minuter? A don’t-wear-it-for-a-month-just-to-keep-it-clean-er? Got any great packing tips for me? I’d love to hear.