Anyone that ever says to just “pack light” for a big trip is obviously not interested in any kind of long, drawn out conversation about your forthcoming vacation. They know, of course, that it will lead to a myriad of highly unlikely, what-if scenarios and their ear being talked off. The problem with my pending departure to Mexico, unlike my previous escapades, is that I don’t know exactly what jobs I will have yet. It is difficult to pack everything from a tacky Hawaiian shirt I would wear if I were working as a hula coordinator in a Polynesian hotel, to bringing an apron and a skillet if I am going to work at Pablo’s Krab Shack. I just don’t know. So I will probably end up packing everything. The other really difficult thing about packing for long-term travel is the seasonal changes. A couple years ago in Eastern Europe, I froze my balls off because I only had summer and fall clothes. I was forced to wear my entire bag daily, resulting in a loss of my cat-like agility. Maybe I should have picked a better backpack?
Yet packing remains the one unavoidable chore that accompanies any trip. It doesn’t seem to matter if it is a year long around the world trip with 4 different climate zones, or a romantic getaway weekend with your love bunnie. Packing, in its purest form, usually involves giving a time out to the logical mouse who runs the cage in your noggin, and letting his irrational, mildly-retarded cousin turn the task of throwing a couple of pieces of underwear and a few shirts in your bag into the biggest chore of the century. Brain surgery often requires less debate. Invading another country involves less planning. For me, the real trouble begins when the fantasy scenarios start to play out in my mind – that is why I usually rely on Land of the Traveler to help me sort it out.
They usually involve me in the Mediterranean on the top-deck of a yacht, sipping high balls with some new wealthy, and influential friends who decided to invite me along because I am such a ” wonderful conversationalist” and addition to the party. Their poor friend Olga who has recently broke off her engagement could use the company. Of course this affair would require that I pack some nice penny loafer boat shoes, so that I could maintain a firm footing on the deck, while at the same time upholding the class and refinement of the moment.
But then there are other scenarios. Like meeting a beautiful single girl and wooing her with my Italian skills. Maybe her parents own a cattle ranch and winery in Argentina. How could I possibly not bring a pair of leather cowboy boots for our dusk riding sessions across the ranch?
What about that jaunty hat, goggles, and scarf I would need for a ride in the English countryside in a classic MG that would somehow be bestowed upon me? Or maybe I might need a full business suit with 6 different ties and 4 shirts of different shades of white, because you never know when a business deal with a wealthy, Colombian farmer might arise.
So what’s the solution to these packing woes? How does one combat these internal quarrels and fits of irrationality and pack the essentials for a vaction? Easy.
I just wait to start packing an hour before my flight.