I know, it seems like I’ve been leaving for weeks, right? You have no idea how I can work myself up about packing the suitcase, seizing the right moment to buy foreign cash, instructions to leave for interim plant watering volunteers and mail collectors, the slew of emergency numbers-addresses-information-itinerary to disperse to anyone mildly interested.
My buddy The Educated Genealogist and I are of like minds when it comes to travel, especially conference attending. We understand the importance of shoe selection. Colour coordination is everything. Each top has a bottom to go with it. Accessories need infinite consideration. Many bits from the grooming collection must have those zip-lock baggies. All that. It’s advisable to take rest breaks between planning each outfit.
Excellence in suitcase packing is surely a sign of the mature traveller. T-shirts with writing on them are so not cool. For a slice of summertime wardrobe wisdom while away from home, see this delicious photo of senior activists, taken by Marq Frerichs at the recent G20 demonstrations. It appeared in Torontoist’s “Boulevardier” section of their Style Notebook.
Mais je digresse. I stare at the suitcase. No apron there yet. The Reeboks went into the suitcase three times, removed for the third time. Packing principle: Heavy, bulky, clumsy, is to wear airborne, not to pack. Sometimes packing principles interfere with style principles. How glam do I look departing from broiling sauna weather in shoes the size of bricks and my heavy, all-purpose winter sweater. I know, it’s not winter over there, but what about evenings north of the 56th parallel.
While I’m not going to a convention, some genealogy is involved. It behooves the profession to look competently put together. A couple of notches above flowered capris. Adding one item means removing another. The dress goes in, one top gets heaved. How many socks should I bring? I can wash them, can’t I? Get rid of the mousse. No, I need it. Where is the insect repellent? Do they wear sandals in the Hebrides?
You can tell that weather has a role in packing. Personally, I am deeply disappointed that The Weather Channel and The Weather Network and Yahoo Weather are unsynchronized and indecisive regarding forecasts and averages. If averages mean anything any more what with climate change. Do I really need the sweltering rain jacket that doesn’t breathe? Ditch that; replace with lightweight folding umbrella.
Don’t forget the gifts. Those little guest soaps cunningly shaped like maple leaves. Uh-oh. What if someone with no English (and my sign-language skills are deficient) tries to eat them? Rush back to the shop and substitute maple sugar candy. Safer.
Staring at the suitcase again. A weight allowance of 23 kg is a challenge when you have books, family history, maps, manuals, and masses of notes. Why do the cords and plugs necessary for electronic sustenance weigh pounds apiece? Find the adaptor. Should I bring the vitamins? How many earrings are enough? Which hat is crushable?
Notice I didn’t mention the Carry-On. Worthy of its very own blog post, but time runneth short. The contents will be on my shoulder or my back for the duration with, of course, all that paper telling me what to do if I become dismembered or lose everything.✱ As long as it contains tranqs for a couple of looooong ferry crossings, I’m good. Assuming I get to meet the North Sea face to face. Don’t stint on the wine, dear flight attendant.
My inner child is screaming. Are we there yet?
✱ Trust me, I am not sending panic emails from Europe asking you for money :-D