I’m off on another trip tomorrow. Second of the year, and this time for nearly a week. Which is good. I spent far too long not going anywhere. But my gosh, why can I still not manage to pack my bags without sending myself into a tizzy?
I had for a while got quite good at limiting myself to carry-on luggage – learning to travel with my essentials in one small canvas shoulder bag, including my camera, notebooks and the minimum essential toiletries (though one becomes a dab hand at throwing away discount shower gels and shampoos after a while). But lately I’ve started travelling with a suitcase again, a luxury that allows me proper changes of clothes, spare shoes, multiple jackets, abundant underwear (trust me, there’s no such thing as too much underwear on a trip). And room for souvenirs.
But no matter what size the bag, or how much notice I have, I guarantee I’ll be up into the small hours slowly packing, repacking and rethinking and stressing about being over-tired and missing my travel plans the following day. If I get two hours in bed I’ll be doing well. I can’t be the only one like this surely?
A couple of months ago I watched a friend prepare her case for a trip. Jet-setting around Europe, she’s somehow become a dab hand at cramming her case with essentials for each leg of the trip, and discarding anything that didn’t fit. Oh, to be so ruthless. But I’m a natural hoarder too, so not doing that is hard.
I’ve most of my clothes packed as of last night, which is good. But there’s final decisions to be made. My case lies open on a bed. The possible contents strewn over the side. At 2am tonight I’ll still be stressing over it, and wondering why I’m not already in bed, and worried about missing my 4am alarms and my flight. Every. Single. Time.
But this is the moment before the trip springs into life. When the tension is high and potential adventure awaits. Its the moment of excitement building, the transition from the everyday to the voyage. Once the bag is zipped, the suitcase locked, then the journey finally begins.