When you are gathering your things to go run errands or spend a day sightseeing at museums or travel to another country, what kind of packer are you?
Do you toss a toothbrush in your pocket and call it good, as you head out the door for three weeks of backpacking in Guatemala?
Or do you carefully inventory the contents of your purse to be certain you have lip balm AND gum AND tissues AND a pen AND an emergency back-up pen AND bandaids AND ibuprofen for a headache that probably won’t happen AND Benadryl in case your child is stung by a bee (but your child won’t even be with you) AND a sweater in case it’s chilly (but it’s July 17th and 98 degrees) AND … this is all just for a quick trip to the grocery store to buy a gallon of milk. And while you’re there, you’ll pick up baby wipes, even though you haven’t had a baby in your house in a decade, but hey, baby wipes are handy in some situations.
I call that “just in case” packing.
Guess which category I fall into?
I want to be a fast and light traveler, whether I’m headed to the store or I’m headed to Europe, but it never works out that way because I’m always aware of all the variables and then I start to anticipate all the possibilities and then I want to be prepared for them.
For example, I always have both bandaids and blister bandaids in my purse, just in case someone gets a boo boo or a blister. I can’t think of the last time someone needed first aid out of my purse, but I’m ready all the same.
And because we’ve had some experiences involving long flights and no food, I always cram a variety of granola bars, trail mix, chocolate, emergency back-up chocolate, and two whole chickens, and more into various nooks and crannies of my messenger bag, Pete’s backpack, and the girls’ bags. There will be no starvation on my watch.
And I’m always aware of the weather when I go out. For all day excursions, such as the field trip to DC, unless it’s going to be in the 90s, I’ll likely have a light jacket or a sweater or a pashmina (or some combination of all of the above), just in case I’m in an over-AC’d building or vehicle and I get chilly. I hate being hot and sweaty, but hoooooo boy do I hate being cold and unprepared. I’ve been on fabulous vacations that involved me needing to go buy a fleece pullover or a sweater simply because I didn’t pack enough layers.
All that said, the one thing I’ve managed to forget on not one, but TWO, trips to Washington DC this month alone is hand sanitizer. We here in Jenworld are a germ-phobic people and we hate touching things in public venues. Both of my girls learned to kick-flush toilets just as soon as they were tall enough to do so. And we all admire and appreciate fully-automatic bathrooms where there is no need to touch anything, except the door handle on the way out. And it’s always the door handle, much to our chagrin, but luckily we all know how to work around that one too.
(No need to remind us that germs can be our friends. We’ll see your story about healthy kids needing dirt and raise you three stories about bubonic plague.)
Pete and I have been talking about our trip (P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney) and trying to figure out how to pack. We are notorious overpackers and it always comes back to bite us in the ass at the worst possible time — hello two mile walk from the train station to our hotel room in Paris while dragging 700 pounds of luggage — so we’re trying to be better this time.
So even though I’m tempted to pack travel packets of Starbucks VIA coffee, I’m not going to because I’m confident that coffee can be found Down Under. And even though I do like to have plenty of snack options, I’m only packing enough for the flight over, because I feel certain I’ll be able to find a grocery store after we land. And even though there are so many other just in case situations we might encounter, I’m going to just chill out. Okay, I’m going to TRY to chill out. We’ll see how well I actually do next month when I’m packing.
What kind of packer are you?