Packing is in full force here in Jenworld.
(P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney.)
And, as I knew it would be, it’s proving to be a challenge. Not a bad challenge necessarily; I’d say that it’s more of an interesting challenge.
Depending on where we are, we could see highs in the 50s, 60s, 70s, or even low 80s. We could see lows in the 30s, 40s, 50s, or 60s. We could see sun or rain. It could be humid or crisp.
In addition, we’ll have urban explorations, rural adventures, and some maritime jaunts too. We need athletic clothes, but also clothes that won’t look too schlumpy when we’re in cities or on airplanes.
We’ll be gone three weeks, but are taking only about seven days of clothes, since we’ll have access to laundry facilities. And for two adults and two middle schoolers, we’re taking only two medium sized suitcases for our clothes. That’s it. We want to pack as lightly as we can, because we’ve learned the hard way that to be overburdened with luggage sucks.
When preparing for a trip and thinking about what to pack, I tend to run the gamut of thoughts, dreams, ideas, fantasies, and realities. Also, I’m a kitchen sink packer, remember? Thus it is that I have recently run through nearly all the stages of grief when packing for a trip:
Stage 1: Starting a Pinterest board of your dream outfits and pinning all sorts of cute clothes that 1) you can’t afford and 2) wouldn’t look good on your Reubenesque body even if you did have the money to buy them. Of course I’m going to wear skinny jeans, stiletto boots, an artfully casual t-shirt, and vintage Chanel jacket on the plane. Sure, and I’m 5′ 10″ and lithe. And I never ever spill food on myself when I travel.
Stage 2: Realize that you’re not traveling abroad with a fab wardrobe that even Gwyneth Paltrow would covet and that you’ll just have to make do with what’s in your very own closet. Pout a little, even though you happily wear these clothes all the time at home. Start making more realistic packing lists. Spend far too much time obsessing about shoes and accessories. Get excited that the weather will be so much better where you’re going than where you currently are. Go to sleep with visions of cashmere cardigans dancing in your head.
Stage 3: Start putting stuff in your suitcase. Quickly realize that you’re packing too much and remove 60% of the items, but leave them in a pile next to the suitcase, in case you end up having some extra space after all. Be prepared for your husband to start questioning every accessory. Try not to laugh when he suggests that you really only need two pairs of shoes. For three weeks.
Stage 4: Look at your clothes and panic that you’re going to run out of socks/underwear/shirts and start cramming more of everything into the suitcase, including taking up some of the space reserved for your spouse’s clothes. Rationalize that he won’t wear long trousers anyway, so there’s no need to give him space for clothes that will just go unused.
Stage 5: Finally finish packing and zip the suitcase shut. Your suitcase is not a TARDIS and nothing else is going to fit in there. What’s done is done and you really need to just finish this and concentrate on the 27 other tasks on your to-do list.
I’m currently going back and forth between Stages 3 and 4. I’d like to think I’ll hit Stage 5 by tomorrow, but Pete informed me last night that he probably won’t pack until Friday evening (we leave this weekend), which means we’ll be negotiating sartorial choices some time between 8 and 11 p.m. Friday. If he’s smart — and I’d like to think he’s gained some wisdom from living with me for over 20 years — he’ll come home from work and get the job done early, as later in the evening, I’ll be tired and short on patience, not to mention totally engrossed by the Olympics opening ceremony. If he’s wise, he’ll do his packing on Thursday and not wait until later. If he has a death wish, he’ll wait until Saturday morning and/or tell me he wants to do a load of laundry 12 hours before our departure.
Some of you might remember that back in 2011, I made a concerted effort to stop being — as my friend Marijean once described it — the “Johnny Cash of bloggers” by wearing all black, all the time. I’ve made huge strides in the past year. Unfortunately, it appears that my travel wardrobe is going to be in shades of black, black, and more black, with touches of gray, a little white, and possibly some denim thrown in there. I did pack some colorful accessories and think I’ll add in a green shirt or maybe get wild and toss in a red one.
I also just realized yesterday that I have gotten so into stripes in recent months that I currently have not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE different striped shirts in the suitcase (this, this, this, this, and one that I don’t have a link for, but will show you in a moment). Clearly, I’ve taken an idea and just run willy nilly with it. I’ll be removing a couple of striped shirts today.
After this realization, I then had another one. One that is rather startling. Look at this photo:
That fifth shirt that I didn’t link to? Looks just like the ones worn by Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, and Roger Taylor, above.
I also have a tissue-thin white t-shirt similar to the one that John Taylor is wearing, not to mention my favorite watch is a big silver men’s Timex that appears to be similar to his. I have packed a black sweater, black skinny trousers (albeit flat-front, not pleated), a gray jacket, and black brogues. Also, at this time, I am currently sporting a seriously 80s-inspired haircut. And I’m pretty sure I could go into my closet and pull out a scarf similar to the one worn by Andy Taylor.
Holy hell, y’all. I apparently am channeling all five Durans, circa 1981.
Apparently, I need to add another Stage of packing:
Stage 5b: Realizing that you’re dressing like a 1980s British New Romantics band and decide to revise your entire travel wardrobe.
Today I’ll be pulling out some stripes and some black and will be adding in some color and other patterns.
In the meantime, I’m wearing my second-tier clothes this week. You know, the stuff you don’t wear unless all your faves are in the laundry (or in a suitcase). Today, it’s yoga pants that are too big on me and a new t-shirt that fits just right. The t-shirt is striped.