And I’m Off….
Have you ever packed a whole lot of clothes and wished you had left them all at home? You have to carry them everywhere. It’s heavy, cumbersome, and unnecessary.
Why didn’t I just pack a swimsuit and sandals?
What should I pack?
Well, first, where are you going? For how long?
Are you staying with friends and will you know anyone when you get there? What should I pack?
Always take a jacket, in case there’s a squall, a tsunami, or a snowstorm.
These days it’s easy to check out the country you’re visiting.
We did not have the www advantage……In the 80s, we winged it!
There is a certain amount of fun in this. If you truly like surprises, just pack the same things every time.
I had a toiletry bag always ready to go. When it came out our dog ran around in circles.
He knew we were going somewhere.
There was also a time when I had Uggs in the car, for our trip to Greece, in the summertime. Not a good look with a swimsuit.
Customs can ask the most peculiar questions sometimes.
When traveling light it is important to decide what needs to go and what needs to stay. There is only so much space and the guitar should stay home.
If you need a roof rack, purge!
You would think we had never done this before
The best rule ever: take half as many clothes and twice as much money. You won’t go wrong.
Ok, so you don’t want to pack much, but what if you need it?
What if you only had torn jeans and you were invited to meet the Queen of England? Do you think she would mind?
Do you think you will look back on this and cringe?
Will you die a little bit when you look at the photos?
We ride a motorcycle.
Specifically, a touring bike.
That is today; but when we first started long-distance riding we were on a Suzuki. I felt like my bones were about to break apart. While it was a great motorcycle, it was not for long-distance riding.
Also, in the beginning, I did not know what the necessities were for a trip away for several days. It seems I needed a rain suit.
When the weather turns and you stop at the side of the street, in town, you need to suit up quickly. Make it fast!
My boots were too big to get into the pant leg. I would have to take them off first, but there was no time!
It was raining!
Not wanting to hold everyone up, I skipped the rain pants.
It rained so much that we decided to stop at a fast-food place. In the parking lot, we took a wrong turn and were blocked by a transport truck turning in.
There we were, sitting on motorcycles in the pouring rain, while we waited for the truck to give us a break. And we waited.
Later…..we went inside, fed up and miserable. The staff put us off to the corner, so we could drip in peace. We used the paper towels from the bathrooms and puddled on the floor.
I started to sneeze.
My jeans were two pounds heavier. We were soaked through!
The whole trip was like this, wet, cold, and miserable.
A friend asked if we went camping this time. On a motorcycle?
Can you picture this rain scene, with tent equipment poking out of the saddlebags?
I wish I could be so adventuresome.
We traveled further north. It was supposed to be nice at this time of year. The cold followed us till we drove through sleet.
Why were we doing this? Was this necessary? Do I want to do this again?
What choice did we have now? We still had to get home and it was a four-day ride! At one point we put on all our clothes.
By ALL, I mean everything we had with us. Underwear, socks, t-shirts, and sweaters.
I could not zip up my jacket or my boots.
I could hardly walk! Then I had to get on the bike,…..it was comical and I looked like the Michelin man.
But, I was warm!
This, becoming a biker-momma, (as my niece calls me) has prompted a new respect for this lifestyle.
They take their life into their hands every time they ride.
Motorists don’t notice them and drive through the group if there is one.
But it’s for the freedom, that we ride!…….We must be crazy.
For What It’s Worth
This did not leave me disillusioned. I totally enjoyed the experience. I felt like a pioneer! Actually, I enjoyed every minute of it. Would I do it again?
I would pack differently and be more prepared.
That parking lot scene is something we always talk about. We laugh so much about how we wanted to strangle the truck driver, who did not see us and couldn’t turn any faster.
He felt bad! Yes, but he was dry!
I wouldn’t take the joy out of the trip by altering anything. Take it as it comes.
These are the things we remember when we get home.
All kinds of things happen along the way. How much fun do you like to have?
Expect The Unexpected
We witnessed a big accident involving eleven people. No one was hurt, but our friend was a nurse and this was a forestry road.
We were far from everywhere.
Of course, we stopped.
My friend got to work doing the nurse thing, the two men helped to turn a Subaru back on its feet and I kicked debris off the road and directed traffic until the police arrived.
After the trip, we spoke about the accident a couple of times. We spoke about the scene of us in the parking lot, in the rain, many, many times.
Once, on a nice sunny day, as we were riding along, I started to doze off.
There is a certain responsibility when being a passenger on a motorcycle.
The onus is on the passenger not to fall off!
Just a Two Hour Flight
I was going on a two-hour flight. This wasn’t rocket science. How many clothes did I need for a long weekend? I did a very careful job of packing, forgetting nothing.
Don’t repeat anything. One of everything. No extra purses – they take a lot of space. No hats; I could wear the visor I had on.
One sneaker, one sandal, and one high heel.
I was ready and so proud; this was a success. I flew in and waited for my luggage.
By now my cousin was there to greet me. She said, “why is your suitcase so out-of-style”? What?…..”It’s the wrong color for this season”.
Did people really care about those things? I learned it is important, essential even. I didn’t want to stand out as an inexperienced traveler, did I?…….I wept.
As Barbeques Go, This Is A Gala!
We were invited to a gala, out of town, ten hours’ drive away. We couldn’t take much so we considered everything.
By the time we arrived everything needed laundering. We were ok. We had our dress clothes. Our shoes were shined and I packed perfume!
The ‘gala’ was ultra-casual. Who calls a barbeque a gala? We were the only people there in evening clothes. Black tie and long dress.
Buckles on my shoes. I still don’t like talking about it.
I booked myself in at the airport. It was outside the terminal, designed to make things streamlined. I lifted my suitcase on the scale and it was ten pounds over the limit! Now, what to remove?
One pair of jeans is about three pounds. A good thing to know!
I unzipped an outside pocket and found my tools from when I moved a few months ago. I did wonder where my hammer was stashed. And look! I found my old belt!
At customs, I had to unpack everything. Apparently, I look like a criminal. I am that dubious type who sneaks through with contraband.
They found nothing but I had to shuffle on. I repacked as I moved along the belt. The suitcase would not close.
You need to find the ‘sweet spot’ when you pack. There’s a certain procedure, a diagram of what it should look like.
I tried that once and was deathly afraid of touching anything. It was too neat, too clinical. Can you really pack that much and still close things up?
And how would I remember how to put everything back the way it was before?
I had to stick to what I knew.
Once I saw this man folding in the most peculiar way. Everything fit.
I watched his videos and could not master the art.
This can be compared to those little balls inside of balls that are carved into little elephants.
It’s that intricate.
It wouldn’t help in any way if I wore a smaller size. It is reasonable to assume that you can fit more into the space if the clothes are smaller. I cannot win this.
I am a clothes-a-holic when it comes to not wanting to forget anything. If I am away from home, I just-might-need-it!
Are you possessed by your possessions? Do your clothes own you?
Don’t even want to answer that.