On traveling heavy:
I like to be prepared. You know, just in case. A lifelong sufferer of fatal food allergies, preparation was drilled into me: ‘Don’t go anywhere without at least a sheet of Benadryl and your injections, just in case.’ This tendency towards being prepared has ended up spilling over into other parts of my life sometimes. This is a problem if you love travel and travel often. My common thought process: the weather could turn slightly or drastically, so I pack both light sweater plus heavy sweater–these are daytime options, however, as I can’t be expected to wear a sweatshirt with my black cocktail dress at dinner, so I also pack a classic black and white houndstooth coat for evening. My feet might hurt, so I pack options because I want heels for certain outings, but my comfy flats for long walks, plus sneakers for morning jogs. I may get muscle cramps, so I pack Tylenol, but Tylenol doesn’t do anything for the tension headaches I sometimes get, so I pack Excedrin too. While adventuring, I might run into Sean Bean or Andrew Zimmern or some other random Great One, so I carry my camera at all times, but it has to be the full-size good one, not just the point-and-shoot, because if I run into Sean Bean or Andrew Zimmern, I want those pictures to be flawless. I need a clutch bag for dressy outings, but want to be hands-free during day trips, so I also pack a regular purse with long strap that I can wear across my torso. We won’t talk about the hair products. Of course, this desire to be prepared for all situations leads to an inability to travel light. I admire those people who travel overseas with three outfits and make do; I’m totally not one of them.
But I’m inching their way because I’m tired of being saddled with a bunch of gear when I go away. I went on a quick getaway recently with my husband. One morning, still cold from the night before, I dressed in long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, a corduroy jacket and a scarf. About to leave the hotel room, I stepped outside onto the balcony to make sure I was properly dressed for the weather–something I never do. It was no longer so cold. We immediately changed our outfits. I stared at one of the many sweaters and sweatshirts I had packed (my “options.” Eyeroll.) and tried to decide whether I should bring one “just in case” it cooled off later. After hemming and hawing, I decided against it; I wanted to be hands-free for once. It was the right move. It was comfortable and breezy outside. Outerwear totally not necessary. And to have my hands empty rather than holding an extra sweater or an extra bag to carry the stuff I might need was a carefree sensation I’m not used to. I did bring a light summer shawl though, just in case…cheating?
So the travelers on the two-week trips to Europe with three outfits and two pairs of shoes that I mentioned above with admiration? Not one of them. Yet. But I’m working on it.
Do you travel light, or do you feel the need for many options?