My former mother-in-law always kept a bag packed. I kept one packed too. She kept hers packed in case she might have to go to the hospital. I kept mine packed in case I might get to go somewhere fun. I think that says it all about our disparate outlooks on life.
I have loved to travel for as long as I can remember. A big part of the fun for me is preparation. In the astrological realm my sun and rising signs are in Scorpio. We are the detectives of the zodiac. Naturally, I love researching and finding out as much as I can about the place I’m going to. Even before Google made it easy, I still enjoyed the search, the discovery of the little things that might make the place I was going to special. My moon is in Virgo, which means I like being organized. And that is where the pre-pack comes in.
I like getting my suitcase out a couple of weeks before my departure date, checking all of the standard items that I always keep in it and restocking if necessary. Then I make my list of what I will need for this trip according to the weather and geography of my destination. Next I make a list of things I’ll need to buy. When things are bought and assembled, I like to lay everything out and think about how I’ll fit it all in my small suitcase. I’ve learned to travel light over the years and I enjoy the challenge of less is more.
I don’t think of myself as a girly –girl, but in this one case, I seem to be one. I like to figure out how many different outfits I can create out of the least amount of clothing. Scarves help to completely change a look and don’t take up much room. I also have fun coordinating earrings and bracelets to enhance each outfit. I lay everything on the guest bed next to the suitcase and think about which outfit I’ll wear for traveling. This is important in case your luggage doesn’t arrive when you do. You might be wearing those clothes a little longer than you planned; in cases like this it’s always good to dress for comfort.
Now it’s time for the first round of trial packs. This takes about a week. After the first trial pack, I leave it for a day or two and think about whether I’ve made the best use of the space. I take everything out and rearrange it for the second trial pack. I realize almost immediately that the first trial was better than the second, but still not quite right. The next night I remove everything again and as if by magic, everything is placed in perfect configuration. Except for the last-minute items, I’m packed with a week to spare!
My next project will be preparing my backpack. Since most of my travel revolves around writing, the contents of the backpack constitute my essential tools to get myself in the writing zone. I always keep a separate travel journal to record the sights sounds, tastes and smells of my destination. If I feel a deep connection to the place I’m visiting, there are many entries describing the emotions I’m feeling on this journey. The universe serendipitously brings travel journals to me, since so many people know of my love of travel. I let go and allow that to happen. But I can’t leave finding the perfect notebook and pen to chance. This search may take several attempts. I don’t usually start out with a vision of exactly what the notebook will look like or how the pen will feel in my hand; I will know it when I see it. When those items are procured, I’m ready to place them in the backpack. This does not require trial packs because the backpack has designated places for its contents, thus eliminating the pesky guesswork of the non-specific suitcase. My backpack is my back-up in the lost luggage contingency, so it must carry small amounts of essential toiletries, medicines, writing supplies, laptop, iPod (a nicely compact item for reading & music listening), travel documents and the always essential snack items.
As departure day rapidly approaches, I pore over my itinerary and dream of the places I will see, some new, some old. I will write about how this journey will change me, how I have grown from this experience. But for now, I’m in the moment of enjoying the pre-pack and celebrating my Virgo moon.
Rebekah for the Poplar Grove Muse