I absolutely love travelling. Anyone who knows me, knows this. What they may not know however, is that I hate packing. For some it’s the start of the excitement, the planning of what they’ll wear when, where and for how long, but for me, it’s torture.
It all began 10 years ago when we were on holiday in Thailand. After some time in Singapore and then Bankok, we had boarded a ferry to PhiPhi Island (pre-tsunami). Up to that point I’d coped well with my (very) large suitcase thanks to pre-arranged airport transfers and porters etc. The concept of travelling light was as foreign to me as my exotic surroundings.
All was well with the world and I was happily contemplating my range of possible wardrobe choices, when it came to my attention that the ferry that I had assumed would dock at the very servicable looking quay, suddenly dropped anchor some distance offshore. Imagine my surprise as passengers and luggage were swiftly disengorged onto a number of tatty, wellworn longtail boats, each manned by a sole sailor. Nonetheless, all was proceeding smoothly until there was a shout from the ferry and a crew member, who was wrangling with an enormous blue suitcase, toppled it into the boat, nearly crushing a fellow passenger and causing the longtail to list dangerously to one side. There was much muttering by my fellow passengers, most of whom were toting no more than small backpacks. “Who on earth would bring such a monolith to an island paradise?” I heard. Guess who? Me, of course. I silently hung my head in shame but didn’t claim ownership of the case until I was on shore and all my fellow travellers had dispersed. Never again, I swore. From now on, I would always travel light.
As is so often the case, my rash resolution was taken to heart by my husband who, shortly before our next trip, arrived home with two new suitcases identical in every way except for colour. Mine was a bright rosy red while his was a much more serious navy blue. “Very nice,” you may think, “How kind!”. Well yes, except each case is a very compact 60 x 45 x 25cm. No danger of these mini-me’s endangering anyone! In fact once my toiletries and underware is packed, there is very little space left for actual clothing.
Nevertheless, this is now the fourth overseas holiday I have “packed light” and although deciding what to take (or more to the point, what to leave behind) is torturous, I’ve managed well. Public transport is a breeze and so what if a pair of jeans gets worn once or twice more than is strictly desirable.
I’m writing this in transit at Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris. Our first visit to Spain will start in a few hours and I hope you’ll travel with us via this blog … and I’m praying that my small red suitcase with its very carefully picked contents also arrives safely. Luckily though, I did sneak one or two things into Chris’ case … shhhhh … it’s our secret!