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June 2012 - Departure Minus 5...Packing Challenge Accepted!


"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes." Walt Whitman

I've been reading some fantastic blogs which combine the benefits of travelling as a family, and packing light.

It struck me how practical and obvious it is to pack light (and equally, how challenging).

Thus far my planning and thinking for this trip has been more about trying to match dreams, and less about practical realities...my dad recently read our travel blog for the first time. It caused him to reflect on memories of his own trip to Europe a few years ago, memories which are "fond, although not as - 'fanciful'", he tells me.

Although in my work life, I'm exceptionally practical & results-driven, it's a commonly held truth that in our family I am the one for whom the line between reality and fantasy has been a bit blurry at times. In the past few years, I have to admit to being quite comfortable with the contradictions that make up 'me'. (Side note - my 30s are by far my best decade yet!)

So we have the Romantic, Idealistic Kalie, with visions of stolen kisses in foggy Parisien streets, drinking red wine by the fire in Tuscany, adventuring as a family...etc etc and so forth.

Then we have Professional, Practical Kalie. The me to whom airy-fairy dreams are pointless without a well-developed strategy and who is focussed on efficiency, key performance indicators, and measurable outcomes. This is actually who I am most of the time and it's rare for me to unearth the 'girlie' version of me...although she's getting a good run in the lead up to this trip.

I've decided it's time to unleash the organised, efficient me in regard to our holiday planning.

I'm highly motivated by challenge, and I'm competitive. Case in point: I have never let my son win a game of cards, or Trivial Pursuit, or any other board game we've played. I tell myself it's because learning to lose well is an important part of learning to win graciously...but really it's because I don't like to lose. Which probably defeats the purpose of the lesson I tell myself I'm giving him.

All that aside, I've identified a small goal I want to achieve.

I want to - wait for it - pack light.

We'll be away for six weeks, and due to my at times unchecked vanity I thought packing light would be a monumental challenge for me. However, as evidenced by my years of various fitness phases (I'm not one of those people who looks good while exercising, but I do it anyway because I enjoy the sense of achievement at the end), my need to meet a challenge far outweighs my vanity.

So last week I bought an appropriate, small cabin-luggage-sized bag, and today (because I will not be beaten by a small suitcase) I have victory!


I wanted to make sure I had room for new purchases, so I packed everything - including the clothes I'll be wearing on the flight. The fact that it all fits means even if I buy new clothes in Europe - or rather, when I buy new clothes, I'll have room for them...and if (when) I buy more than I have room for, I'll mail them back home.

The practical information:
I have packed -
Requisite underwear (all appropriately comfortable AND sexy, because both qualities are equally important)
2 x dresses (which can be worn over jeans or leggings, and layered for warmth)
3 x bamboo thermal tops (brilliantly warm, and feel so smooth on)
3 x pair bamboo socks
1 x pair yoga pants
2 x leggings (1 pair are thermal)
3 x tops (can be layered underneath)
1 x pair of jeans (jury is still out on whether to take these)
1 x pair skechers (flight shoes)
1 x pair cargos (flight clothes)
1 x thick hoodie-style coat (flight clothes)
1 x small hairbrush
1 x small bag of makeup & assorted toiletries

This leaves room for the boots and jacket I'm planning to buy on Day 1 in Paris. Anything else (scarves, hats, gloves) will easily squash in. Most of the places we're staying will have shampoo, conditioner, soap etc in the rooms and if not, we can buy them whenever we need to.

In actual fact, I think my fanciful ideals have aided in this victorious endeavour...not only am I motivated to meet an efficiency challenge, but my vanity has motivated me to do whatever is necessary to enable me to appear calm, confident and fabulous while travelling - and not staggering around with a bulky backpack or suitcase certainly helps in that regard.

I do so enjoy my contradictions.

Posted by mark.kalie.kobi 20:46 Archived in Australia Tagged shopping europe romance dreams practical vanity packing_light ideals

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I totally appreciate your travelling light dilemma. It is the only way to travel, but watch out as you go for accumulation of things like brochures and other mementos. On my most recent trip to Europe with my husband (it was his first trip) we ended up purchasing a couple of extra bags which was very annoying.

I didn't realize until after we got home that his backpack was full of brochures... I had been sorting the brochures as we packed up from each location and had a 'keeping' pile and a 'throw out' pile. It turned out that he kept all of them...

So the moral of the story is that if you HAVE to purchase something, see if you can pay to get it shipped home rather than carrying it. And throw out your travel rubbish as you go!!

by Pretraveller

Great advice, thanks...will definitely ship any excess purchases rather than carry them. Sadly, I come from a long line of brochure-hoarders so I'll have to contain myself:)

by mark.kalie.kobi

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