I am an artist: skilled in the art of over-packing
I try to prepare for most possibilities. Really. I admitted it. So there. But… When you’re driving in a car, it’s easy to shove stuff in all kinds of crevices. And, that’s what we did for the Florida to Cali road trip. This worked pretty well until we parted ways (as planned) in southern California and I was suddenly responsible to haul my own crap – I mean ‘things’ - around without a car and using public transportation.
Confession: public transportation is something new to me.
For my solo part, i.e. without a car part of the adventure, I survived/travelled on a train, a few buses, and lots of Uber Pool rides. I went from Lake Arrowhead (southern Cali) to San Francisco, and I’m sure that you can see that hauling a ton of stuff on the train, buses and in Ubers is just not realistic for a solo traveler - especially one that is (dare I admit this – but you already know this) an older traveler.
Why did I have so much?
This trip included camping and well, camping requires preparation – you get the idea. It just happened to be too cold during the first few days to camp so we Airbnb’d it instead. So, of my 3 pairs of long johns -- only one was needed and since I hadn’t camped in a LONG TIME, I had to buy a ton of gear – just in case. And you already know this, but for the record, I didn’t use ANY of it except for the headlamp. The headlamp was AWESOME.
What happened to that warm, fuzzy blanket we saw on your Instagram story?
The plan was simple: mail some things back home things that I didn’t need any more during part 2 of the road trip.
And before I answer, I must admit that flexibility is so important as is a good attitude. And to answer the question, the plan DID NOT happen. I arrived too late on Saturday in Lake Arrowhead and the post office and mail center were both closed. The next day was Sunday and neither were open in that beautiful, small town above the cloud line in California. And, well, I had to go to LA on Sunday.
Without dwelling too much, it was bye-bye stuff. Goodbye fuzzy blanket, pillows, sandals, sweatshirt, towels and other things. I was kind of happy when I jettisoned enough items so that my suitcase closed -- and more importantly, I could carry (or wheel) it. Still, moving the remaining gear was a muscle-building experience as it required much more lifting than I ever thought I would need to do. Fortunately, the energy exertion gave me unexpected health benefits that were just as fulfilling as a daily workout. (I did lose weight on this trip :) ).
I learned valuable lessons.
Here they are:
· Don’t over pack stuff – make sure that you can transport your stuff by yourself – especially if you go on a solo journey.
· Bring things that have multiple uses – for instance, my big winter jacket makes a great pillow. (why did I bring pillows?)
· Look at your suitcase. Is it bulky and heavy? Mine sure was. I need to invest in something a bit more manageable. I saw so many options in some of the blogs – next time for sure!
· Souvenirs? Mail directly home or make sure that you can safely pack them and move them without pulling a muscle in your back.
· If possible, give away stuff that you don’t need. Mitchell, I hope you are loving that fuzzy blanket!
The biggest lesson learned for me, it’s great to be prepared but maybe not so over-prepared. If it is something really needed – just buy it and call it a life lesson. Most importantly, enjoy the journey and remember to dream, do and experience life.
Thank you for reading. Wendy