Getting Going – The Anxiety of Picking Up and Packing, Again

Packing sucks….

I’ve mentioned several times, most recently in my pitfalls of long term travel post, how much I hate packing. I’m living the stress now, as I write this post (a little before it’s actually published). It’s one of those things I thought I’d have “gotten over” by now. Certainly “the big pack” – the first one when you leave somewhere that’s almost “home” for a long-term period of frequent location changes – is THE worst. Nonetheless, I find myself in a panic of wits, memory and staying on top of everything I have to do.

Packing is like a constant monkey on my back, though I did like this monkey being on my back in Thailand.

To be fair, this departure is made the more poignant by the fact that I’ve had the honor of helping to care for my dad who became ill during my last journey. I delayed my travels to be able to stay with him. Happily he recovered quite a bit, but it makes leaving that much more emotional. I think, in fact, it’s the emotions which make the packing so difficult.

“Packing should be simple; open bag, put stuff in, close bag.”

At the end of the day, all I have to do is choose some stuff and put it into a bag. Not that complicated! And yet, I can’t function without my packing list which must be printed out. I have to check everything off. And no matter how many things I remove from the pile and decide I don’t need, I fret that I always have too much, and my bags are too heavy. (I’ve left many items behind so far – a heavy charger in Costa Rica, my pajamas in Scotland, a shirt in Vietnam to name just a few…) Updating this in Colombia, I’ve already targeted items to throw out, give away or send home. Every time I look at my stuff I’m considering how I can downsize.

I feel like I’m carrying around this much stuff…

Photograph by Heather Markel

I don’t know why the packing, of all things, doesn’t get ANY easier over time. I know all the rules, I know what I need, I know what I don’t need, I know I can get anything I’ve forgotten. And yet, each and every time I feel like I’m in a whirlwind of last minute errands and making sure that I have “everything I need” that my clothes are clean, etc etc. The worst part is, for example, that I’m writing this blog post the night before I depart. I SHOULD be packing my bags and cleaning up my mother’s apartment. But I clearly hate doing that so much that I’m completely avoiding it. 

OK I think the truth is, my lack of desire and ability to pack is all the fault of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. If that show weren’t so good, I bet I’d be packing now instead of binge watching all of season 2 the night before I leave. I have to because I will cancel my Amazon Prime membership when I leave. If she could just be a little less funny and the show a lot less good, I would have no ability to distract myself from this horrible chore I don’t want to do. So, I fully blame The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel for making me stay up too late and get too tired to do a good job packing.

I find it ironic that for a gal that loves to travel, and does it so often, packng remains a constant pain in the ass. And no matter how few clothes I take, it’s the toiletries and the electronics that weigh more than anything. 🙁  I just don’t like doing it, and I guess that’s not going to change.

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