Sitting between my two suitcases–my two worlds.
Greetings from Biella, where I’ve had a few days to rest before my next adventure: Spain. I’m going to Spain with my son, Tim, to do the Camino di Santiago. We have budgeted a month to do it, and the biggest challenge is packing for a month in just one backpack. I want to be sure to have all that I need, but I don’t want to over-pack because I’ll have to carry everything I have for several miles each day.
While I’ve been here I’ve also tried to organize the suitcase holding the things to take back to the US with me next month. When I did, I found that it was overweight by fifteen pounds, so I had to really put some thought into what I’ll need in the US next month and what can wait until fall.
During the process of moving out of the apartment I had left two large suitcases lying open on the floor side-by-side: one for things to go back to the US and one for things to keep here in Europe. I had a third suitcase for more immediate travels as well. As I went through all my belongings, I threw them into one suitcase or the other or into a giveaway pile. The vast majority of things went into the giveaway pile. In this way I filled each suitcase, but not in any organized or careful manner.
I’ve learned something about myself through all this: my process for packing involves a lot of whining about all the packing I need to do. So far I haven’t been able to accomplish much of anything without a lot of whining at the beginning. Then I start packing, but find myself easily distracted by friends, phone calls, and Facebook. Finally as the deadline approaches I throw myself into the task and get it all done.
I prayed for wisdom to know how and what to pack, and I believe that I got it. The hardest thing to decide was whether to take the computer or not. Finally I decided that my phone will suffice for computer tasks. And most of what I’ll need a computer for is communicating, so the phone should be enough.
And since it’s impossible to take a month’s worth of clothes with me, I’m taking just a couple of changes of clothes and a bar of soap to wash clothes with—and the clothes that I’m bringing are mostly things that should dry very quickly.
Toiletries are also problematic because we’re flying Ryanair, which is notorious for charging if you have more than one carryon (like a purse in addition to the backpack) or if the carryon doesn’t fit in their sizer. I made sure that my purse will fit inside my backpack for the flight, and that I don’t have any but the most essential cosmetics. I’m going to use that bar of soap for washing my hair and body besides my clothes. Too bad it won’t work for toothpaste as well.
The one really good thing about my packing process is that I do get it done on time. I would love to be able to do it without the whining, but so far it seems to be an essential part of my process. In any case, I’m ready to go now. See you in a month. God is good!
 Besides, Tim will have his computer, so if I find that I really need a computer, I can use his.
 Every time I fly Ryanair I say, “Never again!” I hate the sneaky ways that they have of making you pay more than the low price advertised, like the extra bag charges. More than that, I hate the non-stop noise pollution of their constant advertising, plugging food and drinks that most airlines give you for free. Traveling Ryanair with an MP3 and earbuds is an absolute must for me. I’m sure I’d go buggy if I had to listen to all that for the entire two to three hour flight.