Packing Non-Negotiables: Stuff I Gotta Have
“Have you packed yet?”
Well, hell no, I haven’t packed yet!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked that in the past few days. I leave for my month-long Go with Oh European trip in a little over a week, and I haven’t even decided which suitcase I’m going to carry. Considering I don’t have a pack mule to lug all my junk around, I need to be smart. I’ll be traveling by plane, train, and automobile through five countries and at least seven different cities. It’d be nice if I didn’t have to visit a chiropractor in between tours of the Vatican and the Roman Forum.
Why haven’t I begun to pack? Well, for starters, it was 92 degrees in Houston today. Folks, it’s nearly November! I can’t even fathom digging out my wool sweaters, gloves, and thick socks. I break into a sweat just thinking about it. Another road block is that I’ve always found it more difficult to pack for the winter rather than the summer. Obviously the clothes are bulkier, but there’s also the issue of my vampire’s blood. I’m going to need lots of clothes to stay warm.
Quite frankly, I get cold. Like really cold. I grew up in ice, snow, and freezing rain. I used to leave faucets running so the pipes didn’t bust, but I’ve gotten soft living in Houston. Therefore, if the weatherman says it’s going to be 50 degrees for the high, you can bet your ass that I’ll be wearing a sweater, coat, boots, hat, and a scarf. I’ll be bundled up like that little kid from A Christmas Story.
Rest assured that I do have some things ready to go. I keep a good bit of my travel essentials packed in case someone wants to whisk me off on a last-minute trip or I need to quickly evade arrest by skipping the country. If either is the case, I want to be ready.
I do have a dirty little secret…I carry a backpack. And no, it’s not a cute red one with sequins or some fancy Louis Vuitton. Instead it’s utilitarian. Black and grey in color, it’s actually pretty butch. Whatever, it keeps my computer and cameras safe, plus it holds an obscene amount of junk.
Frankly, I don’t care if I’m taking an hour flight to Dallas or an eleven hour flight to London. There are certain things that go with me no matter what. For a weekend or a month, it doesn’t matter. I’ll risk a couple of back spasms in order to have this stuff with me.
I’m a slave to gadgets, and I’m seriously addicted to my iPhone and MacBook Pro. I’m also a bit paranoid, hence the jump drive and the external hard drive. A huge fear of mine is that either my computer or camera will be stolen along with all the photos I’ve taken. I upload and back up my pictures each day when traveling. I also never know when I’m going to feel like making a movie, so I carry a video camera, too. I don’t care that there’s one on my iPhone.
And last, but certainly not least, are my Bose headsets. That’s right, headsets…plural. The noise canceling ones are for the plane. The earbuds are for use every other place. I seriously don’t want to look like Jay-Z spitting rhymes while laying at the pool or riding the train.
I’m a self-professed hoarder. I have over 200 pairs of shoes and at least 50 pairs of jeans. Don’t even get me started on purses and watches; it’s sickening. The first step is admitting there is a problem. The second? I’m not sure.
Anyway, I also have a plethora of scarves. Here’s a small sampling of my lightweight ones. I couldn’t bring myself to drag out the wool and knit ones. As I mentioned before, I get cold, so scarves are a staple of my wardrobe. Not only do they keep me warm, but they add a kick to my clothes and color to my face after flying a bajillion miles. Expect to see me in LOTS of scarves in Europe.
So Fresh, So Clean
I’m obsessed with teeth, specifically mine, but a person’s pearly whites are also the first thing I notice. In addition, I have a slight addiction to bleaching. Remember that Friends episode where Ross bleaches his teeth so much that they glow under black light? Yep. I’ve been there.
When it comes to personal hygiene, there’s nothing more important to me than fresh breath and clean teeth. Yes, I’m the person you are waiting on to come out of the airplane’s bathroom.
Comfort, style, and warmth are key when I travel, especially on long-haul flights. I don’t go anywhere without a pair of lululemon tights, big ol’ sunglasses, and a watch.
Ladies, if you don’t know lulu, you better get yourselves acquainted. Not only are these the the most comfortable things you’ll slip on, but they also make your ass look great, even when your ass doesn’t normally look great. At nearly $100 a pair, they better make my rear end look like Adriana Lima’s. And because I’m a hoarder, I’ve got multiple pairs.
I’m lost without a watch. You will never catch me without one. Period.
Another thing that is essential for my traveling is at least one pair of sunglasses. I’m a creature of habit and wear them all the time, even when I probably don’t need to. The bigger the better, I always say. Big-ass shades cover a multitude of sins, like the black circles and puffy eyes that come from an overnight flight or a few hours boozing it up with Lola.
Nectar of the Gods
If you don’t know about Tabasco then you’ll never understand where I’m coming from. This pepper sauce made in Louisiana makes everything better, even crappy frozen Lean Cuisine enchiladas. I refuse to eat eggs without it. I can’t stomach even the best oysters without a healthy dash of Tabasco.
This stuff has saved my taste buds in places where spicy food isn’t typical. Black beans and rice in Costa Rica came alive with a few squirts of this liquid goodness. In Rome, I’ve poured it in my pasta and on my pizza. I don’t carry it with me on domestic trips as any restaurant worth eating at will have Tabasco on hand. However, it’s much more difficult to come by internationally, thus I will be picking up a new bottle for my European trip.
So, to answer your question, no I haven’t packed. I’m a visualizer. I’ve got to picture the clothes and shoes and see them nestled inside of my suitcase. It’s a process, and it’s one that can’t be hurried. I’ll get it done. I’ve already got the most important stuff ready to go.