I’m no good at packing. This isn’t news to anyone who knows me.
Spring Break is now less than a week away and between midterms and all the homework, I have to find some time to shove things into a borrowed backpack before getting on a plane to Uganda.
You would think that perhaps by now I would at least see it coming. But time and time again, I find myself the night before a trip in a staring contest with the piles of laundry on my floor, at a loss for which articles of clothing have earned a spot in the bag. By some divine act of Heaven, I will make it to the airport with a various assortment of TSA-approved items inside the carryon.
Last spring break, I waddled around Central Europe looking quite like a homeless turtle. In just a week’s time, I will land in Uganda looking pretty much the same, and that’s just something I have come to terms with.
I am anticipating this event, seeing as it has happened so many times before. I already know one of two things will happen: I will bring too much, or I will bring too little. I may completely forget a rain jacket when one is absolutely needed, or I might bring three pairs of pajamas and then my mother will scold me for not exercising more discretion. If you find yourself in similar situations in the next few days, I am not the best person to ask for advice on what you should take on Spring Break. However, I am here to encourage you, to tell you whether you’re a minimalist or a packrat or somewhere in the middle, it’s OK to be anxious about the great task ahead of you.
In all my backpacking days, which really are not that many, I have kind of thrown the picture-perfect Internet version of backpacking out the metaphorical window. Read all the blog posts you want about how to pack the perfect bag, but for some reason it’s just harder than it looks. Roll your clothes tightly, they say. Re-wear the same outfit eight times and you’ll look like a cultured and modern world traveler.
False, you will look like a jet-lagged 21-year-old who has some really wrinkled T-shirts that just ended up in a wad at the bottom of the bag.
Maybe I just need to invest in a more travel-friendly wardrobe, but I know one thing: the backpack look isn’t my best one. I will probably look sort of frumpy and a little mismatched. I also know that as I board my various flights, people in surrounding seats will laugh at me attempting to cram the stupid thing in that poor excuse of an economy-class overhead bin.
In the meantime, I have a packing list sitting in my inbox. Who knows how much use it will really be.