The Big Fall Trip of '10 Begins: So NOT The Lightest Packer

My biggest mistake which turned out to be my biggest smart move was agreeing with my friend that I would come spend the night at her house before leaving town. This forced me to be packed and ready to walk out the door at 5pm 7:04pm last night. Worst move because it was just hard and stressful and kicked my butt to handle all the stuff I needed to do yesterday before I headed to her house. Biggest smart move? Well, because a) I got to see my friends (this friend AND her mom with whom I hitched a ride,) for the first time in many weeks, and that's always always fun, and b) I got a trial run.

On travel trial runs: We like them. And what I'm talking about is that tiny matter of how airlines now charge an extra fee if you're going to check a bag. And how it's impossible for me to imagine managing my life for 6 weeks with the amount of items I can legally carry onto an airplane with me. So yea, I'll pay your new baggage checking fees. BUT there's no way I'm gonna' be willing to pay the exorbitant overage fees if my bag weighs in at, oh, lets say for the sake of entertainment that perhaps your bag weighs about 58.5 lbs. Or so. Yay digital bathroom scales. And unless you want to hike that fee way up, that bag has to weigh 50 lbs and not a smidge over. 

So I got to my friend's house - 2 1/2 hours late - all tired with achey back, sleepy and wired last night, concerned that perhaps I'd left more than just my car charger for my iPhone (mostly not needed, but I do anticipate that coming in handy on one leg of this trip,) and (I cringe to admit this to you,) my favorite brand of sweetner for my coffee. Shut up. We all have our quirks. Probably yours is just as weird as mine.

And then my friend? The one who has to get out of bed at some fantastic hour like 5:30am daily with her little ones, probably didn't have one bit of fun helping me go through that bag and weed out all the stuff I absolutely didn't need. Large toothpaste? Never mind it's already paid for and I have a tiny travel one. That stuff isn't light. Same for my big bottle of conditioner. And two pairs of flipflop-style sandals. And some of the razors, shave cream too. On and on it went, me chucking stuff into a bag until finally I was able to weigh in at 48.5 lbs today. Yay me. As friend pointed out, sure I'll have to buy more while I'm away, but this stuff will be waiting for me when I return.

Not that I did any such culling for my carry on bag. And since I wanted to have me some options once I'm on the other coast, with the ability to pack any number and shape of other small bags for shorter trips, I put one terrific turns-into-a-little-backpack Eagle Creek shoulder bag with my laptop in it, inside this honkin backpack. (In the picture, the brown one carries the laptop, and a few other incidental things likechargers and etc. - all that gets closed up and put down inside the Adidas one on the left. Along with all KINDS of other things!) The side pockets hold things like Teva sandals and a heavy-but-compact tripod and my camera, removed from its typical huge bag and nestled, instead, in this lovely little children's padded/insulated lunchbox I found by accident at Target. Handy the things they're making the yungins these days! The size was perfect and I cut mondo dollars out of my spending by not buying yet another bag intended for hauling cameras. Or by generally removing the "this is meant for travel" element entirely. Basically I needed it for padding, not carrying, so it doesn't really matter that it looks like a little red lunch box.

Now here's where I went awry. Books. Books are heavy. And because I'm not currently engrossed in any one book, every book (of the many, many) that was presented to me or which I picked up, just didn't capture my delight enough that I knew for sure that I would want to read it on the plane. Which means I kept tossing book after book into my shoulder bag. I won't even bother to tell you how many books I brought with me. But I'll tell you THIS. Except for the borrowed ones (which might get shipped back home,) I'll likely be leaving most of those behind when I return. Still? I loved being able to reach down into my bag on this first little hour long flight and grabbing any ole book I wanted. That's a lot of hours to keep my easily distracted mind occupied. Just sayin...

The down side to all this? I was That Woman in line at security. I like to think I wasn't, since I was as efficient as a person can possibly be with that many things being removed from and tucked back into other things, but yea. Compared to usual? I added a good 10 seconds or more to each end of my walk through that little portal. 

The other down side? Never mind my Honkin' Bag That I Checked is a magnificent Eddie Bauer duffel with wheels and all kinds of hidden compartments... my carry on? Yea, kinda' heavy. At least it's a backpack, but really wheels would have been nice.

Never mind. I'm on my way. And since the first couple of weeks of my trip will be spent with The King And Queen Of Travel, I'm confident they'll have all kinds of tips and tricks for me by the time I head on to Seattle.

Now. I've bought some Wi-Fi access for this stretch in the ATL airport. Better go clock some work hours so the expense will not be in vain.

Hope your weekend is starting out as great as mine is!