In my opinion (and the opinion of many people I’ve talked to), one of the worst parts about traveling is packing. You always seem to hear the refrain ‘you’ll need a lot less than you think’, and you’re always told stories of people who regretted packing too much. What they never seem to tell you though is what things all these people thought they needed and regretted packing. I’m sitting here with a suitcase that seems huge and ways a ton, and I’m thinking maybe this is what they’re talking about. Maybe this is what they mean when they say you pack too much. All I have in it though is clothes, some shoes and some shampoo and soap. So how do you tell how much is too much to pack, what’s the cut off? Is 5 t-shirts acceptable, but 6 too much? Is 11 pairs of socks excessive, but 10 just right? I’m probably putting more thought into this then I did my finals.
Seriously though, I don’t have the answers so if anyone does do let me know. Not that it matters, because I’ll likely be gone before you read this. That’s the other thing, packing lends itself to procrastination, and I’m good at that. You start packing too early, and suddenly you need something you packed. Of course, it’s at the very bottom and you have to undo all of your work. Even if you are as prepared as possible, there are so many things that can’t be packed till the last day, or that you inevitably forget.
Of course, I think that might all be an excuse. The real reason I hate packing, and the real reason I’ve waited till the last minute to do it, is because packing means accepting that I am going to be leaving. Whether you’re going abroad, or just going to summer camp, leaving the comfortable and familiar is scary. If you’re traveling, you have enough to worry about, it’s probably best not to get caught up on the little things like packing. As my friend Michaela who is studying in Spain right now said “Bring what makes you happy”. If you pack too much you can always send something home, and if you don’t pack enough, you can always go shopping. As easy as it may be to avoid packing, you’ll regret not getting it done right away, so just dive and go for it.