Packing, AKA “The Bane of My Existence”

I have had the opportunity to travel a lot, to some very far-flung places. Got some cool stamps on my passport, some commemorative refrigerator magnets, and a pile of stories and memories. No matter where I go, though, one thing is always true: I am the world’s worst packer. It’s always too much of this and not enough of that, and why on earth did I think I would use these, and those are sitting on my bed at home, instead of being here with me where I desperately need them. I have consulted those listicles that explain how to pack for any eventuality, but all they do is make me hate the author(s) and Google “muu-muus” jokingly seriously.

Part of the problem is certainly that I overthink things. For instance, I spent I-don’t-want-to-say-how-many minutes debating the pros and cons of various t-shirts I own. I will need t-shirts for sleeping and working out and running errands, and it occurred to me that if I bring ones that have a lot of English words on them—which is most of them—that will brand me as a foreigner, and I would like to try to blend in, at least until I bust out my “Portuguese.” I am mystified as to whether toothpaste counts as a liquid. I have a black fleece jacket, a black cardigan, and a black raincoat. Will I need them all? How many gis should I pack, and which ones? The ones I can put in the dryer, which is more convenient, even though they are dingier, or the ones that need to hang dry but will look nicer when I am a guest at other academies?

Then we come to entertainment. I love to read, but what will I feel like reading? There are tons of good movies and shows available for download, but which ones will strike my fancy in the airport and on the plane? I enjoy a good crossword puzzle, but what if the one in my in-flight magazine is already filled out?

And I can’t even think yet about the most important packable: snacks. Except to say that I am open to suggestions.

In the end, I will do what I always do: Pack mostly the 10% of my wardrobe that I usually wear, throw in some entertainment that sounds entertaining when I am packing, and hope for the best. Fortunately, I don’t actually have to pack until tomorrow, so I can

I will also leave room for souvenirs. (“Leaving room” means “bringing an entire extra suitcase.”) I already have requests for white sardines and Portuguese wine. Place your orders.

I also am a big fan of postcards—actual pieces of thick paper that come in the mail and have handwriting on them. Contact me if you would like me to send you one.

Want help crafting your own life adventure? Contact me at or visit me at Through the magic of technology, we can connect regardless of where in the world we are!