Let’s begin this story by talking about the Walt Disney movie, Mary Poppins. It’s that kind of blog. When I was five-years-old, I would watch Mary Poppins at least once a week in our basement. It was a wondrous time. I would sing along with Julie Andrews, kick my legs up for the dance numbers and -because my parents couldn’t be around all of the time- jump off the couch with an umbrella and try to fly. (Thinking happy thoughts had been getting me absolutely nowhere and it was time for action. Even then, I was sensible child.) What I remember most from the movie is Mary Poppin’s fantastic bag. The first time she pulled out a floor lamp out of that tiny carpetbag, my expectations for all current and future sets of luggage were molded. For a younger me, packing for family vacation was a disappointing time.
Twenty year later, I have managed to cope with this desire to pack everything under the sun into a tiny bag. Anymore, I rarely pack my rabbit ears and white gloves “just in case” there is an impromptu costume party. (It could happen.) Progress has been made. I am comfortable traveling carry-on and breeze through TSA lines like I’ve been sponsored by DuPont. I am now Brendan: Travel Warrior of Efficiency.
However, my looming study abroad trip has brought up old fears. Since I am going to China directly after Taiwan, I will need to pack for both countries and I am currently wrestling with indecision. It is more difficult than I thought to pack for two big unknowns. Some things overlap, but many items, like winter coats and sandals do not. I find myself wondering What if I get to Taiwan and I need those khakis I’ve decided to leave behind? Will they have my size?! I’ll have to weave a new ones out of gum wrappers and hope. Nobody wants that. I’m not crafty. There will be wardrobe malfunctions. But wait…that’s just silly. I won’t need those khakis… Will I? And on it goes.
It all boils down to the choice between being underprepared and over-prepared. This time around, I have decided to go with the first option. So, I’m leaving my favorite motorcycle boots behind. Extra t-shirts and jeans? Ditto. I might find something even better and cheaper overseas. I am going to another country, not another dimension. Why worry? I am open to the prospects and I have decided to stick to “packing light.”
I will be honest though. Ms. Poppins has had a lasting effect on me. Even though I am only taking a medium duffel, a carry-on and a back pack, I’ve probably still overpacked. I talk a big game, but my Batgirl converse will probably sneak their way in. Old habits die hard.