Poppins’ Packing: Unreal Expectations for Baggage

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.

Pictured Above: Umbrella. Magic Bag. Potential Child-like Wonder

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.

Viva la Poppins

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