Packamania or The Most Boring Post Ever
I know I have plenty of time to figure out what I’m going to pack for my trip to Paris. I know it’s a little soon to be blogging about the subject. But, well… I don’t really have anything else to blog about today so packing it is.
My mom has spent the last three weeks buying suitcases, taking them home, stuffing them with all the necessary gizmos and clothes and such, weighing them, finding out they weigh too much and then taking the suitcase back to the store. Good thing my mom doesn’t have a real job. She actually likes taking things back, a trait I did not inherit. Finding the right suitcase is a little more difficult for her because she has sleep apnea and she has to pack a breathing machine. A breathing machine that weighs five pounds. So that explains her shopping technique for the perfect suitcase.
For this trip we are only taking carry-on luggage. We have to. We have a stop in Frankfurt and we don’t want to be losing things in international airports. Plus, we’re just not the type to want to complicate matters (yeah right.). The thing is, you are only allowed one carry-on suitcase and one personal item like a purse or a laptop or something. The carryon luggage can’t weigh more than 17.5 pounds. That seems like a lot for just a week’s trip until you figure out that the wheels on your carry-on luggage weigh a good pound and then the suitcase with a frame itself weighs, oh I don’t know 5 pounds, then there are jeans and coats and kablamo you’re up to 17.6 pounds. Rinse, repeat. It’s a bit trickier than we thought.
I am a light packer by nature. At least I thought I was. I was always the girl who carried her toothbrush and toothpaste in her purse and was ready for adventure at a moment’s notice. Sleep over? No problem! I use other people’s shampoo with out a ping from my conscience. But Paris is a different matter all together.
We had a conference call last week about what we should pack. Our group leader pretty much outlined it like this: Pack ONE pair of pants, preferably the synthetic kind with zipper pockets (which I don’t have) ONE to TWO T-shirts, ONE to TWO button-up shirts (not a big fan) and A kevlar jacket with a hood (which I also don’t have). I looked at the pictures from their group last year…and… well, I probably failed to mention that I am traveling with a group of senior citizens. I hope I don’t offend them or anyone reading this, but I’m just not ready to dress like a fifty-five-year-old yet. How am I going show my stylish inner French girl when I have to wear zipper pocket pants and a sack shaped wind breaker? She also told us we could trade shirts with our travel buddy and that way we could add a little variety to our wardrobe. What! That’s not gonna happen. First off my mom and I don’t wear the same size. And secondly, I have enough trouble wearing my own dirty shirt, I don’t want to wear somebody else’s. So I’m a little worried.
[editor’s note: I hope anyone reading this knows that while I may seem to be judging my fellow traveler’s choice in clothing… it is just that, a first impression. I’m fully aware that they are world travelers and probably quite fabulous. I’m sure they will be teaching this not so springish chicken a thing or two about fashion.]
There’s also the coat factor. I don’t live in Oregon so I don’t really wear a coat that often. I wear coats for style, not necessarily for comfort in weather. I like to buy my coats from thrift shops and the woolier the better. I have a dark blue pea coat that weighs a thousand pounds and pretty much deflects bullets and a Secret Agent Green boiled wool coat that is cozy but not very heavy. They both look great on. Do they have hoods? No. Do they repel water and drizzle and snow? Um, no. Do I want to go out and buy another coat? No. What to do, what to do…
So I’m thinking of wearing the lighter coat and just layering up underneath with hoodies and long sleeved t-shirts. Do you think that will work? I’m just not that keen on kevlar. I mean, I would be if I was going to be backpacking in the Rocky Mountains but I’m going to Paris! Fashion headquarters of the world! They don’t make wind breakers with stripes do they?
Then there’s the whole laptop issue. The group leader IS NOT a fan of the laptop. I made the mistake of asking about it. She doesn’t know about my addiction to my blog. I don’t even think she knows about my blog… yet. She doesn’t know that I consider myself an undercover travel writer and this is the big time trip of my life. Who cares that I don’t make any money writing about travel, it’s still my mission in life. I blog, therefore I am. Also, I intend to take so many pictures that the only way I can store them all is to carry around a hard drive with me. Yeah, I know they’ve got some coolio little 2 gig ipod now and Apple intends to make an adaptor so you can hook up your camera to it and download your photos… but I can’t count on Apple. They’ve let me down before. I think the laptop is the best way to go.
As long as I can find a really really compact but protective backpack to carry it in. Like this one for example. I think this will fix me up. Right now I’ve got the uber-protective Brenthaven laptop bag that weighs about fifty pounds without the laptop in it and sixty with it. This bag gives me skoliosis every time I travel with it. It’s the worst. But I could drop my laptop out of a sixty story building in it would survive.
I told Toby I need to get a new laptop bag and he’s starting to think this trip to Paris is just an excuse to get new stuff. Maybe he’s right but I just can’t see myself hauling that uber-bag AND my duffle bag of clothes. Maybe I should consider my laptop my carry-on and stuff all my clothes in my purse. That’s how serious I am about taking my laptop with me. I cannot be talked out of this. I’m just not going to tell our group leader about the laptop until I’m there. She’s gonna love me.
Don’t worry, I don’t intend to haul my laptop around Paris with me. I’ve already read up on that. I’d be pick-pocket bait on the metro. I’m going to leave it in our hotel locked up safe. I’ll just be using it at night so I can download photos and of course write my daily post. Or at least that’s the plan.
One more issue: How many cameras is too many cameras? And how badly do I not want to look like an idiot American tourist vs. how badly do I want to capture every single moment so I can obsessively relive my vacation for years to come? Of course I’ll take the spy camera ’cause it’s small and it does have video features (except those video features are for email and web size movies only). I’m thinking about taking the Canon 10D because well, it’s the artsy camera and of course there will be a million things to take artsy shots of. And then there’s the digital video camera. It’s small too but THREE cameras around my neck. That’s a little much. I could pack the 10D in my suitcase and just take it out for special shots like a night shot of the Eiffel Tower when we’re riding our night boat ride down the Seine (yep, we’re doing that). And I suppose I could pack the video camera as well and only use it on super cinematic days. One friend of mine, (who’s a pretty talented movie maker) told me to definitely take the movie camera and that he personally would teach me Final Cut Pro so we could make the mother of all home movies about Paris when I get back. BUT… three cameras! I might as well get some binoculars and wear a Hawaiian shirt. Maybe a hat with a fan in it?
I’m making myself crazy. What else is new?
Does anybody (who managed to read this far down) have any suggestions?