Overpacker’s Anonymous

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If I am traveling by plane, I am able to condense and consolidate. I know HOW. But, if I travel by car – especially if I’m the only one going – I keep adding things into every conceivable nook and cranny, leaving just enough room for using the mirrors. It’s safe, but VERY full. I CAN pack light, but why not take everything I might conceivably need.

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This year’s writing retreat was no exception. One other writer and I suffer from the same affliction. We stand in start contrast to another author who walks in with the bare minimum. There is a SMALL suitcase of clothes. She knows there is a washer and dryer to allow her to re-wash and wear again – no need to bring clothes for every day especially since we only leave the house to restock groceries. Otherwise, we stay at our desks writing for hours on end. The only other items she brings are her laptop, a few resources (most are online or flash drive) including her Bible. Add in a table, chair and lamp and she is done carrying in after 2 loads.

My friend and I counted at least a dozen trips apiece this year. We also only bring a small suitcase knowing there is a washer ad dryer as well as the obligatory laptop and resources. The similarities end there. We bring more than one table and/or light source as well as a chair that is more comfortable than a folding chair (what most of the writers bring. To clarify, sometimes they come in handy for us or others. We bring items of comfort – our own pillow, blanket, meaningful knick knacks (usually involving a frog – which has become our writing mascot). And enough food to stay a month. So does everyone else – bring food, I mean. At least we won’t be starving artists…or writers (both are creative people).

My friend has a better excuse than me because she also brings her sewing machine to do a little (or a lot of) quilting for part of the week. So that explains some of her haul, so what is my defense. In looking around my room – nothing. Half of the stuff I bring, I will never use. Some of the items I left at home, I wish I had and occasionally, I brought what someone else needs to borrow (it happened again this year).

Overall, I bring too much. So does my quilting writer-friend.

Which is why it was so funny when she texted me as she was loading the car to confess that she needed an intervention. We laughed because it reminded us of one addict confessing to another addict about something they both were unable to resist. Rather than reach out to our minimalist writer-friend for suggestions, we lament to someone who will validate and approve our over packing tendencies.

Later this year, I am planning a return trip to Israel. It is not my first overseas adventure. I have the skills to pack lighter and I will. The threat of overweight baggage fees (which i had to pay once) is a great motivator. I will be given limits as to what and how much I can bring with me; and besides, I will need space for souvenirs to bring home.

Interestingly, I will be traveling with my minimalist writer friend who doesn’t think I CAN pack lighter. Challenge accepted.

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Details about our upcoming trip to Israel can be found here.

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