Despite the fact that I’m leaving for Fiji tomorrow, I haven’t even started thinking about packing. You’d think that a child of divorce would have this stuff down pat, right? Every second weekend was spent at Dad’s house, so surely I’d be able to get the necessities into a bag with minimal fuss? No. My suitcases end up full of Just in Cases. I dunno, maybe I will want to do a makeover while I’m there. Maybe I’ll change everything about my personality and decide I really do need to read War and Peace.
So I should probably pack it.
Just in case.
I think it’s because the idea of forgetting something fills me with dread. The problem isn’t forgetting something like a toothbrush (which we can all agree is a necessity, and so you’ll just have to buy one over there, price be damned). No, the problem is forgetting something like the blue shorts. You know the ones. You must have the equivalent in your wardrobe. They’re the pair that make your legs look the least-terrible, and they are the only thing you have that goes with that white top. Of course, if you forget the blue shorts, you can technically wear the brown ones, even though you hate them. You’ll spend the day feeling awkward, having to sit with your spine angled funny so you don’t look pregnant. When you look at the photos later you can immediately see which grandmother you’ve inherited your thighs from.
But to buy new shorts? Don’t be silly. Ridiculous waste of money, when those blue ones are at home.
When I went to Argentina a few years back, I packed incredibly well. Terrified of being mugged or shot or force-fed the tap water, I spent weeks writing endless lists and constantly checking websites for travel warnings. (Spoiler alert: my paranoia was completely unjustified, everyone was lovely, I should calm down). The thing I didn’t plan for was the shorter, trip-within-a-trip up to the Iguazu Falls. It was too hot for almost everything I’d hurriedly thrown in the backpack, so I spent the day in this monstrous fever dream of an outfit:
Maybe it’s the memory of that ensemble that holds me back from packing until the very last minute. Planning didn’t help in that instance, so what’s the point? I mean, I’ve done some prep work, don’t get me wrong. Last week I flew into a panic thinking I had to renew my passport before leaving. New Zealand can turn this stuff around pretty quickly, but with a $300 price tag attached to an ‘urgent renewal’, it was not going to come cheap.
I then discovered I didn’t have to renew my passport after all, so I celebrated my money saving by spending $150 on a new pair of togs.
Since riding that rollercoaster of passport confusion, I’ve done nothing. The new togs still have the tags attached and are still in the bag. My suitcase is somewhere, I think maybe under the bed? I’m pretty sure that before international travel you’re supposed to get all sorts of things organised… registering with embassies and getting shots and things. I haven’t done any of that. I have written ‘blue shorts’ on a post-it note. And my travel buddy and I have worked out the optimal time to arrive at the airport, if we want to fit in a beer before boarding.
That’s basically the same thing as being prepared, right?