Let’s cut to the chase: I don’t. Travel light, that is. Ever. Not even for a week in Wales (Hello Tŷ Newydd!).
On the other hand, I am ace at packing (think Russian dolls), so space is rarely an issue.
It’s the weightlifting that’s a problem when I travel. Which is probably why I don’t do much of it. I’m a rubbish sailor, and not much better in aeroplanes, but I’ll do my best if I can take EVERYTHING I need. But then there’s the full-body workout required to cart stuff around.
Like my suitcase, rucksack and handbag, stuffed to overflowing with essentials. I mean, who doesn’t go on a Poetry Masterclass without four different notebooks (A4, A5, mini and micro), two blue biros, a black one and a pencil? And purple, red and green biros and a highlighter pen, just in case. Scissors, Sellotape and a glue stick, again just in case. Paperclips (because I forgot the mini-stapler – what was I thinking?). A sewing kit (because you never know), snacks in case they forget to feed me (as if – the food here is legendary), and enough shampoo and conditioner for three weeks (I might get stranded here and will need to wash my hair).
Then there’s the footwear situation. I packed my walking boots this time because Tŷ Newydd is in set in beautiful (but muddy) walking country, but there are other shoes and boots required, too.
I always wonder at stories of people who go back-packing across God-knows-where with little more than a toothbrush and a microfibre flannel. How do they do it? Don’t they need at least two changes of clothes per day, plus some spares? And what about technology? Phone and lap top are essential, although I had to concede that bringing the tablet as well was overkill, and I had to leave behind my ‘proper’ camera (my trusty Canon DSLR) because I’m here to write, not take photos (ahem, the phone did it). Then there’s the hairdryer, hot brush, ten types of hair clips, two types of hand cream, bottled water, and a partridge in a pear tree.
But I did ditch the coat, on promise of good weather, settling instead for layers under a mac-in-a-bag cagoule (and then the clouds rolled in).
I also ceded the dictionary (they’re available on-line when the internet works), but suggesting I leave behind my 40-year-old Thesaurus was a step to far.
I’ve heard some folk say that using a Thesaurus is akin to cheating. NO! It’s just a tool, that’s all. A book of words that won’t write for you your poem/story/novel/begging letter/blog post (delete as appropriate). But when you get to a certain age (so I’m told), all the words in your head swim around out of reach, and the thesaurus can just prompt the right ones to surface.
Now, I need to find a competition that gets you to use weightlifting, Roget and poetry all in the same sentence. Any ideas? (Answers in poetic parentheses, please!)