Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Leaving on a Jet Plane

The Visible Woman...travels.

I'm up this morning laundering clothes and finishing unpacking bags. We have more than we left with. We visited our favorite NYC bookstore and bought two books. I saved a couple of play bills and bought two tiny Lego figures of the Statue of Liberty. FFP bought some cologne at the famous Upper East Side Drug Store, Clyde's, and they gave us a canvas bag tote. We have plenty of totes, but who else will be filling a Clyde's tote at the Farmer's Market. So, no, we didn't really accumulate too much stuff.

I try to travel light. On this trip, for a week for both of us, we took one very large checked bag (a 28 inch Eagle Creek) and one overhead carry-on bag (not too large) and a back pack for each of us. The weather promised to be cold with some chance of precipitation so we took mufflers, gloves, umbrellas and our overcoats. (No liners because that's overkill when it's above freezing which it promised to be most of the time.) The umbrellas are very tiny light ones. The hotel will lend us giant ones but you aren't always at the hotel when you realize you need one. It was so warm when we left Austin that we put our overcoats in our checked bag. We avoid the liquids and sharps silliness by putting our toiletries in there, too. That bag also has FFP's hiking boots (he wears some versatile dress/walking shoes on the plane), a sweater for me, a suit for each of us and two shirts for each of us. In addition, there is a supply underwear and socks for each of us.

In our carry-on we have some dressy slacks (we wear jeans on the plane), a few sets of underwear and socks, a change of shirt, FFP's ties, my dressy loafers (I wear the hiking boots on the plane), chargers, my spare glasses, etc. The umbrellas are stashed in there, too, and can be retrieved quickly at the airport. I wore a light sweater on the plane but FFP didn't so I put his one sweater in there.

In our backpacks we carry our iPads (phones are usually in our jacket pockets because we wear a blazer on the plane...they are stashed and locked in the backpack for the trip through security). FFP usually carries a book. I carry emergency things like OTC meds, band-aids, cough drops, hard candy, Kleenex. I also usually carry some sort of emergency snack in case the airline puts us in a situation where nothing is available. I have a folder full of itineraries, info and tickets on paper to back up electronic records accessible on the phone. I also duplicate IDs, credit cards and cash in a security thing. FFP carries his electric razor and some snacks, too, as well as his spare glasses and his sporty golfing cap. He carries his prescription drugs in there, too.

This is designed so that we can survive if our checked bag doesn't arrive or is temporarily lost. We have a clean shirt and underwear and socks. I have my dressy shoes. We can combine the blazers worn on the plane with the dressy slacks in the carry-on. and be presentable anywhere. A trip out to buy toiletries and a few other things and we are good to go. Since I'm checking the overcoats, of course, we might shiver or get a bit wet. If we were going to NYC in February we'd carry our overcoats on board and probably put the liners in them. And, hey, if the airline loses them...we haven't bought new ones in a while! I do pack the gloves, mufflers, etc. in the carry-on. They can make a blazer and sweater much warmer.

One cool thing about trips is that you figure out how little you really need to get along! I like milling around the hotel room with my newspapers and iPad without being taunted with books I haven't read and clothes I never wear. It creates a kind of focus that is, oddly, never quite available at home. It is similar to going out for a walk and a snack with the day's newspapers. Relieved of distractions of home, the news is more interesting. In New York this stark hotel room also provides respite from the busy, busy street scene or stores, people, vendor carts and traffic. I love it but a break is necessary now and then.

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