On Packing

Trip Start Nov 30, 2007
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Trip End Jan 17, 2008


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Flag of Germany  ,
Saturday, December 1, 2007

I'm writing this at 35 thousand odd feet somewhere over the Atlantic. I'm on the aisle, so I can't exactly tell where we are, but it doesn't really matter. When you're in an airplane, all the points between your origin and your destination become just an uninteractive substitute for the movie. (A Harry Potter movie and Chocolat, for the record. Not that I watched.)


I can't say much about what's happened so far, beyond the fact that the reality of what I'm doing - going on a seven week trip, travelling to the Middle East - is settling in in short little bursts, which I assume portends massive culture shock. Oh, and I can report that I got like six hours of sleep on the flight - with occasional wakeups, yes, but still sleep - and I actually feel more refreshed, which is practically a first. And the flight attendant just commented on my small laptop. ut otherwise a flight's a flight.


When I was planning on coming on this trip, I spent an inordinate amount of time on planning what to bring. I suppose a competent therapist (or really anybody observant, which is the same thing) would say that it was a combination of the desire to buy new things (it's astounding what a large percentage of my stuff is new for this trip) and the desire for street cred (or traveller cred, or whatever). Needless to say, they're right. But I still spent a lot of time working on being able to carry on, damnit.


But it was still neat to first watch my panic over the size of my baggage - oh my god, it's so heavy and huge - once I got to the airport, and noticed I had the smallest bag of everybody in line. And they all had three bags each. I wound up strutting over the fact that I had so little stuff, and it's nice to start out with a win. So yes, I am doing a seven week trip with a single bag that is carry on legal. (Well, it almost fit the check thingy. The bag was bulging a little more than it should've.)


Yet, after all this, I checked the larger bag, moving all of my electronics and meds into the small daypack, so I don't have too carry 25 pounds of junk all over Frankfurt - in effect, I'm using checked baggage as luggage storage.


Yes, folks, this is all you get. I haven't been anywhere exciting yet.


But if it's worth saying, it's worth analyzing in detail:
Of my stuff for this trip, 26% of the weight is clothing (not including the outfit I'm wearing). 15% is the luggage I'm carrying around. About 13.5% each in photographic equipment and books/paper things. (The latter is actually more now; I bought a Thomas Friedman book in the airport. Haven't opened it of course.) This computer (I love my Eee PC) is about 11% of the weight, and the remaining 13.7% is "misc", including a couple electronic gizmos, my toiletries and all the little cruft I carry.


So I'm well equipped, or at least I can truthfully say I spent a lot of time (and money) being equipped. Let's see what happens when the real world applies.
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