I am lucky enough to be traveling a few times this summer. I am super excited for my trips (There are THREE, people. It’s a BIG DEAL, but alas no plane travel just yet #ineedmoreoxygenthantheyhaveat3000feet). What I am NOT excited for is the packing. Seriously. It’s making me crazy. Like, really crazy.
When I was little I was obsessed with RV’s. They made so much sense to me- when you wanted to go somewhere, you just go, taking ALL of your stuff with you. I was so into them that my Barbies even had their very own pink RV in lieu of a Dream Home. There is a fantastic song by Kacey Musgraves (who is wonderful!) called My House about traveling the US in a mobile home and it speaks to me.
“If I can’t bring you to my house/I’ll bring my house to you…”
I’m not a good traveler. I always want to be, but it’s one of those things where when someone asks why I don’t go more places I just sigh heavily and say “It’s complicated.”
Because it is.
First, and most importantly, I have to pack my medications. Which means I have to check to make sure I have enough of each one to get me through the duration of our trip. This includes math, as I take multiple doses of each prescription. So I check and then recheck, because chances are I miscalculated and thought I needed to have 200 pills when really, I just need 20. I refill the ones that are lagging and then pack them up, usually in two of those gigantic Ziploc bags. When I’m at home, I keep them all in a shoebox on the counter next to the refrigerator (referenced in Friday’s post- it was a great pair of shoes too!)
Next it’s clothes. This part is more universal. Except that my body doesn’t like to regulate its own temperature, so I have to bring twice as many shirts so I can change when I have awkward, weather-inappropriate hot flashes in the middle of the day. (I should really consider only vacationing in tropical places, that way, everyone will be as sweaty as I am. Except that if I went somewhere tropical, my body’s inability to cool itself off might make me implode-#messy)
Then, it’s on to toiletries. I have very specific products I use, and I use a lot of products. Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, dry-mouth rinse. Special nightguard that keeps me from grinding my teeth at night (clinically proven as treatment for migraines, too-bonus!). Those nose strip thingys so I can breath while I sleep. Sensitive skin body wash, sponge-loofah-thing, shampoo & conditioner (both sulfate free!), comb, hairbrush, elastic bands for ponytails, bobby pins. Lotion for body, lotion for face, sunscreen (lots and lots of sunscreen! PS the biopsy hasn’t come back yet, but I’m operating under the assumption that I am sun-allergic). A handful of makeup (which I probably won’t end up wearing, but I like to pretend that I am a girl who wears makeup and not a girl whose makeup will melt off her face during afor-mentioned hot flashes midday leaving a face that looks like this:
Now it’s extras. I am lucky that I no longer have to bring quite so many medical apparatuses (apparati?) with me anymore. Because traveling with a (1) wheelchair and a (2) shower chair is a real pain in the rear. Sure you can rent them when you get wherever, but (1) how are you gonna get me to “wherever” in the first place and (2) um, gross.
Back to packing. Heating pad, for sore muscles. Pillow, because really, who can sleep without their own pillow? Blanket, because backseat of the car? Yeah, you’re now my bed. Computer (so I can write to you from wherever I am!), and all of its bits and pieces- case, mouse, cords, chargers for things. Book to read, reading glasses, second book because chances are I will finish the first book and then I will be bored. Some form of exercise equipment (I am that girl who will wake you up in the morning because she is doing Zumba on mute while you are sleeping- sorry Sissy!) to keep up my cardiologist-mandated exercise plan.
Ok, so I have all of my stuff (In case you haven’t noticed, this post is doubling as my checklist). It’s sitting in a huge pile in the middle of the floor. Now all that’s left is to stuff it into my gigantic rolling duffle bag.
You guys. This duffle bag:
I got it for $25 at TJ Maxx (yes, I am a Maxxinista), and it is so big, I could probably curl up in it and ship myself somewhere. And it rolls, thank goodness, because I fill it up with so much stuff it would break a scale. Before it, I used to have like, 3 different bags to keep track of. Now I just fill up this sucker and even though it’s nearly impossible to move, at least everything’s all in one place. Right?
It takes up half the trunk. All by its lonesome. I don’t travel by plane, and good thing, because if my duffle were aboard, I don’t think we’d make it off the runway.
So I fill up the duffle. I have to sit on it to get it to close. Then I have to sit on the floor and catch my breath because WOW that was hard.
Next, I’m on to the kitchen to grab some snacks. I am allergic and/or sensitive to most everything that can be bought at highway reststops. For instance did you know that BBQ flavored potato chips are NOT gluten free? Those suckers have barley malt in them. Gluten hides EVERYWHERE- not just in dark alleys, but also unabashedly out in the open (gluten has no shame). I am better off bringing my own stuff. I am also more likely to choose V8 juice and pickles for my sodium (it’s a POTSy thing- we don’t retain water so we eat enough sodium to make a cardiologist cry under any other circumstances), which are at least a few rungs higher on the “healthy” ladder of sodium choices. Yes, I know that is an oxymoron.
So I lied. I don’t just have my giant duffle. I have my giant duffle, two pillows (because one is never enough), a blanket, and a bag of food. After I put them in the car, I go back inside to check to make sure I didn’t forget anything.
Which I did.
Oh, and I might need that.
And one of those…
I should probably bring that <justincase>
By the time my travel companions (aka, my long suffering family) go to put their stuff in the trunk, there is very little space.
Ok, I lied again.
There is no space.
We can strap my sister to the roof, right?