Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Notes from Literary London: The Art of Packing

When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money. ~Susan Heller

Here I am preparing for the impending trip to London and I have packed too much. My suitcase stands before me wide open and full, and I realize I have not yet packed a single pair of shoes. This will obviously not do, so I commence to unpack the overflowing suitcase and line my clothes across my bed in neat rows. There is a pile for long sleeve shirts, one for pants, another for sleeping in, one containing a couple nicer dresses, etc. Checking the temperature in London, it appears to be around 50 degrees cooler than it is here in Dallas; the weather ranging from upper 40′s at night to upper 60′s during the day. I know this means to pack things that can be layered. I settle then on only what I know I WILL absolutely wear, and nothing that I only might wear. This does not get rid of as much as I was hoping for, but it does make room for a few pairs of shoes. I decide on one pair of boots, flip-flops and a couple flats. I contemplate a pair of heels, and ultimately set them aside to make a decision later. I figure this will be a last-minute impulsive choice. I will pack everything else first, and then, right before I am about to zip up the suitcase, I will decide on whether or not to include them. I still have my books to pack anyway. For class we are reading Oliver Twist and Pride and Prejudice so those are a must. Aside from those I plan to bring three more: Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, William Burroughs’s Naked Lunch and Virginia Woolf’s To the Light House. The first two beatnik novels are for an independent study I’ll be taking over the summer when I return, so I figure it will not hurt to get ahead of my reading for that, should time permit. The other is a book that has been sitting on my bookshelf for over six months now that I have been unable to find the time to read. Besides, reading Virginia Woolf in London just feels appropriate. I place them in a pile beside my clothes, pulling out Oliver Twist, as I am in the middle of reading it for class, and put it in my carry-on bag. Although Dickens can be a bit long-winded, and the book is a thick one, on second thought I take out Pride and Prejudice. It is probably wishful thinking to assume I will finish Oliver Twist in time to begin Jane Austen’s classic but, just in case, I place it in my carry-on. Now, I make a list to determine all the essentials aside from books and clothing that I may need while abroad: passport and Id’s, credit cards, camera, iPod, chargers, toiletries, allergy medication, etc. These I will pack later, as it nears closer to our departure date, now only four days away! It is late though, and so I will leave you on that note to go and dream about the adventures which await me in London. Goodnight for now...

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