|Black and black and blue. Not exciting, but comfortable and covered.
Yesterday I finalized my packing lists. I tried on all the pieces I intended to bring, and decided which pants and tops and shoes were appropriate for each activity, in various weather conditions. Day wear is easy. Jeans, short-sleeved or long-sleeves tees with or without a jacket or hoodie, with or without a scarf, with or without a raincoat, and sneakers. But evening wear was frustrating me somewhat. I wanted to smarten up my look a bit for dinner, without packing too many extra pieces to do so. I jettisoned a pair of black leggings for my black, cropped Rag and Bone pants, and added another long-sleeved tee that will work with both the black pants and my white jeans, with or without my Helmut Lang jacket. Below you can see the mess I created on the bed in the spare room as I rummaged and tossed and ruminated.
|After the bomb, before the sorting.
I decided I would pack my new Uniqlo down vest, after all. I love it so much. And because I’m bringing it, I threw in this navy, white, and pink Massimo Dutti striped cotton sweater which I bought to take to South America last year, and haven’t worn since. I’d almost forgotten about it until Ann in Missouri commented on this post about a similar striped sweater she’d purchased from the Ines de la Fressange collection for Uniqlo. Thanks Ann.
|My new Uniqlo down vest with Paige jeans, and a navy striped Massimo Dutti sweater.
I also decided that I will not make the same mistake I made packing for England last year. My error was bringing too many different outfits for evenings in London. I really need to remember to, “Keep it simple, Sue.” The idea of big, famous, foreign cities can still freak me out a little, until I get there, and feel stupid and silly for worrying. I should know that classic, well-fitting jeans or black pants, and a good blazer will take me pretty much anywhere. Or anywhere we’re likely to be dining. I despair sometimes, folks, I really do. Because, you know, despite being sixty-two, and travelling as much as I have, I can still feel like the kid from the farm.
|The kid from the farm goes to Italy.
Here’s what made the cut yesterday. Starting in the upper left corner of the shot below. I’m packing: white jeans, black pants, three pairs of blue jeans, a black blazer, a black zippered sweater, one light pullover sweater, one light hoodie, one down vest, 3 long-sleeved tees, 4 short-sleeved tees, 3 scarves. Plus loafers, running shoes, and flat sandals. Plus my Moncler anorak and my Stan Smith Adidas which I’ll probably be wearing on the plane. I am not taking a dress, or a skirt, as I’d considered doing, and I’m packing only one pair of pants that might be considered even remotely “smart.” C’est tout. Or I guess I should say: questo è tutto.
|All laundered, pressed, folded and ready to pack.
So, only two more sleeps until we leave. The garden is cleared. Thanks to everyone who helped us eat our way through all that produce. The fridge is almost empty. My lists are finished and mostly checked off. The laundry and ironing done, clothes all neatly folded and waiting to be packed. I’ve had my “trip haircut” and colour… thanks Carmen. Tomorrow I do the actual filling of the suitcases and carry-on bags. We travel with two small spinner, carry-on size, bags which we always check. And a tote bag each. I’m a very lean packer. Hubby is always astonished at what I can get into a small suitcase. We’re excited. And a little nervous, as we both always are until we get where we’re going.
It feels a bit like the night before the first day of school when I was a kid. When the new Barbie lunch box and thermos sat waiting on the kitchen counter, the new book bag was all packed with sharpened pencils, and fresh notebooks (which we always called scribblers), and the new first day of school dress was pressed and hanging in my closet. What anticipation! Then… and now.
But before I go I wanted to say a few words about all those oh-so-confident articles and posts, the ones that purport to tell us how to do things, like pack for travel. I’m always suspicious of people who have all the answers. I’m reminded of that scene from Pride and Prejudice when poor, flustered Maria Lucas insists she has to repack her case because the inimitable, and all-knowing, Lady Catherine de Bourgh has told her how to do it properly. Poor Lady Catherine, she ends up thwarted in every way. Her daughter does NOT marry Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet does, and, with a little encouragement from Elizabeth, Maria Lucas packs her bags to please herself. Ha. That’s what comes from trying to tell people what to do.
That’s kind of rich, you might be saying, from someone who worked as a teacher for thirty years. But telling people what to do has never been my style, in or out of the classroom. I’m more of a “let’s have a conversation about this” kind of gal.
Now it’s time for the part of the conversation where you talk, my friends. What’s your take on those bossy articles and posts that tell us the five, or ten, or fifteen things we absolutely need to do, or have, or whatever? Or tell us how you spend the last couple of nights before a big trip, when the decisions about what to pack are made, and everything is almost ready to go. Are you able to keep excitement tamped down to a reasonable level?
P.S. My blog post schedule will be sketchy for the next while. But you can follow me here on Instagram. I’m sure I’ll be posting lots of photos.
P.P.S. When I refer to “bossy blog posts” I am not talking about the truly helpful packing posts which simply discuss the travellers own experiences with packing. Like the ones at Une Femme d’Une Certain Âge or Materfamilias Writes. I love those ones.