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Stop Packing Your Suitcase

Within a month I am going to have an “out of house” experience. I am going on a trip to the United Kingdom (UK) spending the majority of my time in Scotland.

I signed up for a walking tour and apparently not many other people wished to walk around, so that tour was cancelled and now I am on a Castles and Highlands tour. There are moments when I am just so excited I can hardly stand it and other times when am working very diligently to be prepared.

For the last 23 years, I have been the stay at home parent, while my partner went to work conferences, mountain climbs, and bicycle tours. We did some family camping adventures, but most of our travels involved going to Grandparent’s homes and enjoying their good company and hospitality. We did not wander far.

I made it a point to make sure that each of my children got a trip to someplace else on this planet in hopes of helping them be better global citizens and understanding human beings. I accomplished this.

When I got to thinking about how I wanted to spend my 60th birthday, I had no hesitation. I knew right away that I wanted to see my forbearer’s homeland – Scotland. My Parents had been reared in Canada and I have been from Ocean to Ocean in that country with family guidance.

I haven’t been exploring and relaxing in any other locations for a very long time. It is my turn, so to speak.

Now I am chronically packing my suitcases. This is problematic and is a form of anxiety produced by years of mothering.


These are things that need to fit into my trip suitcase:

  • I can only take one suitcase of limited dimension and only 49 pounds – I did this before I can do this again.
  • I can take only a day pack sized back pack or carry on because the larger ones with handle and wheels do not fit into the luggage racks of the bus
  • I can only take what I can handle myself
  • Passport, money and food, because I only get 1 meal per day – Breakfast.
  • I do not know what clothing to take, but I do not wish to take very much – simple
  • I did find an amazing pair of shoes which I can walk 6 miles in and no problems uphill and flat surface
  • Voltage converter – very heavy
  • My IT person says NO COMPUTER – so she bought me several smaller journals to write in and compile my posts.
  • I have a nice compact digital camera and my exquisite photographer will be joining me
  • Personal items and supplements – essential to life for me; must be in original packaging which is extremely heavy.
  • Blog Care: guest bloggers, and written ahead posts for 2 blogs, and an IT person for maintenance. Many of these things are being checked off as I write today.

Now this really is not such a bad list and I am very organized, the problem comes when I mentally start packing the suitcase – over and over again. Did I remember the sun screen or the toothbrush? Then I reassure myself by saying I can purchase something if I forget. I move on to packing other items into my suitcase and worry about that item.

This anxiety does not get me packed or resolved. It just escalates the worry. The primary problem is that I am busy packing the suitcase and not thinking about the places I will go and the people I will meet or the things that I will see.

As of today I am stopping packing my suitcase and have set up a schedule for being prepared and enjoying my trip. I have used the blocking technique suggested by so many coaches and set aside a few minutes every day to look at the itinerary and look up on the Internet that location. I will physically take my suitcase out of the attic the weekend before my trip and pack it with clean and fresh gear. I have 3 more items to take care of and I have set aside 30 minutes each week to accomplish those items. Whew!
I am now in the present. I have stopped packing and packing that suitcase. I am feeling productive, excited, and as though I will be ready to go and enjoy my adventure.

How about you? How do you focus on the adventure and not the suitcase? How do you shift out of worry and get to the present when you find yourself going there?

Take a deep breath and stop packing your suitcase… truly I mean it…ah doesn’t that feel better?

32 Responses to “Stop Packing Your Suitcase”

  1. Mike Says:

    The last few times we went somewhere without our camper, I didn’t even start packing until the night before we left.

    In 1993, we flew to British Columbia and so over-packed it was ridiculous. We had one HUGE suitcase, two large suitcases with wheels and two carry on bags with wheels — all of this for a thirteen day trip.

    In the 70s, I flew to Scotland 6 times and, each time, everything I needed for 3 1/2 months was packed in one seabag. Of course, most of that time was spent at sea after we got the sub shipshape and “set sail.”

    Today, when we travel without the camper, I just make sure I have enough clothes for the time we’ll be gone, all the toiletries I generally use, my camera, and my computer.

    And, yes, sometimes we do need to stop to pick up something we forgot — like a light jacket when temperatures were cooler than we expected one time.

    Mikes last blog post..Eyes of the Great Depression 031

  2. Positively Present Says:

    EXCELLENT post! I definitely have a hard time turning my attention to where I’m headed. I’m more of a packing-the-suitcase-for-weeks kinda girl, which doesn’t exactly promote living in the moment. I’m going to give some thought to how I can focus more on the journey and less on the packing.

    Positively Presents last blog post..are you a g.o.o.d. person?

  3. Patricia Says:

    I used to be so good and simple packing and get up and go, I don’t know where this anxiety came from, but I think I have nipped it right down to form. The blocking technique is helping. Thanks for your good words and ideas – everything helps.

    Positively Present,
    It is sometimes so hard to be present in the moment, but the joy is in the present not in the worry!

  4. Vered - MomGrind Says:

    We travel a lot, so I don’t worry too much about packing and logistics.

    Sounds like you’re handling it well. I’m sure you’ll have a great time – what a wonderful trip!

    Vered – MomGrinds last blog post..Friday Links

  5. bunnygotblog Says:

    This a great article and I am so excited for you.
    I really love the part where you wanted to have your children see other countries. That, I agree with totally! So important and now it is your time.

    I wish you the best and have a safe trip.

    About the food – isn’t there a price level- like $30. Please check into that :)

    Hope you have I wonderful birthday xox

    bunnygotblogs last blog post..Advertising Towards Dummies: Celebrities, Movies, Role Models, Money

  6. Patricia Says:

    I believe it will be a wonderful trip and I am enjoying the preparation more as I take time out to look at the spots I am going to go to and see what information the web has to offer.

    Sometimes I am too excited for me! I think it will be a wonderful way to celebrate a birthday.
    It was very important to me that my children understand “Global” and that their small spot on the map was not the whole Globe. I also wanted them to have something big and worthwhile to earn their way towards…how good it feels to have a goal and achieve it.

  7. Betsy Wuebker Says:

    Oh, how excited I am for you! And, IT person aside, you could take an itty bitty netbook. I’m never without mine now.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about what to pack. If you forget something that’s really necessary, you can purchase it there. Make sure your clothing does double duty and remember none of these people is ever going to see you again, so why does it matter if you wear the same things over and over again? Shoot for way less than the 49 pounds. Trust me and any other schlepper you can think of. 😀


  8. Sara Says:


    I am so excited for you. I’ve heard Scotland is BEAUTIFUL, especially the castles!!! Lucky you.

    Travel tips: Be sure you have shoes that are easy to remove when you go through security (I made a mistake and wore tennis shoes, which were a pain to remove and put back on.). Also, try not to wear a belt or more jewelry than a watch.

    Don’t get angry at the security people, even if they test your patience!

    Take a comfy sweater and warm socks…you will need them on the plane! After you go through security, DO buy water even though it’s expensive…they never give you enough on the plane!

    Also, plan to dress in layers and only take one warm jacket…more than that will just weight you down. When I traveled to Switzerland I took way too many warm clothes and regretted it!

    Last of all, take lots of pictures and enjoy every minute of this trip…you will have so much fun!

    Saras last blog post..I’m a blogger and a winner!

  9. Patricia Says:

    I do not have a little notebook, just a very heavy laptop…I think we will be using internet cafes. I also do not have a phone that will do data on the web…..that would cost $64.90 to rent one for a month, we are weighing that option this morning.

    Thank you for all the good info about packing. My goal is 40 pounds maximum, because I want to bring a couple things home with me….like a hand knit sweater…and I need my own tartan broach to hold stuff in place – they are heavy!

    I have been saving all my wedding money, funeral money for years for this trip, then my mum’s estate paid me back for all the memorial services costs…bought the tickets a year ago…

    Wow everyone has such good ideas….about what to pack…
    I will need those socks for sure…
    Thank you for the good wishes too!

  10. Jannie Funster Says:

    Oh, who can blame you for being so dad-blamed excited about your U.K. trip!!!!!!! You’re supposed to be excited and planning, Girl. So revel in your packingness.

    Love the old suitcase pic, so nostalgic of old movies. I can smell its leather and 20s dance halls now. The thrill of adventure.

    I do suggest wheelie suitcases whenever possible, makes things soooooo handy for airports, train stations etc. You won’t regret wheelie cases. For carry-on too!

    Let me guess, voltage converter for blow dryer? I HAD to have one of those too. Could not have flat hair. I’m so vain. (I probalby think this post is about me.)

    Hey, you can always mail yourself back stuff, go Surface Mail?

    And I really recommend knits when possible, they don’t wrinkle generally and are sooooo comfy.

    I suggest you take one good cardigan, one light jacket, 3 shirts and 2 or 3 pants. 3 pairs socks. And as many bras for the same amount of days you’re gone, so you can fling them and leave them there! :)

    Oh, and a pretty scarf and earrings to dress yourself up in case the occasion arises.

    And leave the thong undies Stateside, okay? Not so comfy for those long flights. 😉

    As to forgetting stuff, they do sell stuff over there too. :) I had forgoten my make-up kit! And bought a foundation and mascara there.



    Jannie Funsters last blog post..Guess where I am today?!

  11. Patricia Says:

    Thank you for all the good pointers and suggestions. And the rap-reply – you are one talented and busy gal today!
    My hair is air dry to curly….converter is for Kindle and DS player…I thought I might rent a Global phone too…but food maybe a more important expense!…
    No wheelie back backs…I am going to use one of the kids…
    I have a sundress that is lacy to pull on cover other clothing for dressing up…and Celebrating Alex, Someday Syndrome’s Birthday in Edinburgh with his Friend Andrew G Hayes. I have figure out how to get a hold of Joanna Young, she lives there too…might like to go out for a drink too?
    Oh this is so fun…23 days and counting..

  12. Patricia Says:

    I am making lists of your suggestions..They are great!

  13. Mark Says:

    I can truly understand your excitement and how easy it is to get lost in the future of your trip. You are aware of your propencity to get lost in the future and leave the presence and you have used that awareness to bring you back to being in the moment. Awareness is the key, once you are aware of where you are then it is simply a matter of shifting gears to be here, now. You have used your experience to share a valuable lesson about how to recognize where you are and how to bring yourself back to the moment you are in now which is the only true time there is.
    You are going to have an amazing trip! You have every right to be excited!

    Marks last blog post..Where Does Force Get You?

  14. Mama Zen Says:

    I know exactly what you mean about mentally packing that suitcase!

    Mama Zens last blog post..My Guest

  15. Patricia Says:

    Thank you for coming on by, I am in the present right now, writing and writing to get the blog ready for a “sitter” and “guest posters”

    I think awareness is key.
    I am also enjoying taking a few minutes each day to discover something about where I am going.
    Excitement is very close to the surface.

  16. Patricia Says:

    Mama Zen,
    I think this all started when I was packing diaper bags…by the time there were 3 kids the anxiety and mental packing was a big habit!

    Thank you for coming on by…

  17. J.D. Meier Says:

    Packing is a great forcing function and reminder of what’s important.

    My cross-country trips always remind me that wherever you go, all you really bring with you is your skills. That’s why I’m such a fan of skilled living. Skills and self-reliance can go a long way.

    J.D. Meiers last blog post..Information x Focus = Personal Reality

  18. Patricia Says:

    You are so wise and skilled at living…I have just been a sittin’ at this old computer for too long…
    Isn’t it nice though to take your own toothbrush and paste?

    My neighbor says I should take my own TP and forget the rest!

  19. Davina Says:

    Patricia I’m so excited for you. You’ve been planning and looking forward to this for a while and it’s almost here! Feel the buildup? :-) When I have travelled I start with a list of everything I can think of that I need to pack. Then, I actually pack it to see if I can make everything fit. From there I pare down or add as I see fit. The list always changes during this process. When I’m satisfied, I unpack! Yes I do. Once I get that out of my system I can relax.

    Davinas last blog post..It’s All About Me — Or Is It?

  20. Patricia Says:

    That would be a good anxiety stopper. I did have my backpack all set and pre packed – trials for what I could carry as I am wearing it on my walk in the mornings. Now they say wheeled back packs will not fit on the bus racks. I have time to make a change and practice some more

  21. Kay Lilland Says:

    Wow…my best wishes for you and your trip. Who’s the exquisite photographer who’ll be with you? Someone I know?

    I cross my fingers that our travel plans will let us see the other in August. I plan to be in WA Aug 1 to 12.

  22. Patricia Says:

    My photographer is your Goddaughter! Virginia said that you would be here for Pat’s Birthday around August 30th?

    Patricias last blog post..Stop Packing Your Suitcase

  23. Kay Lilland Says:

    That suggestion about leaving your dirty unders in far-away places…! I must think about that a bit.

  24. Patricia Says:

    One trip my kiddo went on we found a sale of undies for 10 pair for 10 dollars…we bought 2 sets and she just threw them away…I have also heard someplace has paper undies ….I think I have that area covered!!

  25. Cricket-Tammy Says:

    I know you are so excited about this trip! I’m looking forward to one of those grown up experiences one day. Not wishing my life to hurry…but I do often ponder a trip of total relaxation!

    I do travel a great deal with work. Sometimes on a plane twice a week. I usually don’t worry about the details that much. I make my list. Grab my clothes…and never forget my camera.

    I’m sure a trip of a lifetime such as this would make me check my list over and over again!

    Cricket-Tammys last blog post..In Hiding…that’s all

  26. Relax Says:

    Enjoy your trip.
    I think you can just buy most of the things you need at your destination.
    Money can solve this problem easily. 😛

  27. Patricia Says:

    Tonight I am unpacking my suitcase! I have my camera, but an 11 pound voltage converter…do I really need that? still thinking yes…I am trying to take less and less with me. I am truly enjoying exploring some of the sites I will visit and that is changing my focus.

    I want to enjoy the present and the excitement and every moment when away…savor the experience

  28. Patricia Says:

    Yes, money can solve many of these worries…for sure, but I am very tight with funds for this trip…My mother would say I should not go because of the economy
    I think the time is just right for me…
    Welcome to the blog and thank you for your good comments

  29. Talon Says:

    Every time I travel I end up using 1/10 of what I’ve packed…and I think waiting until the day before is a good plan. Spend the run up time really anticipating how much fun you’re going to have. I’ve never been to Scotland, but my husband has and he was blown away by how beautiful and full of history it was. I’m thinking you’re going to have a well-deserved amazing time!

    Talons last blog post..Sunshine and ice…

  30. Robin Says:

    Oh Patricia – have a great time! (a well packed one) – R

    Robins last blog post..An Eventful Month

  31. Dot Says:

    Sounds like a fabulous trip! I’d love to go too. Some of my ancestors are from northern Ireland. Someone at work just returned from 3 weeks in Scotland and called it “wildly beautiful.”

    As for packing, years ago I developed a packing list and saved it on my computer. It helps me not to forget essentials like medications when I’m in a rush to pack and leave.

    Dots last blog post..My Mother Has Passed

  32. patricia Says:

    I just got out the smaller suitcase and am thinking simplicity. I am truly enjoying spending a bit of time virtually visiting spots before I arrive. Much nicer way to arrive. Thank you for comment and welcome here.

    I am just so excited and I believe I will be in touch with some of my inner history – I am anticipating some self healing and magic on this journey.

    I too have a list on my computer and I had not thought of it – thank you for the reminder – that will help.
    I also have lists about taking care of the dogs, and watering pots….I think I will just let my husband figure it out himself while away…and my book group all say – DO not fill the cupboards with food for him…he will not eat it and it will all be there upon the return – I think they are correct.
    Thank you for coming on by Dot – I am keeping you in my thoughts today.