Accidental Tourist

I’m a world-class packer. Probably the result of having divorced parents. I spent years shuttling back and forth with suitcases overstuffed yet invariably missing something essential: homework, an Archie comic, a favorite nightie or a beloved toy. Ten years of missing stuff always in the other apartment, you become an expert on packing what you really need.

As an adult, I travel light: only carry-on whether a week, a weekend or a month, especially if I have access to laundry facilities. And everything in my bag is exactly what I need. A heating coil to make tea in the room for the morning. A travel pillow. Bathing suit for hotel pool. Handiwipes for the hotel remote and phone.

And food.

When I travel, I’m almost that logo of a flying armchair from Anne Tyler’s book or the movie of the same name: a traveler who wishes to have the comforts of home when leaving home, almost like you never left.

When you have a restricted diet, food is not merely a comfort but a necessity.

I have food for the trip there and back, and usually enough food to eat in my room three meals a day for three days. Not gourmet dining but sustenance. I was thinking about this on this last trip to Boston. The Chef asked me why I didn’t come down for dinner the first night? (He noticed, gosh). First, I was exhausted, second, I had brought all this food; now I needed to eat it.

So I wonder, what are your essentials when packing? Do you find you bring everything but what you need most? Or do you bring exactly what you need? Do you bring food? Or do you wing it?


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