Thursday, April 15, 2010

Traveling Light

The taxes are now done and mailed, my hair is done, the laundry is done, and now I just need to get packed to go to the Texas Library Association conference tomorrow in San Antonio. I've got an early flight, in part because that's what was available but in part because I figured I might as well make this into a mini vacation. I may go to some of the conference sessions, or I may just enjoy the Riverwalk and see the Alamo again.

I'm going to go for the extreme light packing prize for this trip because I don't want to deal with anything resembling real luggage. I used to be a terrible packer. For a four-day conference I'd bring a suitcase, a garment bag and a tote bag. Then I had an Australian boss I had to take a lot of business trips with. There seems to be some kind of travel gene that Australians have, where they love to travel and are very good at it. My boss was the kind of person who could travel around the world with a backpack, and he scoffed at anyone who needed anything more. On one one-night business trip, I thought I was doing well because I just had my briefcase and the carry-on tote bag that went with my luggage set. I was doing better than my co-workers, who had wheeled small suitcases. My boss had his computer bag. He had a clean shirt, underwear and socks and his toothbrush in one of the side pockets.

I haven't made it to that extreme yet, though I will just be bringing a tote bag tomorrow, but I have learned that packing light makes travel easier and more pleasant. The new airline fees and regulations have also helped force the light packing. It becomes something of a game and a challenge. I don't think I'm quite up to going around the world with a backpack, but I can do an overnight trip with a bag that fits under the seat. My big worry is that since this is a library conference, they'll pass out some big bag of books that I won't be able to get home. I guess I could always stick my purse in my tote bag, declare my tote bag to be my purse and put the bag of books in the overhead bin as my carry-on item.

Still, I wouldn't mind Hermione's little beaded evening bag from the Harry Potter books -- carry your whole life with you in a little purse you can fit in your pocket.

So, off I go to pack minimally and try to get my subconscious to think about the ending to the current book instead of trying to write the sequel.

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