Monday, May 19, 2008

A Packer's Lament

Packing is one area that I concede there is a huge male-female difference, at least in my crowd -- with the guys generally getting it better. Or at least it seems easier for them. All reminiscent of old Cathy comic strips with her lamenting about taking two weeks to pack and unpack for a one week trip! Yes, I do realize that we will often be traveling in well-trafficked areas with many retail options...where they would love us to use our credit cards. Still I have to start with a foundation and want to -- Be Prepared.

Almost every woman I know dislikes -- in various intensities, perhaps hates, anguishes, dreads, agonizes -- when faced with the decision of what and how much to pack. And then men like my hubby, blithely open their closet and in less than fifteen minutes pack for a weekend -- or for half a year! Alan already decided on what clothes he's taking and did his dry run.

As for me, I've been thinking about packing for months.... partly because we have small closet areas. And I only deal with one category at a time -- pants, shirts, outerwear, etc. Now I am confronted by my all-time stumper, what shoes to take.

I just took out my trusty copy of Live the Road Trip Dream (the memoir by a couple, the White's, who traveled cross-country for a year in the same size van as ours) to check the woman's packing list...and I feel relieved that she packed seven pairs of shoes.

Read on ONLY if you pack too much -- otherwise this amount of detail will drive you crazy!

Not even a shoe-fetishist, I am having trouble paring down from the same number that Carol White took. My current choices, subject to change:

Keens -- the blue or pinky-purple ones?
Sandals -- Actually, slides, black cushy and comfortable
Sandals -- Brown, multi-strapped inc a back strap
Walking Shoes -- Ecco black flats
Hiking Boots
Birkenstocks -- my crummy old grey ones that I wear as slippers
(and, I didn't count the cheap pair of flip-flops that I wear in campground showers.)

And all but the hiking boots fit in my cute shoe cabinet, under my bed.

Dear Readers -- what do you think? Any suggestions? What would YOU pack?


Carol White - The Road Trip Dreamer said...

No, I didn't have 7 pairs of shoes, did I? Oops - you are right! Well, a girl's got to have her shoes, right? And be cute, even on a long trip!

Barbara, you've got to remember the other tenet of packing that I taught you - multi-use. Everything has to have more than one use - multi-season, multi-outfit, multi-occasion. So, you have picked your basic color that you are planning around, haven't you? Once you get that, then you can choose the shoes that will best serve those multi-needs for all seasons and all occasions. And don't forget that shoes can go inside each other - and yours may even fit inside your hubbies in that cabinet!

Thanks for all your nice comments about the book. We'll be checking back in with you often.

Live Your Dreams!

Phil and Carol

beccamonster said...

I think I would do sport sandals, sneakers, hiking boots, and one pair of nice (presentable) shoes that are still comfy for walking.

Laurie said...

Hello Alan, Barbara: It will be wonderful sharing with you albiet vicariously...I'll visit often. Laurie

Judith said...

Hello Barbara,

It looks as if you have already started to have fun, just planning, talking about it and sharing with friends.

I can't advise you on clothes selection as I always agonize about what to bring. Shoes however, I always pack: my black sneakers, my Keen sandals, my Easy Spirit pumps, and if we are going hiking, and my sneakers won't suffice, then my hiking boots.

See you soon,

Louise Q said...

Hi Barbara,
I'm chuckling about your packing decisions: I am a serious over-packer --- just this past week I went to Boston and took 5 jacket/coats along for this unpredictable weather!
It's fun to read your blog--- I look forward to more.
Louise Q.

marissa said...

This is always a problem I have too. I tend to over pack a little when it comes to clothes but a lot when it comes to shoes.
I agree with Becca on the shoe choice.

Barbara said...

Thanks for all your wonderful comments...and please notice that all who have responded so far are female!

I don't think that I will cut any of my choices...just have to be sure not to add more.

And I found out that Alan is really not that far behind. He is bringing five pairs of shoes.