Friday, June 15, 2012

Go Ahead, TRY to Pack Me!

All right suitcase, bring it on! Fine. Stare at me with your impassive zippers, your reinforced nylon fabric and your black tote handle! I can take it. Loom there on my bed like a pit bull, thwarting my attempts to concentrate. I've packed bigger suitcases! Better suitcases!
How am I supposed to fit my life into this?!
Yes, it's 3:04 a.m. as I blog this. I'm not leaving the country for two more weeks, but I face some big hurdles. Like closing out everything before I leave... and deciding what I can get into this suitcase, AND one carry-on backpack. Yes, of COURSE I could do checked baggage. But I'm thrifty (*cheap*), poor (*in a First World way*), and want to do this on the "OMG, you are NOT traveling for 3 months with JUST that, are you?" effect (*I have low self esteem*).
It's hard to believe that in a week I'll be on a plane to see my sister near Baltimore, and a week after that, I'll be on a plane to (gulp) Europe. Two months that I'll land in Cairo for a 2-year stay to pursue a Masters in Linguistics at the American  University. So while I don't land anywhere permanent for 2 months, once I leave next Friday, I won't have access to a Mounds candy bar for I just don't know how long. How will I cope.

While two months in France with side trips to Germany and the Netherlands sounds like a paradise, all I can think about is:

What am I going to bring?!?

I've decided to leave with just carry-on luggage see if I can do it.

2 carry-on bags.
1 for clothes and supplies (and small gifts for my hosts)
1 for my computer stuff

It is going to be quite a challenge. My mood has officially been raised to "very nervous," with "insomnia" not far behind. And somewhere in there I'll probably hit "absolute panic." I think that will come next Wednesday. I'll try to create a graph for you. Part of my coping involves not reading the news.

The news? What news? Oh, all that stuff on CNN about the parliament being shut down by the military just before the runoff elections? Who can trust CNN these days? Or Fox? Or Huffpo? Or any newspaper, really.

What I'm worried about is how am I going to fit a jacket, slacks, jeans, shorts, shirts, underwear, socks, three pairs of shoes (sandals, dress shoes, tennis shoes), dress shirt, rain jacket, Indiana Jones hat, 1920s-Era 3-legged camera, cyclotron, and a bandana into something that will fit OVER my head in a plane. I can't! I can't face it.

In the backpack is going my computer, cables, flash drive, mouse, wireless keyboard, reachargeable reading light, headphones, rechargeable batteries, cable splitter, power converter, cow, candlesticks, hurricane lamp, and a pen. And stuff I'm sure I've forgotten.

This week I've had to go through a laundry list of last-minute details: Banking, cellphone, mail, auto, insurance. Photocopies of all important documents:
-Bank account numbers
-Driver's Licence
-Secret Decoder Ring authorization code

I've had to consolidate websites, download software, and give up my beloved 23" computer monitor, my car, and my bike. My goal is to leave behind anything that's not essential for the next three months.

When I get there, I can buy a winter coat, a scarf, gloves. I can pick up second-hand books, buy a small painting for my apartment, and download books to my reader (forgot to "pack" that in my fictional backpack above!) What I can't do is replace the experience of leaving everything and everyone behind. THAT is the adventure. In Egypt I know not one single person. Scary? Hell yes. Worth doing? Absolutely.

I'll post as often as I can. Please comment. I'd love to keep up with anyone following the blog.



  1. That must mean u are leaving your ego behind? That must be a bag in itself. Interesting how will you cope ;)

    Ps I'll watch the news for you and keep sending you updates in the hopes of sabotaging a journey outside the all important walls of the USA

  2. So glad you remembered the Secret Decoder Ring codes! Too many travelers forget those, and THEN where would they be?! Unable to read the Ovaltine ads, that's where! *shudders* <Tubb Stars (TM)

    SO EXCITED to see this blog! Looking forward to experiencing this adventure virtually. Safe travels, Graeme!

  3. I love your blog! And the picture of you packing is priceless. I SO identify. I hope you keep posting. What an exciting time to be in Egypt and the Middle East. It is easier to go than it is to come back.

    Your cousin,


  4. Nance!
    I owe you a phone call. And don't worry. Day 0 is not the beginning of some kind of zombie apocapypsinka extravaganza, it's just the beginning of my trip. My phone doesn't go off (gulp) until the 29th, (gulp).