I have a trip coming up in March that I’m already thinking about. It’s not a long trip, I’ll be spending a weekend in Gatlinburg with the improv group I’m a part of performing at a festival. Even though this trip is well over a month away, I’m already doing my mental planning about it. When we traveled to the festival last year, I made a point to not overpack. I’m rather bad about overpacking. I always assume that I need to make sure I have enough things to cover for whatever scenario my mind can come up with.
“What if something comes up and I’m asked to DJ, I’d better pack some records” is one thought that will pass across my mind. Another is “though I’ll only be gone for three days, I should pack eight pairs of socks.” I’ve read all those articles about traveling that pop up across the internet and in various publications, all of them extolling the great virtues of a weekender bag. I have one, I always take it. But rare is it able to serve me for a whole weekend, it’s more of an overnight bag.
Last year I two took overnight bags with me, those two bags, combined with my messenger bag, served nicely over the weekend as just enough. I had room for the essentials and a few extras in case I stained a shirt, or if anyone challenged me to a street rumble and my shirt ripped open Captain Kirk style mid-battle. The other challenge in wanting to keep my travel load light, outside of practicality, is that we carpooled together down to Gatlinburg last year. Since I can load a good number of people into my SUV, I offered my services to drive down.
As I would have a few others in my car, you want to make sure you have room for their luggage and that you’re not taking up all the space with your bags while shouting “Peasants! You! Toss your humble knapsacks into the yon horseless carriage!” With all the luggage loaded into the back, and me checking it all like any quality suburban dad would, off we went on the road trip down to Gatlinburg.
I like the romanticism of the road trip. A pack of good friends riding along, enjoying each other’s company, and the mix of what comes on the radio. I think of stories I’ve heard of my late grandfather and how he’d wake up early to go out hunting with his buddies. I think of this as we drive along the interstate and I say, in a Maine accent for no reason, “Should be some good pheasant in three points this year. Weather’s clear for it!” I have no clue what I’m talking about and my friends just play along instead of making frantic posts on Facebook to rally The Prayer Warriors on my behalf.
Once we got to the cabin, as I settled down into my room I immediately realized that I had overpacked. This didn’t surprise me, I knew I would, as I always do. Yet, in my worry, planning, and weeks of wondering what to take and not to take, I did overlook one VERY important thing. It was an unseasonably warm Friday and Saturday that weekend, so I left my coat at home. This was something I deeply regretted when we left on a cold, rainy, Sunday morning in the upper 40s and I had just a long sleeve shirt on.
It was a good weekend, but this year I am trying to remind myself that I do not need to take six board games and a portable hibachi with me. I just need the essentials to get through the weekend. Which in my case includes a Bluetooth speaker for music as I’m me and I need my tunes. Anyway, I’m gonna sit here and worry about my travel plan some more. See you next week.