There seems to be a collective consensus — there is some kind of virtue to packing light.
We regard the light packers of the world as smart and efficient. They boil their needs to the essence and whiz through airports with ease. My husband is one such soul. He’s mastered it. And good for him. But you know what? I’m here to tell you, I believe in the art of packing heavy.
Sure, it’s hard to lug my bag through airports. Not as much when my light-packing husband lifts the behemoth that is my weekend bag. But when it’s just me, I have momentarily questioned my choice to schlep a bag that is almost double my body weight. (This is where I must thank the kind woman who helped me heave said heavy bag onto a car rental shuttle a few months ago. Shout out to you, glorious stranger.)
But those heave-ho moments fade away when I reach my destination.
For starters, outfits are not meant to be pre-planned. Right? Creative outfitting requires choices and the whims of a moment. And what if it’s cold? A jacket is necessary, but you can’t wear the same one twice. That’s not fresh. And shoes. Comfort matters. Cuteness matters. The only way to achieve both is through quantity.
Pajamas don’t feel crisp two nights in a row. Who sleeps well in day-old PJs? And there are accessories required for sleep — how does one do it without a satin eye mask? Throw it in the bag.
There’s always the possibility a gym will inspire you into a fit of exercise, so bring the workout clothes. And don’t forget those monster-sized athletic shoes. If you’re going to be athletic, you have to fully commit.
But, forget my needs. I have a family to consider. Oh, you scraped your finger? Those pesky papercuts hurt! Fear not dear light-packing family members, I’ll fetch you a Band-Aid. Did I hear hungry? Which sounds better, a Luna bar, a Kind bar, or a pre-measured sandwich bag of assorted nuts?
Dry skin is a real bugger after airplane travel, isn’t it? Let me grab the full-size bottle of lotion to soothe the discomfort. You’re bored? I brought Rummikub tiles, let’s play! Tight shoulder muscles? Here, use these therapeutic spiky balls to release the tension. Just roll around on them! Headache? Menthol ointment at the ready. Don’t even tell me about your constipation. I’ve got you covered.
These are not excessive, these are the essentials… an organized, mom-directed public service to my community of loved ones.
So I smile when my husband says, which he does every time, “I’m going to pack light.”
“Well, I’m not. And you’re welcome.”
— Jennifer Cramer-Miller
Jennifer Cramer-Miller is a freelance writer and custom home consultant in the Twin Cities. Follow her latest essays at https://jennifercramer-miller.com. She is the author of the forthcoming memoir, Happy to Be Here, and her published pieces are found in Brevity, The Sunlight Press, Grown & Flown, The Kindness Blog, The NKF Kidney Stories MN, The Emily Program Newsletter and Mamalode.