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Friday, 15 August 2014

Packing anxiety.

I have a disorder which sends me into a frenzy each time I have to pack for a trip. I'm sure it's not a medically recognised disorder. There's probably no such thing as SIPA, Suitcase Induced Panic Attacks. But, if there were such a diagnosis, I'm sure I have it. At the most severe end of its scale. 


It's not my suitcase that's the problem. I love my Mickey Mouse companion and he always creates conversation at the bag drop point and baggage carousel. It's the packing of Mickey that sends the stomach into little conniption fits.




There he is still snoozing at the top of the wardrobe, recovering from his last adventure, waiting for me to take him down to start packing for this one.


Snooze away Mickey, I'm not ready to get you down just yet.

There was a time when I would happily pack away, free of all concern and stress. Oh, but those days are gone. Seriously GONE.

It's now exactly 14 days till MLP and I hop on board something called an Airbus A330-300 to KL followed by something called an A380 to Paris. 

Those "A" numbers are very important to MLP. He even knows which one means the wing tips have a little turned up bit on the end, which one has a bump on top, which one has three aisles. All important boy stuff.

It was vital for him that the A-3-8-0 combination was somewhere on our journey. But not me, for me it's a plane. A plane I have to pack for.

I can feel the stomach starting its gymnastics even as I type.

It's not the flying. I'm not one of those scared-to-climb-on-a-plane-to-fly people. I love flying. Love travel. Love that glass of champagne at the International Airport prior to departure ...  no matter what time of day.

It's the packing.

Making sure I've got everything. But, more importantly, I worry about taking too much.

Do I REALLY need this? 

Will I wear this? 

Will these things work together?

Do I really have to take my trusted hair dryer?

Crazy, I know.

I worry about taking things I won't use, more than forgetting something important. 

I.N.S.A.N.E.

MLP has learnt the hard way. He no longer tries to help me. He knows I will crucify him for any well meant advice. He knows to pack his own bag and retreat to some far corner while I work my way through my SIPA.

Occasionally, I'll peep my head out and ask a vital did-you-pack question. Even sometimes a do-you-think-I'll-need question. But, he knows he has to be very wary of those. They can be trick questions, loaded with dynamite. His answer must be well considered. And he knows not to ask questions, unless they are REALLY important, as that will lead to crucifixion too.

So, with 14 days to go, it's started. The SIPA. 

Even though I've done this many, many times, travelled to many, many places, the SIPA is now creeping through my system.

I have organised piles beginning to appear.

Medical supplies pile. Oh, and those foreign power point adapters.


Yes, I've been to the Travel Doctor. Had the flu shot. Asked all the questions. Gained all the answers.

Travel documents pile, neatly organised in my new travel wallet.


Weird-bits-and-pieces-necessary-for-21st century-travel pile. Charges free credit card is in the mail.


I've read the tips. 

I bought a new backpack handbag because I read the tip that said women are allowed a handbag AND a carry-on AND that we should make the most of it. So, my new backpack-handbag converts. Handbag while boarding plane (Other trusty backpack on back. Not the one whose zip decided to misbehave last adventure.) Fancy backpack while strolling the streets of Paris, London and KL. Big enough to carry my camera and necessaries ... and fancy. Fancy is important.


I've bought the packing capsules. I had some, but not enough for both of us.

I've read about the compression socks, spoken to the Travel doctor about them. They're on my to-buy list. And those weird shaped little neck pillows, we think we're going to get them too.

I'm investigating if I can take my crochet hook and children's scissors on board the plane. Important girl stuff.

But the clothes I haven't dared to think about. That's when SIPA really kicks in. 

In a previous house, I had a spare bedroom across the hall where I would lay everything out on the spare bed, add to, take from, and, for some bizarre reason, I was calm, controlled, stress free …  well, relatively. Maybe this gave me more time to process and visualise. Maybe I need to find a spot like that in this current house?

Across the hall is … the garage. Maybe that would work? Maybe I could put down a sheet and make my organised little piles. Add to. Take from. Be calm, controlled, stress free. I'm sure PT, the Cruiser, won't mind spending a few nights out in the cold.

I think that's worth a try.

Meanwhile, while he's away from home on work, MLP has been thinking.

Tentatively, he suggested we spend the night before we leave at the hotel at the International Airport. Then left me a few nights to mull over that thought. I know he's trying to avoid the departure morning SIPA. And the why-did-we-book-a-taxi discussion that ensues when the booked taxi doesn't arrive ...  again. And the train travel with suitcases in peak hour. Clever man.

So, yes, I think, great idea. Let's do it. In this household there will be no departure morning SIPA. We will have a lovely hotel breakfast and casually stroll across the pedestrian crossing to the airport. 

Booked. Done. Dusted. 

14 days to go and counting.

SIPA yet to fully engage.

Garage organising space option seriously being considered.

What about you? How do you manage packing?

Stress free?

Or SIPA engaged?

Know whether I can take my crochet hook on board?