I arrange my clothes and shoes and presents inside the suitcase. Then do a self tally in my mind. Is that all?
I can hear my husband calling, “Are you done? Can I zip up the suitcase?”. While I nod dreamily in affirmation, something inside me screams that I am missing something critical!
But then it is time to leave. So we do close the suitcase shut.
Anything missing can always be bought – in any part of the world.
I love travelling.
I love the build up to it; planning and buying stuff days before; assembling travel size cosmetics and medications; planning what to wear when; the tickets and hotel bookings and pick up arrangements.
Even with the mundane trip to the grocery, I get ready for it. I plan errands on the way, organise what I need and throw in my laptop or iPad or a book, in fact, all of these in most cases, for the ride.
I spend time organising the home that I would leave behind. Instructions given, laundry sorted out, payments taken care of.
Not that I am the most organised traveller. Quite the opposite. I make lists I hardly refer to while doing the actual packing. I forget and leave behind items every single time. (But then who doesn’t?!)
Having done all that, I linger; I don’t leave as early as I could. I savour every last minute possible before I actually embark on the journey. I push it to the brink before I actually have to leave.
The idea of the journey suddenly seems more enthralling than the reality of it.
I finally leave and then the next phase of the fun begins. Seeing new faces and glimpses of life through my window is exciting. The possibility of seeing family or friends at the end of the journey is endearing.
But more precious are the moments of forced passivity when your world is confined to the contents of your back pack and influenced by the unpredictable turns the journey might take or interesting strangers you might encounter.
Like the time my Lufthansa flight was delayed due to a ice storm and I had to spend 12 hours in the airport with my 10 month old son, in the company of total strangers. I was in complete love with my first born then, but those hours made me experience a motherhood at a totally different level.
Or the time I watched the documentary “Breath of the Gods”, for the sheer lack of any other entertainment inflight and realised that yoga can move me to tears.
Watching rain droplets fall off the car window during a traffic jam, jumping into an impromptu game of word building when we run out of books and electronics – these are moments I escape into from the daily grinds of
Iife, made possible because I am stuck in a vehicle going somewhere.
Now I see my kids, packing their little backpacks that weigh a ton with their iPads, head phones and a minimum of 2 books (what if you reach the last page in the middle of the ride). I repress my urge to force them to pack lighter. I smile. I have passed on the travel bug.