I use to be a “travel light” person. I could pack enough stuff in a 22 inch carry-on and a briefcase to last an entire trip of up to 3 weeks. I learned the art of traveling light over a 38 year period traveling as an investment banker and also for ministry trips, then in 2010, something happened. I packed for a 3 to 5 day trip and was gone for 3 months, and in 2011 a similar thing happened, I packed for 2 weeks and was gone 6 1/2 months. That same year, I also packed light for a 15 day trip to Israel, and while there realized the futility of packing light.
I would be gone and find that I didn’t have enough clothes, or worse, the seasons would change and I had the wrong clothes. Add to that the change the airlines have made in scheduling fewer flights to destinations, which results in overcrowding, and that at times creates situations when carry-on luggage ends up being checked anyway. The airlines have also shortened the legroom making it harder to put a big carry-on under the seat and have any place to put your legs if the bulkhead space is full, and you can’t stow two carry-ons up above.
I started to reflect on travel before the space age when, if you were traveling overseas you went by boat, or here in the states you traveled by train or car, or if less fortunate, by bus. In these cases you knew you would be gone for awhile and packed accordingly. It was also a time when people wanted to take along the proper creature comforts, so they packed large steamer trunks or multiple suitcases, and headed out. It seems a more civilized form of travel to take not only the bare necessities, but also those items that bring enjoyment when you travel. Not having to wash underwear and socks in the sink every night seems much more civilized.
So, I decided I would start to pack the way I really wanted to pack, and take what I really wanted to take. I will still take a small carry-on to handle several changes of clothes and toiletries, just in case the airline loses my luggage, but if luggage is properly identified both inside and outside the bag, it’s rarely lost forever, and usually just misplaced for a day or two.
I’ve also decided that when traveling in the States, when possible, I’ll travel by car. Being in a destination and having to rely on others or rental cars became no fun. I also thought of the days right after 9/11, I was doing consulting for the travel industry in Sedona, when so many people were stranded and could not get home. The exception were those that had traveled in their own vehicles.
No, times have changed my friend, and I must also change. Instead of traveling lighter, I’m going to try and travel more civilized, and be much more prepared for what lies ahead. Air travel is longer fun, between the TSA and over crowed flights, it’s time to look for alternatives. There isn’t the choice when going overseas, except praying the Lord provides first class or business class service, which He has graciously done before, but the days of living out of a carry-on bag are over for this traveler. The Lord willing.
Thanks for reading,