I Wash My Clothes in the Shower

December 22 – Travel

How did you travel in 2010? How and…where would you like to travel next year? (Author: Tara Hunt)

I’ve done more traveling than usual in 2010. And each time I traveled, whether for two days at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival or for ten days to the Pacific Northwest, I took the same amount of stuff.

In 2010, I made a point to travel lightly.

I had never done this before and I highly recommend it.

I took only what would fit in a regular-sized backpack, the same kind I carried around in high school, and a small bag. The awesome feeling that arises when moving through the airport security line is unlike anything else. It’s not exactly superiority, more akin to “I’m so glad I’m not that guy.”

It’s relief at not having to schlep, coupled with the recent memory of having schlepped.

My stuff always fits in the overhead compartment, no matter how tiny the airplane. And if there’s no room for it up there, no problem! I can stuff it under the seat in front of me with only minor violence.

Also, not having to cart around a suitcase of dirty clothes is really great; if you only bring a few clothes, you have to keep them clean. I did this by taking items into the shower with me in Belize. And of course I did laundry at my parents’ house in Oregon.

Travel, no matter where it’s to, should be freeing. For me, traveling lightly has made it be so much more so.

In addition to excess crap, I’ve also tried to leave my expectations behind. Nothing kills the the adventure faster than being in a foreign country and overhearing a fellow compatriot and traveler complain. These gripes are almost always the result of expectations of the way things should be: “What do you mean you don’t take American money?” “We are in the tropics and there’s no AC? You’ve gotta be kidding me.”

This will serve me well in 2011, because we are going on a cruise.

This is undoubtedly the biggest never-say-never scenario I’ve experienced in my life. I don’t say never very often, but I’ve said it plenty of times about going on a cruise. A few years ago, a colleague told me that she would be going to Europe for her honeymoon. “That’s awesome!” I said. “We did that too. Where are you going?”

“A bunch of places,” she replied. “We are taking a cruise.”

Why?” I blurted. It was an incredibly rude knee-jerk reaction.

Anyway, now I find that I will be spending a solid week in a giant floating resort. I have a great reason. It’s my grandparents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary and they wanted to treat the entire family. Not an appropriate time to get on a high horse about cruises.

So I’m trying to have a good attitude.

The cruise is to Alaska, a place I’ve never been, so that will be interesting. I will get to take lots of pictures. There will be icebergs. It will be summer, so it will stay light very late. Maybe we will see whales, which would be the best thing ever. I will get to spend a bunch of time with first cousins who I haven’t seen much of in recent years. Some of them even have children whom I haven’t met.

Alaskan Adventure 2011–I’m keeping an open mind.

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One Response to I Wash My Clothes in the Shower

  1. Valerie says:

    !!!

    You know, of course, that Shelley and I will talk up Alaska till the cows come home. Cruise or no, being there will be amazing.

    Maybe you should read (mostly likely re-read) “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.”

    AND…next time we hang out, I’ll have to tell you all about the Caribbean cruise I ended up on with my boss a few years ago…

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