Packing for Europe: A Horror Story (quelle horreur!)

Today I’d like to dive into the wonderful world of packing.  And by wonderful, I mean not.

Packing is an art form.  It’s an olympic sport.  It’s a freaking marathon.  All of which require immense amounts of training and preparation to perfect.  Unfortunately, it seems that 23 years of preparation isn’t quite enough. (For packing tips I sometimes use but mostly continue to ignore, see previous post: The Dilemma Known As Packing).

Once upon a time, I had to pack for a week-long family reunion cruise (literal cruise…as in on a boat for a week).  The smart thing to do would have been to bring a backpack, because the reality of warm weather and cruises is that aside from a few outfits for dinners, you live in your swimsuit and the occasional pair of jean shorts and tees.  I however decided that I NEEDED a minimum of eight pairs of shoes, four dresses, two pairs of pants, five pairs of shorts and ten shirts.  Not to mention the “required” five swimsuits, two curling irons, straightener and blow dryer.  You know, just in case the humidity decided to let up and actually allow for hair styling.  Let’s just say that my bag weighed over the 50lb limit and needed a “heavy load” sticker for the plane folk, and that the combined weight and size of both of my brothers’ and my dad’s luggage didn’t even come close to mine.  Whatever.  I looked damn cute every dinner.  Plus I had three men to carry my suitcase!  Hooray for being the only girl!

Now, as the years went by I got a bit smarter.  When my dad and I took a trip to Italy, I was able to squeeze everything into one carry-on, plus a purse.  Hot damn, I say.  This may or may not have been the result of my father’s daily reminders that I “better not bring a bag that’s heavy as shit.”  Point is, one little bag was plenty.

Then by the time I decided to study abroad, I discovered the joy that is Ryan Air.  Cheap is their name and annoying entire flight-long advertisements over the (very) loud intercom is their game.  Oh, and also – they have a baggage size limit that allows for only child-size wardrobes and maybe a pencil, if you can squeeze it in.  Basically, I was forced to take only a backpack for AN ENTIRE WEEK in Sweden.  Sweden, if you are not familiar, isn’t necessarily warm in the spring.  So I magically managed to bring only neutrals and get away with rotating three shirts, one pair of jeans, one pair of leggings/shorts, and a sweater and blazer.  Plus toiletries.  “Woof” is an understatement.  But – I did it.

Now fast forward to my trip to la France a few weeks ago with my amour.  Now, I’d been to Paris about three times prior to this trip, so you’d think I would’ve re-thought this whole packing sitch.  But alas, some piece of me must have developed retrograde amnesia because I thought not once about the fact that Paris has enough stairs to reach the pearly gates of heaven if stacked together.  Add that to the fact that elevators are few and far between and you’ve got a recipe for a whole lot of lifting fun!  On the plus side, you don’t have to exercise.  I guess.

And then there’s the reality that is Europe: streets of cobblestone.  Beautiful, picturesque, and absolutely terrible for rolling suitcases.  Forgot that bit too.

So I packed a checked bag (CHECKED…seriously, perhaps I should see a doctor) that weighed in at just under 40lbs with about five pairs of shoes, an entire large clutch full of jewelry I somehow thought I’d wear just because it’s Paris, and a whole lot more that I’m embarrassed to admit.  The result was a newfound dedication to Jesus, to whom I prayed on a daily basis that my suitcase would wait to fall apart until we got back to the midwest.  And tank da lawddd it did.

Lesson learned.  Again.  Note to self: read this post in its entirety before ALL future packing endeavors.

Now if I could just master timely unpacking…



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