Sunday, January 20, 2013

Leavin' on a Jet Plane

A peek at my closet floor...

Every time I start to prepare for a trip, the lyrics of this Peter Paul and Mary song come to mind, “All my bags are packed; I’m ready to go…”  Well, this time, the bags are not yet packed, although otherwise I’m pretty much ready to go!  (I leave on January 29.)  I confess to a box filled with clothes and other miscellaneous items (hot water bottle, saline spray, duct tape, mailing tube) that has been sitting on my closer floor for several weeks now, with items being added to or subtracted from it as I think of them.  And, as the box has now reached overflow status, I also confess to a number of items on the closet floor, awaiting a final “yeah” or “nay!”

All along, I’ve been preparing for seriously cold weather – no indoor heat, being outdoors at 4 am, snow, etc.  Accordingly, I have raided and added to my ski clothes – accumulating piles of heavy wool socks, long underwear, mittens, scarves and the like.  Then, a few days ago, I went to and learned that the temperature in Jerusalem (which is one of the highest and thus, theoretically anyway, coldest spots in the Holy Land) was 62 F.  While I’m not inclined to toss the warm stuff, I’m now thinking about warm-weather clothes as well – lightweight pants in addition to the cords? T-shirts along with sweaters and fleeces?

Of course, all of this will have a serious impact on my reputation as a “light” packer.  Friends and acquaintances are generally amazed that I can spend a month overseas with just a carry-on sized bag and a backpack.  Not this time!  My “main bag” is an oversized duffle (with wheels), in addition to the carry-on backpack (computer, change of clothes, emergency toiletries, reading material and the like).

Still, I wonder.  Am I taking too much?  Not enough??  Will I still be cold?  Hot??  Of course, while I still don’t know exactly where I’ll be, I do know that I will have at least semi-regular access to markets and city shops, where I can undoubtedly buy whatever I find I still need.  And everyday household items (deodorant, shampoo and the like) will be readily available.  

Then I spent a couple of hours with two local EAs, who gave me lots of good advice, including on packing.  “Take half of the stuff you got out and leave it behind,” said one.  “Two pairs of pants and three shirts,” said another!  Back to the drawing board…

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