While we were away in Australia, just as we were heading off for lunch one day, my beloved said: “I only really needed to pack a few pairs of shorts and t-shirts.” Given that he used every single kilogram of his Emirates Gold membership baggage allowance (52kg) and some of mine, I was much amused at this statement. My beloved never travels lightly. Kitchen sink? That’ll do nicely! Goodness knows what he’d pack if I didn’t edit his selection! Not that he actually does his own packing, that’s one of my many jobs for the man who just turns up.
Given half a chance, my beloved would pack whatever came out of his drawers and cupboards first, irrespective of whether or not any of it actually went together. While we were going to be away for two months, ready access to a washing machine and dryer meant we didn’t need to pack tons of stuff. Besides, during the summer, everyone in Australia seems to live in shorts and t-shirts, or polo shirts for those “smart casual” occasions. I won’t bore you with listing the contents of his many suitcases, all of which he deemed absolutely vital to his enjoyment.
You also have to bear in mind that my beloved will wear multiple outfits during the day. I’m thankful that cycling gear, unlike that of golf and tennis, doesn’t need ironing. Unlike me , my beloved never lounges around in his dressing gown. He has to be dressed, even if it’s only for 30 minutes while eating breakfast. If he’s going out cycling after breakfast, he’ll get dressed first in shorts and t-shirt which will later be discarded and either left on the floor or, if I’m lucky, draped over a chair. Once he’s ridden he’ll shower and change into another outfit, not the one he discarded earlier. Then he’ll change again if we go out to dinner in the evening. Potentially that’s four complete outfits to wash! This may be augmented with gym kit and swim wear. As a consequence of the mound of washing he generates, I try as far as possible to buy things that can be washed, dried, shaken, folded and put away. Otherwise I’d have spent most of our Australian trip chained to the ironing board. And, of course, it’s not my beloved who spends time in the laundry washing his clothes, it’s me.
Over the years, I have tried to pass on my disciplined packing skills to my beloved. I demonstrate these on a regular basis but he refuses to take any notice knowing full well I’ll do it for him. My skills have been honed from years of travelling on business with just hand luggage. I found the trick is to stick to one primary colour, two pairs of shoes and sample size cosmetics. My beloved, like my two younger sisters, travels with a small sub-branch of Boots – just in case.
When I travelled frequently on business, I had a co-ordinated capsule wardrobe based on black and grey with red accents. My investment piece would be a great jacket which I would pair with a dress, skirt and trousers. I used to take a small travel iron with me but would look out for items which didn’t crease too much. Tops would be smart short-sleeved t-shirts which I could hand wash and dry in the hotel bathroom, typically in black, grey and cream. I know, this all sounds kinda boring but colour would come from my collection of scarves. People tend only to notice the colours next to your face. In my case, this would be a scarf and I’d take along half a dozen or so to ring the changes.
Now that I travel largely for pleasure, I still apply the same principles, whatever the length of my trip and whether we’re travelling by car or plane. If you ever see me standing next to a large pile of luggage, it’s most unlikely to be mine.