I am an obsessive packer, and I hate myself for it. I start around two weeks before taking off, and I’m still at it until the last minute – even if we’re just going away for the weekend. It takes me a day to sort out and organize toiletries and cosmetics, and half-a-day to pick the right socks. I wish I could be one of those people who just throws things into a bag at the last minute. Not gonna happen. I cannot bear the idea of not having what I need when I need it.
• What if it rains and I don’t have an umbrella?
• What if we get romantic and I don’t have sexy lingerie?
• What if I chip my nail and I don’t have polish?
Besides the inconvenience of missing something essential, the main reason for my compulsion is my frugalism. I simply cannot bear the idea of going out and paying full price in an expensive foreign shop for something I have a dozen of at home – for which I paid fifty-cents each. That’s exactly what happened when I neglected to pack a warm sweater for Venice.
I used to collect expensive, high-quality Hartmann luggage, which I picked up cheaply at yard sales. I’ve since switched to ordinary non-descript suitcases, because fancy bags are much more vulnerable to thievery. Now my bags blend in so well with everyone else’s that I have trouble recognizing them; I keep pulling someone else’s luggage off the carousel. Next time we travel, I’m going to paste bright red stickers all over my suitcases.