I always seem to lose a little bit of myself when I am packing for a trip. It’s not that I go insane, it’s that I get quietly methodical. Like a battle surgeon preparing for an operation, I am calm, collected and focused.
I haven’t traveled extensively without picking up a few tricks. I lay out the tools of my trade. Socks cushion my cameras, my underwear is rolled up and my t-shirts slide in nicely alongside my Sunday bests. I wear my Timberlands – even if it makes security difficult – because they take up too much space to pack. I always roll everything, because it reduces wrinkles. I always make sure to have the right items in my day bag so I am not caught without lip balm on the plane. I bring a reusable water bottle with me so I can avoid evil bottled water. Sunglasses on my head, magazines in my hand, and business cards in my pocket. Never quite in the same spot, but everything in its place.
I take comfort in the ritual, understanding that a journey is ahead of me; an unknown journey, with unexpected turns, fortuitous encounters and new friends. I savor the time it takes for me to get ready to go, because it makes the journey sweeter. More than just a chore, packing marks the shift in perspective from home to world. This is the lust of travel, and packing is the foreplay.
What’s your favorite travel ritual?