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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rituals of Travel

Whether I am going for an overnight or a three week trip, the rituals of travel remain the same. I have found that, without exception, I take longer packing for a trip than all the unpacking, laundering and putting away that take place upon returning home.
I can not say whether this is a result of life’s hard knocks having taught me to go prepared, ready for a changing itinerary and a variable weather forecast, or if it is simply my nature to plan, plan, plan.
Some of the fundamental wardrobing miss steps I have taken include faux pas that might make a weaker woman whimper. From my travel grab-bag of fashion disasters comes the times when I attended a formal wedding rehearsal dinner in jeans because my luggage was misplaced by an airline that specialized in incompetence. I felt uncommonly dowdy and self-conscious as I sat miserably wishing I had thought to pack some makeup in my carry-on bag. Seven hours of travel did not wear well on me, or on my jeans and hoodie.
The night of my husband’s 25th high school reunion I wore a stunning, body hugging evening gown (red) that puddled on the floor. It puddled a lot more than I intended because of my oversight in packing. No heels, only Merrell clogs with fleece linings.
My husband said no one noticed. The men were not looking at my feet and the women were looking at their men.
I have packed for three days and been stranded for three weeks. Perhaps the most extreme problem in attire occurred on a trip to San Diego. i had a silk evening gown, stunning in its simplicity. The neckline draped strategically so that the absence of supportive undergarments was not noticeable. The gown was suggestive, but tasteful. We were running late for the dinner, so I went into gear - showering, makeup, hair. Finally, I took the dress out of the plastic wrap the dry cleaner used after pressing the bodice folds for me. I held my arms up over my head and shimmied the dress down. And down it went. Much further than I intended. The artful scoop of the neckline had stretched when it was ironed so that the neckline of the dress sat below my breasts. My husband’s comment?
“Looks good to me.”
The straps were in place, just the fabric had been damaged. I fought back tears because I didn’t want to mess my makeup. I tried such creative options as a sportsbra (white just didn’t cut it with a black silk dress), scarves, and even a nightgown instead of the dress. Ultimately, I pinned a sarong in a criss-cross pattern effectively draping myself like a mannequin. As if that wasn’t enough of a lesson on that trip, an entire bottle of perfume broke inside the luggage bag my husband suggested we share.
The olfactory effects were a lasting taunt to not observing some basic packing rules. Never mind that a $72 bottle of perfume was wasted!
Dawn’s Cardinal Rules of Packing
Pack compactly.
Plan layers.
Color coordinate everything around a few colors.
Plan for multiuse items. A sweater on day one can be
be reused on day three with leggings.
Keep a few essentials in handbag if traveling by air. Including all medicines
Bring extra shoes.
For formal events, pack two options.
Use scarves to mulitply fashion wear options.
Try not to bring irreplaceable items.
Extra socks always get worn.
Condense handbags to one day, one evening.

I suspect that I will continue to may mistakes. All I can do is hope that I continue to learn from them!

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