Packing Up And Heading Out

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
packing up and heading out

A thick book. A banana. Two year old sneakers. A backpack.

Then there is an oversized laptop that has to be wrapped around the zipper line of the backpack in order to fit.

I’m headed for the Hartsfield International Airport in Clayton County, Georgia. The most visited airport in the United States, and a second home for me way back in my traveling days.

10 years ago I traveled over 200 times a year to various auto auctions throughout the country. My job was to inpsect, appraise and liquidate over 10,000 vehicles a year for an auto finance company. Travel was almost instinctual back then. I could sort out all my personal belongings for the road ahead without any wasted space or thought.

This time, I’m hopeless.

“Do I need two pairs of shoes?”

“Damn. These shoes will have to be in a contortionist position to fit in the backpack, and then all my clothes will start smelling like my shoes. Better just bring the sneakers.

The hell with it all! I’m a journalist. They won’t care.”

One hour later…

“Okay, one extra pair of shoes then. How about books? Do I bring that ancient artifact known as a hardcover book? Or do I ask the wife for the family Ipad? Screw it. Her friend’s social dramas are tied to that thing. I’ll just bring a book.”

On and on the questions go for another forty-five minutes. By the time I get ready for sleep, I’m wondering if I’m missing anything. Nope. All the clothes. All the toys. The right way to transport it. No waste.

Thank God.

The next morning I pull off with the wife, daughter and dog. We’re going to drop her off at school, and I’m going to take a long walk to the bus depot that happens to be across the street. I’ll save the wife a couple of hours on the road, and I’ll get myself plenty of time to read a book.

As soon as I pay for the $2.50 ticket. I sit down and immediately realize I left my hardcover book behind.

Oh well. It figures. I guess I’ll be hunting down old newspapers once I get to the airport. In the meantime, I start thinking about my past travels in planes, trains and automobiles. Then I start to think about John Candy, Steve Martin, and the two fluffy pillows that won’t be close by as I sleep in what will hopefully be a hotel room in Las Vegas that has clean sheets.

Are clean sheets too much to ask in the travel world of 2013. I hope not. But how was it like for you? Was packing a bitch? Or a breeze? Was that road ahead a road of dread? Or an hours long drive full of great meals and dangling conversations?

Share with us your packing and traveling escapades, and enjoy this beautiful Tuesday.

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2 of 32 comments
  • Raincoaster Raincoaster on Apr 03, 2013

    It seems that when I travel lately it's very light, or very heavy. I take a float plane to work with everything i'll need for 45 days or so. (no contact with anyone my any means other than digital) And this summer I'll be doing 2 weeks in a kayak. Domestic flights for anything less than 2 weeks I go with a 35 litre asolo pack, unless i need a suit or some other such nonsense.

  • R H R H on Apr 03, 2013

    Going to visit the in-laws in Brazil requires maximum weight capacity & distribution = 4 suitcases @ 70 pounds each, 2 carry-ons, a purse, a backpack & a diaper bag. Only see them once or twice a year which means bringing xmas presents for an extended family of ~ 200. We can't actually bring presents for everyone but we do often try... Going to see Grandma 1000 miles away for a week? 2-3 small bags, baby bag, and some entertainment (& we usually drive). Much easier...

  • Art Vandelay On the right spec truck, that is a screaming bargain for the price. And you can buy it safe knowing that as it is a Ford you'll never have your vehicle's good name sullied by seeing EBFlex and Tassos puffing each other's peters in one...a nice bonus to the horsepower!
  • Art Vandelay Too small for Tassos and EBFlex to puff each other's peters in.
  • Spookiness I can see revising requirements for newer vehicles, like 3 years, but not for older. I live in a state with safety inspections next to a state without, within a common metro-area commute "shed." Besides the fact that the non-inspection state has a lot of criminals to begin with, they're poorer, less educated, have a lot of paper-tag shady dealers, very lax law enforcement of any kind, and not much of a culture of car maintenance. It's all of their janky hoopties dead or burning on the side of the road every mile that farks up the commute for the rest of us. Having a car inspected just once a year is a minimal price of civilization, and at least is some basic defense against some of the brake-less, rusted-out heaps that show up on YouTubes "Just Rolled In."
  • Pippin Republicans Senators - "We refuse to support your nomination because you don't have a background in traffic safety! That's the priority!"Biden nominates someone with a background in traffic safetyRepublican Senators - "This new nominee is totally unacceptable! They're in favor of new regulations to improve traffic safety! We need big government out of (men's) lives!"
  • David S. 4.4L Twin turbo, thanks BMW!