Packing cases for family holidays used to bring out the worst in my poor mum. 1970s hard top cases complete with metal latch style fasteners and usually a journey by good old BR train – grubby electric blue diesel – three people, two cases. So my job was to sit on the case and squash it so it would shut. Maybe it just gave me something fun and useful to do? I’ve always liked packing – the association of going on holiday somewhere outside and different to normal life is like the scent of sawdust and sandalwood for me – two favourite smells (in case the metaphor is a tad stretchy)
I used to be a cram it in all in the case packer myself, but I read a really interesting post on the benefits of travelling really light. I’m not that extreme, but just taking what I can fit in my walking rucksack (and a bag for books and lunch: two non luxury food needs there) strikes me as a good discipline. A friend of mine proudly boasts “I wore all my clothes” meaning she didn’t take any excess with her. I figure a spare set in case of getting muddy and soaked is the cautious persons option.
Learning to drive took a little edge off the fun of travel for me. I have a bit of nostalgia for trains that weren’t rammed and blasting hot or freezing because the air con has malfunctioned again. I don’t have rose tinted glasses – old BR trains were stuffy, usually late and catering was mum’s corn beef sarnies and a flask of tea. I guess that’s why I am such an armchair adventure traveller – I would rather write, read and think and am quite happy with a beach or mountain/country walk in the UK that doesn’t involve an airport. If there’s a pool and generous breakfast involved, you have my own personal customised heaven!