How I Pack My Suitcase.

If It’s Good Advice You Want, Go Somewhere Else.

I was a travel agent for nine years, and I’ve traveled to over 30 countries. I consider myself a pretty accomplished traveler, but I have never learned to pack light.

Perhaps I have some kind of defective gene that will not allow me to do it. If there is such a thing, my husband also has it; and his defective gene is joined with the inability to tell at a glance that his baby grand cannot fit in a two-foot wide space, or just because he succeeds in pulling his bicycle in through the door of his already stuffed office, does not mean there’s room for it to stay in there. But I digress.

When we packed to come to Japan last year for an extended stay (he for 11 months, and me for 9), we must have been slipped some kind of hallucinogenic while we were doing it. Among other things, he brought five or six dress shirts, multiple pairs of dress pants and colored casual slacks, piles of colored tee shirts and sweaters, and three coats. The man lives in a black V-neck and blue jeans at home and almost never wears a coat. I brought my work suit — though I had no intention of looking for work — skirts(!), and piles of clothes that I never touched because I pretty much live in jeans and T-shirts myself.

What were we thinking/smoking/drinking and who slipped us those drugs?

I do know one thing. I hate the smartasses who write about how to pack for a month-long trip, and how to travel light while packing for a short or long trip, and which weighs less: boxers or briefs. Okay I made up that last one.

Of course they include pictures with their stories of their perfectly packed suitcases, some with packing cubes, some without. There are the ‘Rollers’ who show how to roll everything up tightly so each piece can be placed interlocking with the next piece like a giant friggin’ puzzle; or there are the ‘Space-Saver Bag Disciples’ who believe removing the air from everything and stacking all the flat little baggies on top of each other is the answer.

Do people really travel so smartly? Am I the only one whose suitcase looks like a rummage sale table at the end of the sale?

We are finally returning to America on Tuesday. We have four bags to check — with three of them weighing in at over 60 pounds (!) each — and four carry-ons. Each bag is so full that if an unsuspecting TSA agent pops open any one of them, everything inside will erupt like the creature in that Alien movie, and there will be no containing the mess he unleashes! There will be bags of tea and cute tea tins, bottles of sake, tiny vending-machine toys, multiple brochures and ticket stubs, amazing only-in-Japan kitchen utensils, sumo wrestler and Godzilla tea towels, and mountains of untouched clothes covering everything within a five-foot radius.

God help him.

If you like my story or appreciate my warning of how not to live your life, please recommend by clicking the heart or share my story so that others may learn from my mistakes.

Or if you want to come over tomorrow and repack my bags, please let me know. And God help you.