I believe that I am a smart packer. Michael would argue otherwise. As I packed for our two-week trip to Thailand and Cambodia using a carry-on suitcase and a cross-body purse, I was confident that everything that I wanted to bring would fit. The problem was that everything that I wanted to bring was not everything that I should bring. As my piles of clothing started to create looming mounds of redundancies around my suitcase, essentially blocking it from view, Michael looked on with concern.
“Why do you need four pairs of sandals?” He asked.
“Because variety is the spice of life?” I half-asked, half-responded.
“You only need one pair of sandals.” He stated.
“One pair of sandals? For two weeks? One pair in every photo, for every expedition? Absolutely not.”
We compromised on two pairs of sandals.
Next, he spotted my leaning tower of v-neck t-shirts.
“My god, you have 12 v-neck t-shirts packed. What the hell for?”
“One for every day we’re traveling.” I sheepishly defended my rationale.
“We’re going to do laundry there so there’s no need for so many shirts.”
Then he spotted by billowy cotton blouses.
“Wait, there are more shirts?”
“These go with my capri jeans, they’re different.” I whined.
Truth be told, I was eager not to under-pack (as if that’s ever an issue of mine) and veered on the conservative side of “you can never have too many tops!”
At this point Michael started to become alarmed and I saw him mentally rolling up his sleeves to rescue my suitcase from being stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey.
“Kasey, an umbrella, really?”
“It’s the rainy season in Southeast Asia! You never know when a downpour might come.” Then, feeling like I was in confession, out came more packing revelations. “I also packed a poncho.”
“If we need to, we will buy an umbrella when we get there.” Out came the umbrella. But since the poncho carried a small footprint, I was able to sneak it in. I never used it.
I knew Michael’s eyes would bulge the longer he assessed the carefully laid out piles of my hoarder gear.
“You’ve got to be kidding me. Pajama pants? It’s going to be 90 degrees there. Why would you need pajama pants?”
I had no defense. They looked cute. And I thought I could look cute lounging in them. Out they went.
The Michael reached my pièce de résistance. My, what I consider, uber-chic cardigan with swooping ends that almost graze the floor that truly can double as a blanket. Or tarp to shield a family of four from rain or sun. And takes up a quarter of my carry-on.
“First of all, what the hell is this thing? And second of all, it has no business in Thailand.”
I had to retire my magic carpet cardigan to the closet.
This archeological dig into my packing unearthed more frightening discoveries for Michael. He eyed my assortment of headgear.
“Kasey, you have one head. And I’ve never even seen you wear a hat. One hat will do.”
Multiple hats were nixed. And I was limited to two pairs of sunglasses. My logic that sunglasses were my only accessory since it’s way too hot for jewelry did not win the argument.
Then we got to my prized possessions. “Kasey, why are you bringing your entire collection of harem pants? I have a feeling you will be buying more harem pants in Thailand and Cambodia.”
“Michael, you just never know. They might not sell harem pants there and I can’t wear the same pair every day!” I was getting frantic. For no reason, since, as it turns out, me to harem pants is like moth to a flame and to date, I have lost track of how many new pairs I have purchased in both Thailand and Cambodia. On the return journey home, my suitcase barely shut, even with the expander expanded, since 50% of my belongings were harem pants. So hindsight being 20/20, thank you honey for weeding out my suitcase since it created enough space for me to transport my ever-growing harem pant collection home.