One of the big advantages to a minimal life is easy prep for travel. It seems like I used to take years to get ready to go on vacation. Of course, family pet attrition has been a big factor. I used to dread dragging out the feeders and water dispensers, fortifying the litter boxes, writing instructions to the cat sitter, wrapping the house in plastic, and taking out all the batteries in the smoke alarms–oh, yes. One trip we pulled in the driveway only to hear a piercing wail from a defective alarm entertaining all the cats inside. No telling how long it had been going off. I don’t think they were ever the same after that.
Life is simple now: one dog off to the kennel, one cat who is mostly trustworthy and can only fight with himself, and one piece of luggage.
ONE PIECE OF LUGGAGE, you say?
Yep, size depending on length of excursion. Okay, I cheat a little sometimes by fitting bulky shoes in a grocery bag along with the hats and rain gear. But the limited space is a worthy challenge for me. I long ago realized that I have a tendency to over-pack and never wear half of my items. The unnecessary stuff would come home clean but wrinkled.
Over the years I have gradually weaned myself from the fully equipped set of luggage that I presumed every gal-about-town and savvy seasoned traveler needed to conquer the world. I went from an overnight bag, carry-on and large check-in suitcase to just the overnight and carry-on, to just the carry-on and a backpack for my 10 days in Europe, to just the carry-on for most trips or a messenger bag for weekends.
Then there is the easing of my obsessive compulsive crucial 15 minutes of take-off on a trip. I learned a little too well from my OCD mother who would sit in the car in rigid concentration, silently running through her mental checklist of unattended disasters waiting to happen. This is after she ran in to check the stove 43 times and re-locked in proper sequence the series of deadbolts on the backdoor to a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere.
If you would challenge her on this behavior, she always cited the time when my brother DID actually leave the water running in the cow trough when we were already 500 miles away and the neighbor had to go shut it off—catastrophic tsunami narrowly averted.
This is part of the reason why my parents do not travel—not to mention the hassle of dragging out all those feeders and waterers for the livestock.
I, on the other hand, have forced myself to only check the stove about 27 times, and assure myself roughly 6 times that the toilet isn’t running before I go. After my fifteen minutes and my husband flooring the accelerator for a fast exit, I figure there’s nothing I can do about it, and go through my zen travel stage of acceptance. What happens, happens.
Welcome, my friends, to the joys of traveling light. It’s getting better all the time, as the Beatles would say.
Is the cat still in the closet?
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