We’re going to need a bigger bag…
The pain of packing one’s worldly possessions into a suitcase was so much that I’m only just bringing myself to write this post five days after the incident took place…and I’m still suffering post-traumatic stress even thinking about it. Monday 10th January 2011 was one of the most stressful I have ever known, made all the more difficult by the realisation that all my things were just not going to fit.
My first attempt at packing had my suitcase at 28.5kg (my limit was 23kg) and my little ‘shoes’ holdall at 10kg. At that point, all of the clothes in the ‘maybe’ pile had to go, unfortunately along with most of the ‘can’t live without’ pile too. My second attempt was better, with my suitcase weighing in at 22.5kg, however the holdall wouldn’t even do up with less than half my remaining belongings. As a result, my Mum was dispatched to collect a newer, bigger holdall from Argos to fill (and I mean fill) with what was left. My third and final attempt at packing left my suitcase at 22kg, and my new Puma holdall at 18kg, with my hand luggage consisting of a backpack and a laptop satchel.
Backpack – Book, guide book, scarf, gloves, slippers, ear warmer, tissues, flu tablets, throat sweets, bottle of water, deodorant, make up bag, glasses, contact lens case, plasters, purse, passport, immigration documents, padlocks, Vaseline, iPod, diary, pen
Satchel – laptop, laptop charger, money, jewellery, magazines
Suitcase – Coat, salopettes, handbags x 2, hoodie x 2, hooded jacket, jeans x 2, denim skirt, smart trousers x 2, smart tops x 3, dresses x 6, tops x 10, leggings x 6, tights x 2, underwear
Holdall – Snow boots, Trainers x2, heels x2, ballet pumps x 2, work shoes, heeled boots, wash bag, wash bag with hair bits, wash bag with make-up bits, phone charger, camera bits, scarves, hat, ski gloves, good luck/goodbye cards, framed photo
You won’t be surprised to know that although I wasn’t the only person with a second bag, I was the person with the biggest second bag. Luck turned in my favour when a card machine error at the Air Canada check-in desk meant I wasn’t charged the $50 for excess baggage, however this joy was short lived when I arrived in Vancouver and realised that I couldn’t actually lift my extra bag by myself. Enter my patient and very strong boyfriend, who carried it from the airport to the bus, from the bus to the hostel reception, from the hostel reception to my room on the first floor, from my room back downstairs to the hostel reception the next day, from the reception back up to the luggage room on the first floor, from the luggage room back down to a taxi, and from a taxi to our apartment on the third floor of our building. Yes, I am very lucky to be travelling with a male companion and no, I would not have made it by myself.
You’ll notice that my list includes luxury items such as cards and photos which I brought in the safe knowledge that I had a home to go to the day after we arrived. Having some extra items of our own to decorate the apartment with has made it feel much more ‘homely’ from the start, which has helped me settle in. It took a good few days but I’m now completely unpacked and as yet haven’t regretted either bringing or leaving anything (except my remaining clothes, but I’ll survive – or buy more), however I shall revisit my list in a few months to reflect on my choices. In the meantime, I am safe in the knowledge that my bags will stay empty in the closet for the next 11 months, and now I have a brand new future packing experience to avoid thinking about.