I hate packing. Is it just me, or is packing the worst part of any trip or move? I’ve clearly drawn the short straw too, packing for a move across continents, and to a very different climate. Not quite holiday packing, but not really moving house packing either, because clothes, shoes and sun cream don’t quite cover everything I’ll need to make the sunnier new climes home.
I’m that strange sort of person who likes to sort and tidy. I love organising things, whether it’s a good spring clean of my wardrobe or a good filing session, I love the sense of achievement when something that was messy becomes tidy and something disordered becomes ordered. So the first pack of the packing process I love; sorting into piles of what I need, what I’m packing in this case or that case, what I need in my carry on bag… It’s great to be organising. I even make colour coded lists (yes, I really am that sort of person).
But after the initial sorting, list-making and tidy pile making, it becomes less enjoyable. I’m not as happy when it comes to deciding what I actually have to leave behind and even less thrilled when I have to try and fit it all into just a suitcase or two. And don’t even get me started on zipping the suitcase up at the end of it…
It’s all a case of want versus need in the end. I want to take my four pairs of beloved cowboy boots, but do I really need more than one? I want to take my tattered cuddly bear my grandad gave me when I was little, but do I need it as a twenty-eight year old woman? I want to take the two baskets of yarn I bought for various craft projects, but do I need to pack something I can just buy over there anyway?
I want to take lots of things. I’m not really the sentimental sort, but I still find myself wondering whether a place will feel like home if I don’t have my pictures and kick-knacks and cuddly bear there with me. What about my memories, the smiling faces in frames that cover my walls? What about my sewing machine? My food processor? My shelve of recipe books? How can my kitchen be my kitchen without my gleaming cerise stand mixer to make banana bread and chocolate courgette cake? And most importantly of all, how will I survive if there is an ocean separating me from my Harry Potter books? While we’re at it, I’d like to pack the family dog too because home just isn’t the same without a four-legged companion of the canine variety. It’s hard to pack your life into a suitcase, but that’s what I have to do.
In the end, I’ve come to a compromise. I’ve taken the photos out of the frame: they weight less that way. I’ve chosen just one pair of boots, the colour that clashes beautifully with nearly all the items of clothing I own so they can at least have their presence felt. I’ve left the sewing machine and the stand mixer, but scanned the recipes so that I can still recreate the tastes of home. I’ve chosen just four balls of yarn to pack, the rest will keep my mum here busy enough. I’ve packed what I can and what I can’t won’t matter when all is send and done, because let’s be honest, I’m only packing things in my suitcase: my life is waiting for me when I get there.
I’m still going to miss my Harry Potter books though and as for boots…well, I never said I was only bringing one pair back…!