“Ok, Emma, you can do this. All you have to do is to think logically – consider how long you’re going away for, the events you’ll be going to, and what the weather will be like.”

This is what I tell myself as I begin packing for a short trip (which I only start thinking about the night before I leave, of course), and my sneaky weekend away to Grahamstown to celebrate my best friend’s 21st was no exception. But, much to the dismay of the side of my brain that tries so hard to be good at being OCD, things get messy and my thoughts go into over drive as soon as I pull out the first item of clothing.

“Hmmm.” I think. “I have two dress-up 21st parties to go to and I could wear these cat ears or, then again, this glitter-green top is very eye-catching, but what if the folk in Grahamstown don’t get my magpie obsession with shiny things and wonder who the hell this 90s apparition is and why she won’t go back from whence she came, and no one likes me and then who am I gonna dance with at Friars? On that note, what kind of shoes do they wear at Friars? Will I need fancy boots or riding boots? Oh, wait, the weather app on my iPhone says it’s going to rain this weekend so obviously I have to take both. That means I also have to pack in five jumpers, a beanie, my big Zara coat, leather jacket and eight pairs of socks (two pairs for each day, duh)…oh, but sometimes the weather app lies so I should probably also throw in some t-shirts, at least three, because I might not feel like wearing stripes on Sunday, but really be in the mood for some horizontal geometry on Monday afternoon and, in that case, some sunscreen and, also a pair of flip flops never hurt nobody, right…”

And that’s when I come to the realisation that I’m actually flying to G-Town and can’t physically squish my body weight in clothing into an overnight suitcase that would still be allowed on board the plane as hand luggage. So, at the end of all that, all I had left in my teeny tiny suit case was the green glitter t-shirt and my Dachshund/meerkat/best friend Bambi who looked very disappointed by my complete lack of organisational skills. I had to think about my actions and have some tea before giving it another go.

These are the very real struggles of someone, like me, who is used to road trips – where there’s an (almost) endless supply of space for my clothing and various paraphernalia (books, cameras, extra shoes, snacks…) under car seats and in my fellow travellers’ bags – and not the strict constraints of travelling by air. I did, however, eventually manage to pull myself towards myself and stop being so useless, but it was an ORDEAL.

What are some of your worst packing nightmares?

Thanks for visiting my blog! X

P.S. for more on my Grahamstown mini-adventure, follow the link to the article I wrote for Varsity, the University of Cape Town’s student newspaper.

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