RWA Nationals is one week away. It’s time to stop focusing on the writing and get ready for the conference. Which brings me to one of my least favorite topics: packing.
When I was a child, both of my parents were military. So, we traveled a lot and my mother packed everything with military precision. She started a month ahead with inventories and color coding. Every space was filled down to the last micron. Even the seating in the car was regimented. All of my childhood travel memories involve riding for thousands of miles, sitting in a small square of the back of the station wagon with a furry dog wagging its tail in my face.
As a child, the rules of packing in my house were simple: You don’t look at the suitcase, you don’t touch the suitcase, and you certainly DO NOT take anything out of the suitcase. Ever.
Flash forward to my first trip as a newlywed. I was so stressed out. I had never packed before. I didn’t know “the system.” How would I remember everything? How would I fit it all in?
My anxiety befuddled my husband. “Just throw some clothes in a bag. All you really need are the tickets and the passports. Everything else we can buy there.”
That bit of advice has carried us through 26 years of marriage and across three continents with four kids in tow. Over the years, tickets have become optional. And I have added contacts/glasses and prescription medications to the essentials list. I do think twice before packing for remote locations such as the Sahara or the Frank Church Wilderness. But my kids pack their own bags, and I rarely take more than a carry-on. We take “traveling light” to the extreme.
Except now. Now I have to pack for my first time at Nationals. There are award ceremonies, receptions, pitch sessions, dinners, and workshops to dress for. And I will need comfortable shoes for all those outfits. Not to mention down time at the pool or hotel gym. It’s Florida, so we have to dress for the heat and also dress for extreme air conditioning. I have a complicated schedule to follow. And some of the special events require that I print out invitations and receipts. And. . . and. . .
For the first time since I was a teenager, I am totally stressed out about packing. What will I take? And how will I fit it all in? So here’s your chance to help me pack. What’s the most important thing to remember to pack for Nationals? Please share your tips in the comment section. Thanks.