“Travelling is a nightmare and you can either embrace it or let it destroy you.” Me. Every single time I go anywhere. It’s my mantra.
I had a travel break-through on my way home from Africa. I was standing in line at Heathrow after an extended flight up to London from Addis Ababa, on which we got a four hour detour to the Rome airport due to a crash on the Heathrow runway, causing us to get in late and thereby get ripped off by a cabby to get to our microscopic hotel room where I had a minor breakdown at the check in counter before getting a minimal amount of sleep.
As I went through the metal detectors, I was pulled aside for extra screening, AKA an early morning groping. And then on the way to the gate, my friend and I were once again, pulled aside for bomb testing. It was as my bag was being pulled apart that I realized, there is nothing I can do about this situation but tell a great story once it’s over. It was a life-changing moment as I succumbed to the crazy laughter before calmly asked if I could keep eating my fruit or if they needed to check it for drugs.
And ever since, that has been my theory, and therefore, I continue to push the TSA guidelines to the extreme every chance I get. Because TSA, you can try to make my day a nightmare, but I will at least try to get as close to breaking the rules as I can before you actually tell me, “Ma’am, you can’t take that on the plane.”
I get one official carry-on on my flights home to the States, just like I did on my way to Europe. I translate this into one rolly bag and a computer bag that I’m wearing under a scarf and winter jacket. So what if it’s August. It’s cold on the plane.
As I was packing to go back to America, I set a record. For the first time in my entire life, I was packed early. The second I officially quit the nightmare position, I started purging. Don’t need that — GARBAGE! Don’t need that — RECYCLE! I was over half packed with three days still left in Germany. And as I couldn’t completely finish, I started making piles of things that I still wanted to get in somehow. Things like my Chinese Faux-Uggs that are basically dead but that I can’t bear to part with yet. Or the bug netting that a friend sent me to survive the lack of Europe’s understanding what a screen is.
At first I figure that I can wear the bug netting in some sort of skirt/chitenji situation and have it be a valid fashion choice paired with jeans and my uggs rolled down because after all, it is August. Oh, and the two coats that I need: the one lighter coat for my 13C morning in Copenhagen and the winter coat that I can’t pack. The two coats with pockets filled with decks of cards because I apparently have a problem.
Now, why am I wearing bug netting as an accessory? For starters, I have a pair of vintage 1950’s green heels that I only travel with in my carry-on. And a pair of Toms and a pair of Treadz that also have to go into my carry-on. In addition to all my camera, computer, and hard drive equipment that turns me into a bomb threat, every time I travel. This leaves very little room for anything else once my two checked bags reach their 23kg limit.
As I near the end of my packing, I take all the tiny bits of “really want to get this in,” and drop them randomly into the rolly bag, hoping to keep the weight there and not in my checked baggage that is quickly filling up. This leads to one massively disorganized rolly bag that I am already dreading having to take apart for bomb screenings. I get in all the shoes, electronics, even manage to get in the bug netting so it’s not on my person. I have the computer bag packed for easy hiding under my layers. And my two checked bags are at 22.9kg and 22.8kg. Success!
And then Kristian comes home and gives me a Uni-Potsdam t-shirt and a Brandenburg book.
What a lovely thought. Why did you give this to me on my way TO THE AIRPORT?
I manage to twist the t-shirt into a bit of a “neck pillow” that I surround my liquids with in the exterior pocket of my rolly bag. I add the second book of German culture to my overstuffed computer bag that also has a pair of shoes in. I tie an additional scarf around the strap to stick a headband into because I have no where else to put it.
And off we go to the train station in Potsdam.