Pack Light but Carry Your Sense of Humor

If you’ve ever moved overseas you know that one thing more stressful than transoceanic economy class flying is transoceanic economy class relocating.

This is equivalent to taking your entire life and physically packing it into a nutshell- or more technically 20kg suitcases. This is not fun. I wished I’d come across this blog to understand what I could have done better. Relocating can be exceptionally stressful if you’re a travel masochist and have routed your trip home on 11 flights via 4 continents and included a mountain climb.

I love flying, but I hate flying with baggage. So I was proud to be traveling light as I started my very long strange trip home.

My first stop enroute was Kilimanjaro which required a flight via Bangkok, a Middle East transit, and a quick stop in Dar Es Salam before finally reaching the mountain I couldn’t see. (That’s PNH-BKK-DOH-DAR-JRO for fellow airplane nerds)

While packing up my life for this journey I had followed one wise piece of advice – carry or wear your essentials for the climb because many bags disappear.  And so I set out, traveling light, and wearing hiking boots and the world fattest winter coat in 90+ degree Cambodia.

One leg into my monster itinerary I was stopped at my gate in Bangkok by a smiling, yet incredibly determined Thai agent who flat out refused to let me board the flight with my carry-on.

I argued, and pleaded. I tried all my usual tricks. I attempted to show her that my bag was the right size and full of things I couldn’t check- like cameras, lenses, and computers, but there was no budging. I opened my bag and began putting on my extra fleeces and jackets.

The agreement, which I eventually had to comply with in order to board the flight, was to check my bag. But I refused to check my stuff.  (I was certain all my warm clothing were going to disappear).

I was kindly provided with an airport trash bag, dumped my entire suitcase inside, and checked an empty bag. I boarded the plane like Santa Claus- dressed in three layers of jackets and hauling a giant trash bag over my shoulder.

I stuffed my bag into the overhead bin, noting that it was now larger and just as heavy as it was when the contents were compressed neatly inside the suitcase. The other passengers smiled at me curiously and I smiled back. On any other day this charade probably would have made me cry, but something was different today.

I had packed light, but I hadn’t forgotten to pack my sense of humor.

Yes, travel is full of amazing experiences, but some days one small illogical thing is enough to push you over the top.  While sometimes it is easier to cry than it is to smile, I’ve learned that laughter is much better medicine than tears.

Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it and then move on. – Bob Newhart


** Photo- Finally landing in Kilimanjaro with my “luggage” by Andrea


2 responses to “Pack Light but Carry Your Sense of Humor”

  1. cecil says:

    Lol! So like you superhero Steph. Whatever the circumstance is, I could have bawled like mad if I was in your shoes, err, hiking boots. Anyway, I do sincerely agree all those madness is worth it having climbed the mighty Kilimanjaro. Geezzz, so that’s what it would take?

  2. LiLing says:

    I’m glad you had your sense of humor. I would have been modified. But they must have been frightfully insistent, because I’ve seen you Zito charm turned on and seen you wangle all sorts of stuff past stern seemingly impassable people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *