I used to be an expert packer. If you do some deep Googling on me you will find lots of travel tips as at one point I was the co-founder of a travel cosmetics company called Stowaway. I was on the road a lot and became quite practiced at getting my entire life in a carry-on.
I can’t seem to pull it off anymore. At first I thought it was because I didn’t travel during the pandemic. Then I blamed it on being modest disabled from all my various health nonsense. But I’ve just stumbled onto the real reason
I’ve got fantasies of having a life where I still do things.
By packing high heels and nice dresses and several colors of lipstick I am telling my disability “not today Satan!” Except then of course I don’t use any of it. Because I am in fact still disabled.
I packed an outfit for a black tie gala when I went down to Austin. Because you never know when you might appreciate having a gown on hand and it didn’t take up much space. Now mind you I still attended an actual gala, but I ended up wearing a tank top and camouflage pants. Crypto is low key that way.
While I am introverted, and not terribly keen on socializing, I haven’t quite given up on a world where I go out if I want to. I want to feel like I’ve got the option to say yes to a nice dinner or to a meeting up at a cocktail bar. Leaving behind my favorite pair of Gucci heels is cutting off some part of my life in my mind.
If I only pack comfortable clothing and sensible skincare I feel as if I’ve conceded something to my disability. If I don’t pack a nice dress, even if my entire trip is planned around being casually at home in an Airbnb, I feel I’ve somehow given in to the pain and fatigue.
I’m not entirely sure if this is something I can work through. Or even if I want to work through it. I hate having to make room for medication and supplements and knowing it means there is no room for a hair dryer or a second pair of heels. I’d rather overpack. I’d rather have some sense of optimism and ambition.
But then I’ve got to get through customs at Heathrow and I’ve got no intention of checking any of my luggage during a chaotic summer for travel. So it might be time to try getting back to traveling light. And that means fewer cosmetics and clothing.