Before the recent Romance Writers of America national conference in New York City, many authors were inundating Facebook with packing issues. The conference officially lasted about four or five days, though some people came early or stayed late. Still I was stunned by the lists of items people were reporting putting in their suitcases.
Some of the authors had shoes, shoes, and more shoes. It sounded like they had entire suitcases just devoted to shoes. And outfits for workshops, different outfits for meals, outfits for lounging, and really jazzy outfits for the awards ceremony. I think several authors were lugging along more outfits than I own.
Now, when I’m travelling I admit I don’t get any sleep the night before because I’m obsessing over what’s in my suitcase.
I must have my teabags and my Splenda. What if I get to a hotel—it’s been known to happen—and all they have is herbal tea or only one or two teabags in the room? What a nightmare!
Since the invention of e-readers I no longer have to weigh down my luggage with books. In the old days I had to make sure I had enough books to cover however much time I was going to be away plus several extra in case of emergency. This made for an extremely heavy suitcase even if I limited myself to paperbacks.
Now I also have my tablet loaded with e-books. Lots and lots of e-books because I never know if I’ll be stranded somewhere and what if I run out of books? And I lie in bed worrying about whether I remembered to pack my charger.
I toss a few paperbacks into my bag, just in case.
Then I have magazines in my carry-on if I’m flying. It’s so satisfying to actually finish reading a magazine that’s been languishing on my coffee table for months and throwing it away, leaving room in my luggage for…well, probably for buying any interesting books I find while wandering the airport.
I generally fool myself into thinking that I’ll get some actual work done in my down time instead of ordering movies on the hotel TV. So I must pack legal pads, notes, and possibly some research books I’ve been meaning to read more carefully. And pens. Many, many pens because what if I have an idea and I can’t write it down because my pen is out of ink?
My laptop goes into my carry-on bag as well, leaving very little room for anything else, but I do manage to squeeze in a mouse, and a back-up mouse, and batteries, and again, the charger. Because I hate trying to respond to email on my tablet or my phone, and I kid myself into thinking I’ll use those notes and research books to do some actual writing.
Somewhere in there I might find space for a second pair of shoes, two or three t-shirts and a pair of jeans. But only after I make sure I’ve got all the important stuff covered.