I have some great skills but packing is not one. When it comes to clothing, I like options but options don’t easily fit neatly into suitcases. Blame it on the variable weather forecasts – but honestly the truth is, the most unpredictable element is moi. I like to be able to dress for my mood, which can range from stretch pants to strappy.
I looked at the pile of clothes on my bed that I’d collected for an upcoming 5 day yoga retreat which included hiking and a night out on the town followed by a few days of golf with my husband. There was no carry on would be an option but none-the-less, I was still packing challenged..
I packed and re-packed my suitcase and golf bag three times in the hopes of eliminating a few items. Failed. The fabric expanded as I zipped it shut. Phew. But I wasn’t done.
“Incorrigible over-packer,” I chided myself. “You never wear everything you bring — you promised this would be your year of simplifying so let’s see you DO IT. It’s a yoga retreat – and a mindset of less is more should start right now!”
It was around midnight and I was leaving the next morning. I knew I could do better so I unpacked everything and refolded each item and lay it on the bed.
My husband Bill was asleep in the other room. I could not subject him to these packing aerobics and noisy self-talk negotiations between my rational and real selves.
I tried reason, “Ireland will be casual, it’s a yoga retreat for God sakes. I will barely be dressing up. I’m sure that I will need just a few blouses or nice sweaters for the evening and I can wear the same black pants and boots and that should do it.” (“Who are you kidding,” was the real voice nagging at me. I’m going to get sick of those black pants, I need another pair and what if I feel like wearing a dress if I’m in the mood?” )
“You need those blue trousers – you can’t wear the same black dress pants for 7 nights.”
“Okay fine…the blue and black are both coming with.”
I threw in the blue dress slacks and added a leather jacket to throw over the blouse. I would just roll them up and they would tuck in easily. No Problem. Oh and the dress, just a thin little jumper would be a no-brainer option — in it goes.
“But, why do you need two pairs of jeans?” Hmmmmm – let me sleep on that.
Weather.com’s 10 day forecast was giving me all kinds of multi-seasonal feedback ranging from wintery cold to bone chilling rain and warm sunny days. Layers.
I packed the fleece vest – the Marmot mid-layer and the North Face poof. I was sure I could make them extremely compact and fit them into an invisible corner of my golf bag. Wrong. They had to be tucked around the golf shoes, hiking shoes, the pair of dress boots for the evening and the Wellies.
“Wellies do I really need them?” The heavy rubber rain boots which keep me dry but make my feet sweat wouldn’t bend and took up a lot of space.
“Of course I need the wellies – it’s Ireland for goodness sakes and it will rain – you can count on it. My knee high blue wellies are non-negotiable”.
“And what about the sneakers – would I miss having them if I only had my hiking boots. What if I wanted to run?”
I brought both.
Better to have it and not need it than to not have it and want it was on auto repeat.
So, I brought my usual amount of stuff – which was too much. My bags were overstuffed and way too heavy. Zero progress had been made on the less is more strategy.
At the guesthouse in Ireland my closet overflowed and it made me laugh… boy did I have options.
That first night the damp chill quickly settled into my bones. As the group assembled for evening yoga, I decided I better layer up. I literally put on 4 top layers: yoga top, slim long sleeve, thin running top and a cozy shawl. I pulled on yoga pants, wool socks and hiking shoes and walked outside to the yoga studio which was across the way. I was happy, cozy and warm in all my stuff.
Upon entering the studio, some drizzle began to spit. I smiled and thought – “I’m good, I can wear my wellies later – I’m prepared”.