Battle of the Bulge: Packing

by Donna on August 18, 2011

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ONThere is a reason, actually a lot of reasons, why most travel logs or blogs are written by men.   Having just packed for a week in Russia, I realize again how easy they (men) have it.  Just a spare pair of pants, a couple of shirts, some underwear in a bag.  Ten minutes to put toiletries together—toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, comb, maybe dental floss and Tylenol.  I try to use a small bag when traveling, but that doesn’t’ mean light.  My bag is more like solid concrete.  No way I’m going without my makeup, my facial creams, hair gel, and special shampoo for color-treated hair.  Clothes aren’t the problem–I can get by on a few changes of clothes as long as I have a bunch of scarves, a few glitzy baubles, and at least one shawl.  It is all the rest of the stuff that separates the women from the men.

Then there is the issue of shoes.  He gets by on one pair—no one complains about his footwear in the fancy restaurant as long as the pants aren’t too dirty and the shirt has a collar.  But I have to carry a pair of heels as well as trusty walking shoes.  And stockings to make the little black dress looks acceptable.  Forget telling me it doesn’t matter—it does.  When we go to a restaurant or business meeting, I am the one scrutinized.

Still, at this point, after years of figuring out how to take everything I want in a small carryon, I wouldn’t want it any other way.  (Well, I would like to fly business class.)  It’s that eye contact with other women when the long flight finally lands, when the makeup is mostly worn off, and the once-combed curls resemble a hairdo from Night of the Living Dead.  We have arrived, we are going places, and we will do it our way.

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