Switching Gears

Normally, I’m in this space talking about my whole weight loss thing and how that’s going, but it’s time to switch gears, because this next four and a half months is going to be all about the cruise I’m taking with my husband. “Holy shit!” I hear you cry! “A four and a half month cruise?!” To which I reply “Don’t be silly. We don’t leave for a couple of weeks, so the cruise itself will only be four months.”

And what happens first? PACKING. How do you even pack for four months? My first question was “Do they have some kind of enormous luggage storage rooms so that we have somewhere to store our steamer trunks and hatboxes and croquet mallets and stuff?” For months I looked for that info, and couldn’t find it anywhere. On cruises we’ve been on in the past, we just shoved all our luggage under the bed, but the longest cruise we’ve been on before now is 3 weeks. Fitting a couple of big suitcases under the bed is no sweat. But how do you find room for luggage for FOUR MONTHS?

Turns out, even on a trip of that length, all your suitcases have to fit in your room. Since we’re not members of the royal family, we have a normal stateroom, which will be about the size of a parking space. Okay, two parking spaces. We’re taking two really big suitcases, two smaller carry-ons, two overnight cases, and two enormous duffel bags. What’s going to end up happening will be a sort of turducken of luggage: the folded duffel bags will go into the overnight cases which will then go into one large suitcase, and the packing cubes will go into the carry-ons, which will go into the other big suitcase. Problem solved!

Well, that problem at least. Now that we know how we’re going to pack, the next question is what are we going to pack?

First, we had to do a little reality check. Yes, we’re leaving for four months, but do we have to pack four months’ worth of stuff? I mean, I don’t own 120 pairs of socks. Wait, bad example. (I really like socks.) But I sure as heck don’t own 120 pairs of underpants. We decided that three weeks’ worth of clothes would be the right amount.

Then I started laying out three weeks’ worth of clothes. Oh, and also a bathing suit. And pajamas. And don’t forget the formalwear. And shoes. Undershirts. Sweaters. During the trial run, I had all my clothes stacked up on the bed such that the bed was almost entirely obscured. (See picture left.)

I did a little research. I mean, that’s why we have the internet, right? So that we might learn from other people’s mistakes. And what I learned was that, whatever you initially took out of your closet, put half of it back. Every single article agreed that less is more, and if there was anything urgent you had forgotten, other places in the world will have them and gladly sell them to you.

So I put stuff back. When I finally started packing, I was a little disoriented that it seemed like…not a lot. Especially considering we’ll be going from England in January, through the equator, and into a southern hemisphere late fall, then back. We’re opting for the classic plan: layers. I’ve got undershirts, button-downs, trousers and all manner of socks. I even have hats (one for cold weather, one for warm), gloves, and a scarf. I plan to be a warm, happy onion.

The luggage service comes on Tuesday to pick up all our luggage and take it to the ship. This isn’t a service of the cruise line – this is something you have to arrange yourself. But for a couple of non-neurotypical people who aren’t exactly spring chickens, it’s worth the cost to not have to keep track of eight skillion pieces of luggage.

This gives us about 20 days to freak out about “Did we pack X?” “Should we bring Y?” “Did you pack Z? I needed it!” I can hardly wait!

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