I’m now only 47 days from setting off on my trip. The clocks have just gone forward, it's British Summer Time at last, the birds are singing with a little more purpose and volume, and frankly I can’t wait to get cracking.
Needless to say, with a month and a half still to go, I have already packed.
I should, in my defence, say that I unpacked immediately afterwards. Yes, I know that sounds just as nuts, but this was nothing more than a test pack to see what my bag – my carefully-selected bag, I should add – looked and felt like with enough clobber for the trip. It’s important that I take enough clothing for my needs, obviously, but it’s equally important not to take too much.
This is actually quite important. If was making the journey by car then I would probably take whatever I wanted, and then a bit more just to be sure. I'd take an extra jumper, for example, a smart jacket perhaps , spare shoes in case one pair gets wet, another spare (smarter) jacket, slippers perhaps, all if this on the basis that you never know what you might need until you find you haven’t got it. I’d probably pack a few books, too, and a couple of magazines, some portable snacks in case I get peckish. I’d probably leave the kitchen sink, but most other things deemed useful, or perhaps just possibly useful, would be chucked in the back of the car.
And that’s rather the point. None of this stuff I’d ever actually have to carry very far, except from the car park to the hotel room and back again. It doesn’t matter how big or how heavy any of this is, the car will scarcely notice it and so neither will you. But if you don’t have a car boot to fill and instead you are, like me, travelling by bus then it is you who will be taking the strain rather than the car. So reducing weight would seems quite a good idea.
The bag I have chosen becomes, with a few deft moves, a rucksack I can carry on my back. It’s therefore easy and comfortable to carry. Otherwise, it is fairly conventional looking bag of about 50 litres capacity, with a handle and a shoulder strap for variety. My trial packing has confirmed, as I hoped it would, that it is entirely adequate for 8 or 10 days of clothing, and a few bits and pieces like my netbook (which, incidently, I am using now for the first time) and camera.
I have deliberately chosen to go on my trip in early summer when, I hope, the weather will reduce my reliance on thick wooly jumpers and allow me to exist fairly happily with just T shirts and a few pairs of socks. At a pinch, I could rest the bag on my knees or under my seat without it getting in people’s way too much. Well, that’s the plan...
Everything seems to fit in the bag OK., so I suppose it’s probably the right size. In a few weeks time, we’ll know for sure!