Continuing along the epic saga of summer travel, today I finally settled down to pack for the two trips I have covering just over a week. Both of these trips are very different and require very different perimeters when packing. Luckily, this allowed me to pack for both trips at once while also having what I need for both trips available.
First (as in tomorrow), I leave to caravan up to Fresno to help my sister pack her apartment up and move back to the valley. With an easy there and back, two day trip whose main features are driving, cleaning, and carrying heavy items, packing is pretty much throwing in some extra underclothes, a shirt, and PJs; it’s easy to reuse heavy duty jeans the whole trip. Add in toiletries and an ipod play list for the drive and you’ve got the whole trip more or less squared away.
This is almost the opposite of packing for Kansas.
While Kansas – as I have spent the last few weeks explaining – doesn’t have very much going on, my wardrobe for Kansas is extremely varied. There are two reasons for this kind of packing (one of which I have encountered before and the other I haven’t) : One – it’s a short trip. Six days if you count the evening I fly in; and Two – this whole trip is basically back to back dates that consist of everything from a fancy dinner and a show, to a stadium musical, to zip lining, to fourth of July fireworks.
The first means that I will over-pack. Even with all of my experience, I almost always pack more per day traveling short term than I do long term. Why is this? well, even with wearing pieces that can work well together without making it look like you haven;t changed clothes in 5 days, the shorter the trip the more the similarities bother – after all, as much as I like the ease of travel, I also like fashion.
The second means that I have to account for day activities and night activities that very well may require costume changes. Alongside leaving room for choice while on the road, this means packing even more. Then there are toiletries, makeup, hair stuff, shoes, and entertainment for the plane. And of course, my camera. All in all, that is a lot of stuff for less than a week out there.
But what am I packing? A few dresses fit for different kinds of activities – from a fancy dinner to running around town; some rugged jeans and a basic shirt for zip lining; and then some basic running around clothes like a skirt and jeans paired with a wide selection of top options.
So it will be a long week but I can’t wait to get underway. Until next time:
Since beginning this blog, this isn’t the first time I’ve written—and experienced—things just not going right in my travels. In fact, this seems to be a running theme and I’m not sure whether to blame my planning, time keeping skills, or just dumb luck, but all in all, it’s never something I regret. While this time, I was lucky enough not to be traveling very far—staying within half an hour of my London flat—but no matter if you’re planning a close staycation or a trip around the world, things not going to plan can completely kill your night, right?
Well, only if you let it.
To start, my best friend upon hearing most the details dubbed this worthy for a TV episode or romantic comedy—if I were romantically inclined—so, hopefully, you’ll be entertained, if nothing else.
Basically, the plan for last Saturday night was to have an end of exam celebration with fellow members of my master’s program (as well as a few related majors) which included a three and a half hour boat ride down the Thames with everyone “dressed to impress” to relax before we all fall into the hermit-hood which is dissertation writing.
Where things went wrong in my long day of dress hunting—not my dress!—and party prep, came down to communication and execution—or a lack of both.
A few days prior, I’d been talking to my friend (we’ll call him Cal) about the party and, since we live in the same building, I was going to join the group of people he was headed over with. Unfortunately, Cal and I couldn’t seem to get our phones to message each other over whatsapp or regular messaging (an issue that has since been sorted—it’s all about the country area codes!). Still, no worries, Cal had my flat number and would run up and get me before they left (Can you feel the foreboding? bum, bum, bum!).
It wasn’t until the day of that I realized we never talked about what time we were going to be leaving (issue two in the plan destined to go wrong!), so I got ready super early and waited…
And played guitar and waited….
And then I waited a little bit more…
And then I double checked the time and sprinted down the stairs—not an easy feet in my heels!—because I was very, very late.
What took place over the next fifteen-twentyish minutes I wish I had on film—CCTV across London is sure to have it and it must be priceless.
If you noticed the skirt I’m wearing in the picture, you don’t have to be a fashion expect to know that a slight breeze will give you an authentic Marilyn Monroe moment—Ladies, always wear shorts, please!
Now, imagine that, except I was literally sprinting through the tube station and across Westminster Bridge—Big Ben’s Clock Tower and Westminster creating a picturesque backdrop behind me—trying to keep my skirts down with my purse and high heels (I changed to flats on the tube) clutched in my hands as I dodged camera wielding tourists and fellow London commuters alike.
With five minutes to spare and frantically texting my other friend—we’ll call her Nat—who was stuck in traffic and nowhere close enough to make the boat, I tried to locate the correct pier which none of the local kiosk keepers seemed to be able to help me with, only to have the clock run out.
We missed the boat.
But soon enough, Nat met me down by the river and we started to plan the spontaneous fancy dress night to totally kick the butt of the missed boat party.
While we decided what to do, we walked along the Thames chatting and getting smiles from strange passerbys—seriously, how often do you see girls in storybook princess garb just strolling down the street?—before the idea of doing something totally mundane and yet totally epic because of our overdressed attire.
Apparently, fancy dress bowling was on both of our bucket lists!
In what would be a video montage if this were filmed, we ran from bowling alley to bowling alley—Londoners really love their bowling!—before we ended up at Bloomsbury Bowling (thanks to the lovely and very helpful ladies at All Star Lanes!) with a ten o’clock reservation and an hour long break to partake in some fabulous pumpkin pizza (a serious yes!) before getting our shoes and continuing our epic party.
With amazing speed bowling skills—three games in an hour—inter-played with videos, selfies and musical throwbacks which just had to be danced to—some serious Usher induced, middle school nostalgia—it’s hard to imagine a boat party making my night any better.
I ended the night meeting my other friends at a local club where the after party was being held and danced away the next few hours. This started off with a ‘Dirty Dancing-esque, big lift moment”—as one bystander dubbed it—which was actually me giving up on going around the crowd and walking across a bench to join said friends, in all my big tulle glory, and into the very helpful hand-down of Cal, who was extremely mollified that he’d forgotten to get me earlier.
I ended up feeling worse than he did though as I couldn’t contain my laughter as he, completely apologetic and puppy-eyed, tried to explain his crazy night and why her forgotten me. But I told him that everything turned out better for missing the actual event; no hard, no foul.
To sum up the point of this comedy of errors, I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again: sometimes things go wrong. When it does, you can either roll over and let it ruin your night/trip, or you can roll with it and make the night even more epic that it was meant to be.
For me, it’s all about the fancy dress bowling—plus if you’ve watched Gilmore Girls, Paris Geller has already highlighted the many frustrations and disasters which come from young people trapped on a boat with alcohol…. Enough said.