Packing and Unpacking

I’m coming to the end of my current assignment (down to one week!) and as always I’m doing the pack and purge.

If you’re used to traveling for a living, you get really really good at packing. You have to fit everything you’ll possibly need in a car/trailer/suitcase for an assignment that’ll last you 3 months. Packing becomes an art form then.

Some people bring a car and fill it to the roof for their cross country trek. I’ve seen some of my fellow travel nurses’ cars. There’s enough room from them, their animal if they have one, and that’s it. I’m usually impressed with the way they jenga things into the car!

Me? I’m a person who flies to my travel assignments, which has a huge impact on how I pack.

I travel with 2 suitcases filled to under my 50lb limit, a rolling book bag (one of those fancy numbers with a million compartments), and sometimes a Vera duffle bag. I fit my life into that stuff.

It’s all about packing the essentials and praying A) you’re near a place to buy what you’ve forgotten, and/or B) your company put you up somewhere that supplies the cooking/housing stuff you need.

When it comes time to leave, I adopt a simple philosophy: if I can’t pack it, I purge it.

I tend to buy many things to remember my stay so I ship home as much as possible, but I’ve been known to toss or leave a lot of things I deem unfit for suitcase life. If it can’t prove its importance, it can’t go in my bag. Purge, purge, purge.

I’m already considering what I can leave here in Nantucket. The blackout curtains in my room will not be leaving with me. Unnecessary paperwork gets tossed. Uneaten food gets donated.

You become as skilled at packing to leave as you do packing to go! I’m a pro, folks. I haven’t ever come close to my oversize limit.

I’ll be making my first trip cross country, taking my vehicle. It’ll be interesting trying to decide what to bring. 3 months in California without an opportunity to fly home can make packing tricky. I’m up for the task though!

Here’s to all the expert packers out there.

Travel on, Road Warrior


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