I. One result of all our travels is that I always get a kick thinking about the provenance of my outfits. Today it’s a turtleneck and cardi bought in the Netherlands over a pair of jodhpur-ish capris bought in Arizona tucked into boots I got in Oregon. Socks were knitted by me while cruising around the Baltic Sea; earrings made by me in the Netherlands from ‘planet’ beads shipped from Minnesota, and necklace is a jade Maori symbol bought in New Zealand. (I also figure I get bonus points on any day when I’m wearing more than one item made by me.)

II. Less than twenty workdays left here! The movers come in 27 days from now (I have a countdown app) and we leave a couple of days after that. Since the people here are getting caught up in all sorts of administration, we are assuming that we’re taking time off and traveling around the US, unless someone makes us a better offer at the last minute. I’ve been asking elsewhere, and it also applies to readers here: got any advice on must-sees, as we road-trip around the US? Since we’ll have a big pick-up and long fifth-wheel RV, we are leaning more toward rural and remote sites than big cities.

Also, let me know if you would be interested in meeting up as we travel around. No guarantees, as described above, but it is much more fun traveling when you can meet up with locals here and there for dinner or a drink or outing. (We also appreicate any local advice on where to part the trailer or on where a convenient laundromat can be found.)

III. I may have discussed this before, but I’ve been getting annoyed lately at one-bagger and light-packing advocates, because so many of them are so damned prescriptive and sanctimonious. I think I can fairly say that I have a lot of travel experience, and you know what? Sometimes it really is easier to check a bag. Often, those people and their two-shirt packing lists are simply not doing the kind of travel I am. Even if I were willing to wear the same shirt for a week, which I’m generally not, more often than not I need business clothing, personal clothing, workout gear, plus a computer and whatever electronics I want for communication and entertainment and chargers for all of those. Even if I’m only going for a week I’m going to want more than one outfit in each category, and if I’m meeting with muckey-mucks, then the work clothing required needs to be both dressy and pristine enough that I’m not going to want to wear it outside of work. I have plenty of clothes that can do double duty, but for example if I wear a knit skirt as a cover-up after getting all sweaty – which is what my amazingly versatile black wool skirt is actually designed to do – or spill food on it at dinner, I can’t wear it to work the next day! Maybe two days later, after I’ve washed it and it has time to dry. I can do business travel for a week with no gym access on a carry-on-sized suitcase plus a laptop backpack, for a longer time or if I’m going to need sneakers or rowing gear, I could probably manage with the same, but I’d be more comfortable with a suitcase one size up, which has to be checked.

Also, I think those people complaining about how much everyone else has packed aren’t always considering the possibilities. On my next flight, for instance, I will probably have my large suitcase plus a smaller one plus a carry-on. In that case, it is not classified as “over-packing” but “moving”. We have what we can take with us plus 60 kg of air freight; everything else is shipped by sea and will probably take 5-6 weeks to get there. We have left some clothes in our US house on previous trips, but it’s mostly either exercise gear or old sweatshirts and worn jeans, ot anything nicer. (Except the two sheath dresses I took last time, in case I needed work-wear in a hurry and hadn’t packed it.)

Finally, except for the one-backpack ultralight packers, I suspect many of the loudest carry-on adocates are the ones dragging big bags on the plane, overfilling the overhead bins, and slowing everyone else down.

Aside from the bin-hogs, there’s nothing at all wrong with light packing, and maybe it is better in many circumstances. I just get annoyed when people insist that their way is the One And Only Right Way, in almost any context, and this is a bunch I seem to be coming up against regularly these days. A number of them also like to insist that all checked bags will be lost or their contents stolen. Of course that happens, but less than you’d think. I’ve had bags not show up after the flight three times in my life; once they were delivered the next morning to the house where I was staying (an hour and a half from the airport); once they were checked through even though the airline had canceled our connecting flight (and not informed), and they got to us two days later; and once my flight was late and I chose to take a flight on another airline, that I had to run to. They got my bags there two days later. In the case I was told my bags wouldn’t make it and I chose to take that risk. Of those, the first one was really no inconvenience, the second was entirely the airlines’ fault and should never have happened, and the third was partly my fault. Three incidences aren’t bad for twenty years of extensive travel. I’ve never had anything stolen from a suitcase; Ted did have a hat and gloves I’d made taken (he thinks it was an accident during a security check rather than deliberate theft, since only one glove was taken). Of course, when I check bags I do have to wait for them, but I’m generally just tired, not rushing off to a meeting at that point.

I might think differently in a few years, if I do much domestic travel; these days my trips are mostly international, and checking a bag is still free (two, if you travel enough to be at elite status in the frequent flyer programs). I can see how my choices might change if there’s a more-than-nominal charge to check a bag. Even then, I don’t think there will ever be One Choice to Rule Them All.