Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Things We Carried

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Please tell me you've seen Joe Versus The Volcano. It's a fine piece of cinema and the most adorable example of the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan chemistry we all used to know and love. If you've seen it, you'll understand why I had to take a photo of this trunk in the window of Louis Vuitton in Vienna. Joe was going to jump in a volcano, and therefore needed good luggage. In fact, (SPOILER ALERT FOR A MOVIE FROM 1990!) the luggage eventually saves Joe's life.

Our luggage, on the other hand, nearly killed us on our trip. You know how people say you should pack light when you travel, especially overseas? It turns out that they were not only serious about that, but completely accurate. Lugging around your stuff, even stuff you love, sucks like a Hoover. When I packed a couple of extra shirts in my bag, they weighed only a fraction of an ounce. By the time I'd transferred them on and off two airplanes, two trains, two taxis and one bus, they weighed 23 pounds. Each.

Before he packed his bags, Ryan downloaded travel guru Rick Steve's recommended packing list. It basically said to bring two shirts, one jacket, a pair of pants and a toothbrush. Oh, and some clean underwear if you're into that sort of thing. Ryan puzzled over the list for a few minutes, then tossed it over his shoulder and said, "That guy's an idiot."

Oh, Rick Steves. We repent and grovel and request thy forgiveness.

Ryan realized pretty quickly of his mistake and tried to warn me, since I was joining him later, but the thing about life is that you really can't avoid some of the big mistakes just because people wiser and more experienced than you tell you in exact, step-by-step detail how to avoid them.

Dear Self of Early October, CURSE YOU AND YOUR AMPLE VARIETY OF WELL COORDINATED OUTFITS! Auf Wiedersehen, Mid-October Self.

To add insult to injury (or backache to arm ache), I picked up some fragile souvenirs that were made out of ceramic and (apparently) lead. That tube of mustard I blogged about? It weighs 108 pounds. The bags just kept getting heavier and heavier. And with every heave and ho, we smacked our foreheads with more and more resentment.

The next time around, we will be so wise. We will print out a new Rick Steves packing list and we will hold it lovingly in our arms. We will study it and honor it and follow it with the exactness. And when we are tempted to put that extra t-shirt into our tiny suitcase, the one that is begging to be worn overseas and immortalized in vacation photos, we will say to that extra t-shirt, "Go jump in a volcano."

13 comments:

kami @ nobiggie.net said...

I need to listen up! I'm the worst over packer. We all need a little Rick what's his name list.

Soul-Fusion said...

and now you know why I wear the same two outfits in every vacation photo ever! My first trip to Europe? I had a ridiculous amount of stuff. I thought I needed lots and lots since I was there for two months. But lugging around a GIANT wheely suitcase plus an overstuffed backpack around 5-6 countries for 8-10 weeks . . . it teaches you a serious lesson. Especially when you overhear (and understand) some normally neutral, confrontation avoiding Swiss people discussing the stupid American tourists and all of their luggage on a train. I was one of those stupid Americans with all the luggage.

Soul-Fusion said...

forgot to say I LOVE JOE VS THE VOLCANO!!!!!

Annie said...

hilarious! dan hauled my mom's and his luggage everywhere in europe. but since he's 6'5" that's ok. good thing we took the middle ground between rick steves and you and ryan! (dan is a huge rick steves follower, thank goodness!)

Becky said...

How did I know that stopping by your blog tonight would be the nicest thing I could do for myself before turning out the lights. You always make me laugh! It's pretty much the only ab workout I do. So I thank you, and my abs thank you too! xoxo

Shannon said...

I adore Joe vs. the Volcano. In fact I just made Brock watch it a couple of months ago. I think I've seen it at least 10 times.

My first trip out of the country I think I packed everything I owned. You know, just in case. Stupid, stupid me.

Angie said...

So, so true. Thinking about hauling a suitcase through the subways of Paris still makes me want to cry. Our last morning in London, Melody and I splurged on a cab to take us to the station, best thing we ever did. So, either forget the underwear, or bring cab fare. Hey, that rhymed.

Omgirl said...

This is why I love your writing. Because of that last line. And because you managed to reference Joe vs The Volcano.

Brilliant.

Jennie Blaser said...

My husband and I went to Europe for a month and each only brought a carry-on! Of course, we went HOME with a big suitcase each of souvenirs....

lizzie said...

the local d.i. had a luggage chest just like the one in the picture here, except more antique-y! i wanted to buy it so bad. maybe it will still be there tomorrow.

Kate said...

I freaking love Joe Versus The Volcano! So great. Favorite line ever: "I have no response to that."

Mia said...

I am putting this warning in my mental rolodex. Now if I can just heed its warning!

I totally can't remember Joe VS the Volcano. Sad.

Kelly Sperber said...

This post was perfect! Love Joe vs. the Volcano. I don't think you should worry too much about how much stuff you took with you. You look so cute in all the pictures. In 5 years when the memories of dragging your suitcase around with you have faded, you will still have the memories that you looked good, and the pictures to prove it!

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