The Suitcase

10.10.10 197

Travel then…

To my knowledge Maggie never traveled much from her home until she was too old to live alone any more and then she took turns living with each of her four daughters for three months each out of the year. I think she didn’t want to impose on any one of her daughters one of which still lived in Missouri, one in Kansas and two who lived in Texas. When she wasn’t well enough to travel between them anymore, she stayed with her daughter Mary in Witchita. Mary had never married and had built a careers as a cook and then as a nurse. I suspect Maggie was a homebody. I think she missed her home which bordered pastures, woods, a creek and a country lane. I fancy that she preferred the sounds of crickets at night to the bustling noises of horns, trucks and automobiles on the streets. So, even though it wasn’t her first choice to move away from the home she loved. She did. Only one of Maggie’s daughters stayed close to farm life. She lived, worked and died on her husband’s farm. But, unlike their mother and sister, Maggie’s other daughters had a little more taste for adventure. One married and moved away living the rest of her married days in south Texas and the other married a preacher which means they moved a lot.

Maggie’s youngest daughter was my grandmother. She married the preacher. And when his health prevented him from working in full-time ministry she made a career for herself and worked her way up in two jewelry companies. She hosted jewelry parties, traveled from coast to coast, and she thrived. I think she loved meeting new people, going new places, the excitement of the events, and of course dressing up. She loved purses, shoes and her jewelry.

While she got to travel with her fancy clothes and baubles, it’s not so easy when you are travelling with three kids.

Travel now…

When we fly with our family of five we don’t check bags. We fit everyone’s clothes, diapers, toys, activities and snacks into two rolling carry-on’s, one small duffle bag, and two backpacks for our standard two-week trip each summer. When packing, everything that goes in must be essential and well thought out. Each person gets to take 3 sets of clothes with an extra shirt and extra pair of underwear and pj’s need to be able to double as clothes in a pinch (i.e. shorts and t-shirt, tank and lounge pants, etc.) and a swimsuit with maybe an extra outfit for the baby. Everyone except my husband (who has size 12 shoes of course) takes one pair of shoes. Clothes go into the roller bags, snacks, toys and activities go in backpacks, and diapers and baby things go into a little black duffle bag. (See a diaper packing list here.)

Toiletries and all our homemade herbal remedies and baby products are all packed in quart sized baggies and put all in one of the backpacks along with any laptop computers so that they can easily be removed and put in a bin when going through the security lines. Thus with the baby strapped on in the wrap, my husband and I can each maneuver the airport with a backpack on our back and one roller bag, with the diaper duffle bag attached to one of the rollers. It’s manageable. When we arrive at our destination, we have enough clothes and diapers to wash every 2-3 days depending on our activities. I always travel with some homemade laundry soap. This soap is cloth diaper safe and works great on regular laundry too. It rinses easily which is a must if washing by hand in a hotel room, using a laundromat, or using the washing machine of friends or family that you are staying with. If you are sensitive to dyes and scents in standard detergents, or are concerned about detergent residue, this soap does not release the other detergents from the inside of the machine like some “clean” rinsing detergents do. Plus it is a powder which is nice when you fly. One less travel sized bottle to pack. I also like to bring one bar of Olive Oil Bar Soap. This doubles as our all purpose tavelling hand soap, shampoo, body wash, stain treater and laundry soap if I run out of the powdered stuff.

So, travelling light today with a family is possible. Though it takes planning. It’s easy to feel like we need to bring everything – just in case! But, I can honestly say, less is better than more. You can always get something there if you need it.

One thought on “The Suitcase

  1. L& I traveled 23 days in Germany in ’95 with 2 carryons. When we were returning, we were really questioned prior to boarding to return to USA. We had a small fold up case (with special purchases we’d bou’t) to check & they wanted confirmation to prove ‘how long’ we’d been there, hardly wanting to believe we could have traveled so light for 23 days. Even had a 4 cup elec. coffee pot which made a variety of things for us in our room. Sure beats hoping your luggage doesn’t get lost too……We had our car rental papers to prove our length of stay. We stayed 1 , 2, (once 3 ) nights in one place, so sure was easy to move around, but were surely thankful for a car! Nice Memories!

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