Packing for travel

I have read a lot about “capsule wardrobes,” where you select a few pieces based around neutral colors, and then build a set of outfits where everything goes together. I don’t do this in my daily life, where I pretty much choose my clothes based on a) what is clean and b) what fits right then. There has been many a week in the past year or so where I was going to have to call in naked since I did not have a single item that met both of those criteria.

For the trip, though, I am going to try the whole capsule wardrobe plan.

So far, I have decided to take the following:

  • black and tan print dress
  • grey trousers (I like that word)
  • navy trousers or a pair of jeans, haven’t decided yet
  • long black skirt
  • knee-length floral skirt
  • white sleeveless top
  • navy & white striped top
  • a couple of colorful tees
  • black camisole
  • black short-sleeved open-knit cardigan
  • black long-sleeved long drapey cardigan
  • blue scarf
  • black trench coat

A couple more things are in the running, but either I haven’t chosen a specific one yet, or I can’t decide if they are versatile enough:

  • colorful abstract-print cardigan
  • red ruffled cardigan
  • at least one more scarf
  • at least 2-3 pieces of jewelry

What a difference from packing in the past, when my “plan” went something like this: Jeans, some shorts, a sweatshirt, long- and short-sleeved t-shirts, a jumper (dating myself here, I know) and a Columbia Sportswear convertible jacket with a zip-out inner jacket. I would then stuff all the nooks and crannies of my big backpack with socks and underwear, and I was good to go. I am 100% sure I looked like a completely dorky backpacking tourist. Which I was.

Daily Check-In:

  • I’m grateful! to Lynette and Joe for their help today, and for a lovely dinner.
  • I’m lighter! I worked hard all day today on getting ready. There is still so much to do and so little time.

Pretty darn cool

I got myself a cooling vest a couple of weeks ago. My neurologist strongly recommended that I get one for the trip, to use in hot climates or anywhere that we will be doing a lot of physical activity. People with MS tend to get increased neurological symptoms if they get overheated, as the electrical impulses do not travel through the nerves very well in those conditions. Okay, strike that; they never travel well, but the situation worsens if the person gets too hot.

It took me ages – six months! – to actually order a vest, and I probably wouldn’t have gotten around to it without the weekly reminders I got from Charles, the guy who works on my leg. Instead, I did what I always do when things make me uncomfortable: I just made jokes about it. (“I’ll be able to carry everyone’s wine coolers!”) Once I ordered it, it sat in the package for weeks. I might not have gotten around to opening it and trying it on without constant reminders from Patti, who was concerned that if it did not fit, I was not leaving myself enough time to return it.

I put “Try on cooling vest” on the to-do list for tonight… and actually did it. Upon opening the package, I noticed that the vest looks strangely like a life jacket.

It has a velcro-and-elastic waist strap, and velcro flaps over the shoulders, to adjust for a one-size-fits-all fit. Which, of course, means it really doesn’t fit anyone well, but it won’t fall off and it will do its job. When you open it, you find four compartments for the cooling packs. The packs can be cooled in ice water – they don’t need a freezer – which seemed very convenient for this trip.

Then I tried it on and we all laughed at how ridiculous I looked. A self-portrait of me in front of Q’s shower curtain of emoticon joy:

Although the cooling vest is designed to wear under a shirt, I think I might just wear it outside my clothes. Yes, I would look like I am wearing a life jacket, but at least I would not look like the incredible inflatable woman. Plus, I figure everyone will be jealous of my awesome coolness while they swelter in the blazing sun.  (Hey, a girl’s got to hope.)

Daily Check-In:

  • I’m grateful! to my Little Deb for going out with me, going over my checklist with another pair of eyes, and helping me out in so many ways! (and to both Deb and Whitney for buying cookies!)
  • I’m lighter! by about 10 tasks from the list. A very productive day.