I’m casually following travel journalist Rolf Potts’ 42-day baggage free travel adventure. Last weekend, Spud Hilton wrote this essay about the No Baggage Challenge for SFGate. There’s lots of charming chatter about how great it is to leave the “cocoon of comfort” behind…the implication seems to be that by bringing a comfortable pillow and plenty of clean underwear somehow diminishes a traveler’s ability to truly experience new places.
So now I’m thinking about how a no-baggage trip might work for me…
I wonder if that spiffy uber-pocketed vest Rolf is wearing has the room for prescription bottles–say a dozen prescription bottles, a couple of them large enough to contain more than 200 horse-sized capsules? No, these can’t be “condensed”–when I’m traveling, I need the information on the labels of each script bottle.
Then there’s the temperature issue. If I’m traveling to a warm place, sure I can leave my coat at home. But a multinational adventure in the autumn? When I get cold, my pain flares. So I need enough clothes to stay warm.
Rolf’s a guy, so he doesn’t need some things that women find necessary. Is there enough room in those vest pockets for tampons and pads? Granted, ladies’ underpants take up less room than mens’, so perhaps some OBs could be slipped into that extra space.
How much does that vest weigh, fully packed? I’m guessing more than just a pound or two–probably more like 15-20 pounds depending on how full the bottles of shampoo and detergent and mouthwash are on any given day. When I’m having a flare or even a spike of pain, I can’t tolerate any weight or binding in the painful areas. And while I’ve never tried it, I don’t think I’d do all that well carrying 15-20 pounds every place I went, every day for more than a month–no matter how cleverly designed the pockets or well distributed the weight.
And finally–Rolf takes two showers per day, and spends time at a sink washing out his spare set of clothes every evening. These activities are necessary to his hygiene because he’s got so few clothes available. But yikes! That’s a lot of spoons to spend every day. I don’t think I could keep up with that schedule while on the road–I prefer to use my limited store of spoons to visit attractions, take short hikes, and explore my destination.
Nope, I don’t think I’ll post my luggage on Freecycle anytime soon. In fact, it’s that much maligned “cocoon of comfort” that permits me to travel at all. And I’d recommend that my fellow travelers with pain bring along clean clothes, pain meds, orthopedic shoes, memory foam pillows, and any other items that can make you comfortable on your trips. You’ll save so many spoons this way, that you’ll be much more able to enjoy the wonders and joys of your destination.
I would like to take this moment to offer a blessing to Rolf and to Spud: May you never lose your health. May your body remain whole and sound and strong. May you always carry with you an infinite number of spoons.