Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Bags are Calling

No, not the one's under my eyes, but the one's I strap onto my back and wheel behind me as I take to the skies for another French adventure. Somehow, I never feel so empowered as when I'm walking through the airport, especially with a backpack on. Happy memories of taking off into the unknown with my L.L. Bean frame pack and my Rick Steves' guide book and my best friend and really, not many clues between us!

No, the travel part is no longer fun. I remember the days when my mother dressed me up in a nice suit to make the trip to Europe, the meals I picked from a fancy menu weren't bad and the Stewardesses didn't look over-worked and under-paid. They were glad to bring me head phones and another soda. They didn't look at me as just another pain-in-the-butt child.

Despite the numerous complications of modern travel, I still love it. I plan ahead for the food, don't really plan on getting sleep and don't worry too much if I'm called aside to get patted down - I'm just not that proud. I've had babies and the idea that someone might feel my boobs while looking for a weapon just doesn't freak me out as much as the idea that they might not even look. I'm perfectly willing to explain to my children why a stranger should not touch them but that a security guard at the airport may have to and that there is a difference. They're just doing their job and I'm just another stranger passing on by.

I feel like I'm late, like I should have been working on this packing list months ago. Only 7 weeks more and I'd better have everything worked out. Of course, I'm not just packing for myself, so there's a bit more than just me making sure I have enough underwear.

So, when I go for two weeks to the most chic city on earth, what do I pack? Ok, I admit that when I was only slightly younger, I poured across the internet to see WHAT they were wearing. I do believe in "blending in;" it's the best security tip I have. Plus, I just like to be "in fashion." But I've now matured enough so that if my orthotics don't fit into the 5 inch heals and my Chanel suit hasn't made it to the dry cleaners lately, I'm OK with that.

In fact, I am freed of that for two reasons:  (1) I'm getting more, ah-hem, mature, and (2) the last two trips have revealed a whole new generation of French women who feel OK wearing comfortable shoes and jeans! So while there are still plenty of the chic, beautiful people crowding chic bars and strutting down boulevards, I still fit in with the rest!

So the picture is of the luggage I use for the two weeks. A rolling suit case that's actually small enough to be considered carry-on in a pinch, a great L.L. Bean backpack that is very comfortable and leaves my hands free, a shoulder bag (which can be packed away,) and a small backpack for days in the city (it will be packed away in the suitcase.) These are things I can easily handle myself and can even carry up/down escalators and stairs in the Metro. Never mind what the airlines will let you bring. Be sure YOU can handle the bags before and after the airport!

Stay tuned for the actual packing list!

For more about preparing for a trip to Paris, visit ParisMadeSimple!

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