i learned to pack light when, as a kid of 17, i spent a year as an exchange student in england. when you're limited to what you can easily carry and you weigh barely 100 lbs soaking wet, you learn quickly how little you really need.
from that time on, if i couldn't fit it into a backpack, or a suitcase the size of a backpack, i generally didn't take it.
on my first honeymoon, i brought one suitcase and my purse. mister ex had three suitcases, a tennis racket, cameras and scuba gear.
its been a long time since i've planned to be away this long, and needless to say, it's causing me some consternation. much of this is because i don't want to travel any less lightly than i do for shorter trips, and hotel laundry facilities tend to be expensive. on the plus side, warm climates make for lighter clothes, and six camisoles can be packed in the space one sweater takes up.
consequently, i've been consulting the internet and my more travel-friendly friends over what, exactly, to pack.
one friend suggested a lot of bathing suits and floaty dresses. i liked the idea of floaty dresses, since i have three i really like, and two can double as beach-cover-ups.
on the internet, i found the suggestion to take all the ratty underwear you'd normally throw out. the beauty of this idea is you wear them once and throw them away, thus gaining valuable souvenir and t-shirt space.
one of my globe-trotting friends shrieked in horror when i shared this tip: you'd take all your ratty underwear on a romantic vacation with your husband?
she was so appalled i asked Beloved what he thought. i think it's a great idea, he said. i don't care if you want to wear ratty underwear. by the time im close enough to you to notice your underwear, it's off.
the same globe-trotting friend shared her philosophy of packing. she advised not to plan what im wearing in terms of amount, but in terms of color. pick two, she said, and then add a third accent color.
oh dear, i said, feeling my blood pressure suddenly spike. i don't know if i can do that.
try, she replied. take all your clothes, lay them out on a bed, pick three colors and pack so everything goes with everything else.
oh my, i thought. when you like as many colors as i do, it's hard to pick just two. or three. or four.
right now, there's a rainbow spread across my bed, in shades that range from brown, and taupe to khaki, cream and ecru, through lavendar and lilac, blush, coral and rose into periwinkle and turquoise, sea foam, grass, mint and sage, sprinkled throughout with touches of yellow, orange, black and navy blue.
needless to say, i have no idea what to take.
and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.