The Art of Packing a Suitcase: T-shirts, Teacups and 20 Yards of Bubblewrap
Traveling halfway across the world is never the easiest of things, but add a culturally ingrained tendency to overpack to the mix and it can quickly devolve into a hair-pulling, anxiety-inducing free-for-all that may very well end in a nervous breakdown for everyone involved.
I’m Pakistani by birth and there’s a famous saying about my people and travel and it goes something like this: Pakistanis don’t travel, they move. Basically, we tend to put everything short of the kitchen sink into our stuffed-to-bursting-point suitcases when making even the shortest of trips and the only reason the sink gets left behind is that it can’t fit into a suitcase.
What I’m trying to say is that trying to pack my bags for our journey home isn’t exactly turning out to be an easy task. Currently, there are 4 open suitcases on my bedroom floor, 2 empty ones standing ready by the door, and everything from clothes and shoes to bubble-wrapped teacups and a folded-up carpet strewn across the floor. In short, my room is looking less like a normal bedroom and more like the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse.
It doesn’t help that my energetic two-year-old keeps trying to ‘help’ me pack by dropping random odds and ends into any open suitcase while I’m not looking resulting in erratic bouts of unpacking and re-packing all the bags.
Oh and before you ask, no I’m not that crazy lady who travels with her own full set of teacups and saucers wherever she goes, nor am I in the habit of carting my carpets with me when visiting friends for the weekend. No, it’s only when I visit Pakistan that my suitcases start looking more like the stockroom of the local Target than normal tourist bags.
The reason why is actually less crazy than one would assume: when we moved to the US, my husband and I could obviously not have carted all our earthly possessions with us and a lot of things got left in storage, including most of our wedding gifts. So now, every time we visit Pakistan, we end up taking a few more odds and ends with us from the things left behind, which is why I am currently trying to decide how to best pack the aforementioned bone china tea set without breaking any of the pieces.
I will definitely need a vacation to recuperate from this particular ‘vacation’. Just as long as there are no suitcases involved that is.