I’ve never been a fan of packing and I’m always a bit jealous when I meet those people on the road who are travelling with a tiny bag which they’ve somehow managed to fit loads of nice stuff into. You know the ones; they whip out a gorgeous dress and a pair of heels from a bag the size of my daypack or throw on a scarf which transforms their outfit, before telling you that their secret is that they did “tons of research” on what to pack before setting off. Then I have to traipse out with them, feeling like the poor relation. (Although it does appear that I’m never quite jealous enough to get my act together and do it myself.)
I’m not sure where my lacklustre attitude towards packing comes from. Maybe it’s just my inherent unorganised nature or the fact that I find it quite refreshing to go away and for once not have to worry about hair straighteners and makeup and whether my shoes match my skirt.
However I’m currently trying to pack for a business trip to Qatar and I’m quickly discovering that packing for work and packing for pleasure are two very different things. I don’t tend to worry too much about what I take travelling now, as long as I’ve got a couple of pairs of trousers, one or two skirts and enough tops to get through a week without having to do a wash I’m pretty much set and I can head off on my adventures safe in the knowledge that a) most people when travelling are repeatedly wearing the same four outfits and b) no one you meet could actually care less whether what you’re wearing matches. Not that this is always a good thing, as my recent holiday snaps which feature me wearing the dreaded poo pants in every picture is testament to.
But when you’re packing for a trip where you are going to have to go into an office every day, in which people who actually looked in a mirror before heading out the door also work, you can’t really turn up looking like you’ve spent the night sleeping rough. So throwing everything into a backpack and hoping for the best isn’t really an option. Suddenly it matters whether things match and I’ve found myself caring about what’s the best way to pack a shirt to minimise the creasing. How did this happen? Did I suddenly become a grown up?
So it turns out that despite only going for a month this time my backpack is just as big, if not bigger, than when I did my nine month trip. Although something tells me that, unfortunately, it’s probably not going to be as much fun.