Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: Baggage

Back when I was working as a forensic scientist, I used to travel to other towns to give evidence in court. Usually I was only away for one day. But occasionally because of weather conditions, the airport was closed and I was stuck overnight. I remember ringing my boss to say I wouldn't be back to work until later the next day, and he was very concerned about whether or not I had a toothbrush.

Actually I didn't mind in the least being stuck without luggage. And I could always buy a toothbrush. The only thing that I made sure I always had with me, in case I was stuck overnight, was my contraceptive pills. These days, that's not a problem. Actually, the chance of being stuck overnight away from home is not something that's a problem these days. Still, I was thinking about what I'd want to have with me. Firstly, my asthma medication is always in my bag. I have very mild asthma, but I'm not taking chances. Secondly, more and more I try to have my digital camera always on hand - in case I see a truly beautiful sunset, or some other photo worthy scene, just when I'm not expecting it. My handbag also contains a notebook and pen, just in case a line or two of a poem strikes me. And if I was travelling, and might be stuck overnight, I'd want clean underwear and a clean shirt. For a trip of a few days, if I was trying to travel really light, the list above would pretty much do it, except with a few more changes of shirt and underwear. And a passport, if I was going out of the country. I think I could survive pretty well on that lot. What would you take?

It's interesting that we use the phrase "he/she has baggage" to mean something bad. We all have emotional learning from the past - sometimes bad feelings, sometimes good. Without learning, we would be like babies starting over each day. Travelling light can be a good thing, but there is emotional "baggage" that I am glad to have. I have learnt that some people are good, and caring, and loving, as much as I have learnt that some people are not. And that's baggage I'm glad to travel with - it weighs less than the other sort.

More Sunday Scribblings here.


Pacian said...

It's interesting that we use the phrase "he/she has baggage" to mean something bad.

Ah! I was just thinking that! I guess sad emotional baggage is taken as weighing you down with bad memories, preventing you from taking flight or running or dancing (or possibly prancing).

I think that good emotional baggage is certainly a concept that should exist, as you say. What about the happy memories that we carry with us everywhere? But then, I think that this baggage is light, or even bouyant, lifting us up like a helium-filled suitcase. People perhaps don't talk about it so much because it doesn't get in their way like the other kind.

Um, thank you for saying all that better than I just did!

Tammy Brierly said...

I'm in awe of your traveling so light. I'm even more in awe of your career...very cool! Great scribblings :)

Deb R said...

I really like what you said about emotional baggage - so true.

As for the more literal question - I always try to think what would be my absolute minimum to have on a trip in case an airline loses my luggage...things I wouldn't want to do without even one night or take a chance on losing forever. So I always make sure my carry-on has my glasses, my meds, some travel-size toiletries (I *could* rebuy that stuff if I had to, but it's more convenient not to), my camera, a pair of undies, a pair of socks, and a fresh shirt, and a book.

Yak Attacker said...

It is great to travel light, as you do. Thanks for including the 'positive' emotional baggage, as hopefully we do pick up and keep the good in what we see and do, and who we meet along the way in life's journeys.

Catherine said...

Tammy, yak attacker, I don't usually travel that lightly. I was just pondering what things I couldn't do without - but I usually take quite a bit more, especially clothes. Deb, that sounds like a pretty good set of stuff to carry on. My boss went to the US and had his bag go astray, but his travel insurance covered replacement clothes. I think his baggage finally caught up with him on his last day.