Travel is my friend and we enjoy a new place and new people! But I have to admit that I’m not a fan of packing! Somehow it seems to be a time when my disability frustrates me.. It’s comical as we pack almost as much when we travel for a weekend as we do for two weeks! It’s not the clothes (but we do take too much clothes) that make our packing a bit overwhelming, but the disability related paraphernalia and issues. Ok, I confess, choosing clothes to take can challenge me and that’s frustrating because it seems to signal that I have too much in my closet. But back to gathering necessary wheeling related luggage…
There is the shower chair, the tools to put the shower chair together – as well as any additional emergency items that we take – just in case. On top of that, we can’t forget the charger so that my power wheelchair continues to run. And if we are going somewhere that might not be fully accessible, we take a six foot ramp that folds neatly in the back of the van (for a drive) and we often check it as baggage when we fly. Let’s not forget Tahoe and his leash, identification, food, treats, toys, brush, bowls and baggies, etc.
I have a spreadsheet to track all the things we don’t want to forget! When we pack we check things off the list to make sure that we are not an hour away and say ‘Oh my, we forgot the —–‘, and it isn’t like it’s easy to buy ‘—-‘ on the road!
Every year we take a trip to Florida in the January-February time frame to attend a conference where Brent is a featured speaker. It is the perfect time for a break from the cold weather, but warmth is hit or miss. Sometimes we experience the coldest snap of the year or decade! In fact, for the last several years we have experienced weather that has kept us inside the hotel(s) for most of our visit. We seem to arrive when it’s either raining incessantly or the temperatures are dropping into the low 30s with winds. Last year we had a day or two where we actually spent ‘time’ outside and we found a dog park where Tahoe could run and enjoy the outdoors in the afternoons or evenings once Brent was finished with his sessions. This year looks promising!
Speaking of Brent, remember he is a techie genius. He presents and teaches workshops on geeky topics when we are on the road…this packs an additional punch into our already heavy load! Thankfully, a trip to Florida is drivable! For those times when we fly for business, we usually send Tahoe’s food as well as Brent’s teaching materials ahead of time. Did I mention Brent is a ‘snacking maniac’? He loves his morning, afternoon and bedtime snacks that keep his tall (and handsome) body on the go. We pack snacks and also buy snacks on the road. Yes, the popcorn is packed!
People with small children no doubt face a similar dilemma, but it’s all worth it when you are finally on the road or in the air and it always seems easier to UNpack! Hopefully your babies are as cooperative as Tahoe on your journeys. He curls up in the van and on the plane for a trip. You have to laugh at his ‘Please don’t pet me, I’m working’ patch! He looks to be working hard in seat 10B!
This year I prepared for the packing process with an added punch of prayer and my kind helpers put everything but the kitchen sink in our bag(s)! Really, just kidding about the sink, it is in there somewhere. And why not throw in the chargeable toothbrush this time? I love clean teeth!
- I’m thankful we don’t have to travel with oxygen tanks.
- I’m thankful Brent can lift me and we don’t travel with a big lift like one of my friends who has an injury like mine. Although, we do pack a lifting belt like the Home Depot employees wear!
- I’m thankful Brent enjoys having me and Tahoe even though we represent a good bit of work for him.
- I’m thankful for the cyber world that helps us continue our communication and activities and work remotely.
- I’m thankful that processing through my perceived packing pains sparked prayers for our next trips! The time with family in the spring is destined for packing perfection.
I’m sure there are others with pack-aphobic tendencies. Please share your tips, struggles and stories with me. Today I need you!