Packing is an art form

Packing for a long trip is a lot like the editing process. You start with an empty suitcase, your blank document, which you must fill with only your most essential possessions. At first your clothes are piled high like the data of a lengthy research paper, and you think that you can include everything. You categorize the data into logical sections; t-shirts, shorts and dresses are split into their own piles. After you finish organizing what you want to include, you stuff the piles into your suitcase and thankfully the zipper co-operates with you. The suitcase is full, but this is only the first draft.

As you get closer to your departure date, you revisit your suitcase. You realize you’ve packed 6 dresses and no shorts. You forgot a bathing suit. You also start to worry that your bag will be too heavy when you get to the airport. Like the second draft of a research paper, packing requires a bit of editing. You wouldn’t want to turn in a paper without a third body paragraph just as you wouldn’t want to be on a beach in a foreign country without your bathing suit. Of course, you can buy one while you’re there, but who’s to say that there will be enough room in your suitcase to bring the suit home? You want your suitcase to be stacked with everything you’ll need just as you’d want your research paper to be your best effort.

This is exactly the situation I’m dealing with right now. My large suitcase is packed with clothes and I’m almost positive that it will exceed the 50lb limit when I arrive at the airport on May 5th. A second draft of packing is necessary at this point. Here is what I had for the first draft:

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Second draft:

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