When you move every 6 months or more like I do you start to reassess your material belongings. Since your life can only amount to one or two suitcases of 23 kilos (plus 1 carry on and 1 personal item, depending on the airline), what’s important really stands out.
Every time I have to pack all my worldly possessions, I play the game of “suitcase survivor.” I put out everything I want to take in my suitcase and then weed out whatever isn’t needed. I repeat this until the scale reads an airline approved number, all while stress eating whatever is left in the cupboards. Heavy jeans get thrown out for extra sets of cycling kit, high heels get left behind for running shoes, and my hair straightener gets the boot for my TT helmet. If a commitment to frizzy hair for the season isn’t dedication to my sport I don’t know what is (thank goodness it’s usually under a helmet).
Necessary items like my bicycle, training clothes, and laptop, naturally make the cut but there are a few “non-essential” items that also always survive. They include the small toy monkey I’ve had since I can remember, a set of colourful markers, my heart measuring cups, flower spatula, and the family travelling elephant. Since I was about 3 our family has had a small toy elephant that is given to who ever is farthest away from home so they don’t forget who is waiting for them to return. I’ve had him for the last 5 years and, terrified I’ll lose him, each move he gets prime real estate in my carry on luggage.
As the list of countries I’ve inhabited continues to grow, so have the items I like from each country. I like my toothpaste from Canada, deodorant from France, and sunscreen from South Africa. I’ve yet to find good dill pickles outside of Canada and go ahead and try to find cheddar cheese in France. I’ve probably carried almost 1000 tea bags for a certain someone who “needs” their Five Roses, a common tea brand in South Africa. You can find suitable replacements for all these things but it’s amazing how each one can provide instant comfort when you’re in a strange new land.
23 kilos (plus my bike, 1 carry-on and 1 personal item, depending on the airline) doesn’t seem like much of a life but I’ve come to appreciate a simple suitcase is better than having baggage.