When I worked at Zagat, I often heard about the Slow Food movement, which emphasizes seasonal, locally produced fare eaten leisurely in the company of others (as opposed to going to your local fast-food drive-through and wolfing it down alone in your car). And, I’m aware of the Slow Travel movement, which would certainly disapprove of many of my fast-paced trips (although I loved them all). But now I’d like to introduce the Slow Packing movement… It’s taken me two days to pack for my two-week trip to Alaska and I’m still not done. Slow packing just comes naturally to me — and with some practice, it can feel just as natural to you.
I’m going on an Alaska Twitter Press Trip with Princess Cruises, a “cruisetour” that involves a land component (including Denali Park!) and then of course a cruise from Whittier to Vancouver. I’ll be tweeting with the hashtag #FollowMeAtSea and of course blogging. The trip is going to be amazing, but it’s not so easy to pack for. The weather’s unpredictable (70s and sunny? 40s and rainy? something in between?), I’ll be doing active pursuits (hiking, rafting) and not-so active pursuits (cruising, train traveling), and there are two formal-dress dinners in there.
My tendency toward extreme indecisive helps me pack slowly. You need to be able to deliberate for at least 10 minutes over which shirt to bring. Sometimes you end up bringing both, sometimes neither. And if you end up bringing just one of them, you can be certain that at some point during your trip, you’ll wish you had the other one. Now substitute “pants” or “dress” for “shirt” and you get the point. And don’t even get me started on toiletries. Oh, and take lots of breaks to do other things (like blog) while you pack. That really helps drag it out.
Unlike Slow Food and Slow Travel which want you to slow down to enjoy their respective pursuits, the Slow Packing movement isn’t really there to help you enjoy packing — just tolerate it. It’s actually for people who hate packing. One would think that traveling frequently would make you a better packer, or at least not hate it, but that’s not the case. When I had my Joy of Spa contest, I noticed that several seasoned travel writers wrote that packing was what stressed them out most about traveling. That made me a feel a lot better, but not as good as I’ll feel when my suitcase is finally zipped and ready to go — and that will probably be five minutes before it’s time to leave for the airport tomorrow morning.
Are you a good packer? If so, please share your secrets!