Monthly Archives: July 2014

Packing light is a mindset

Rodin Museum garden, Paris.  Gray skirt, rain jacket, knee socks, Keen mary janes

Rodin Museum garden, Paris. Gray skirt, rain jacket, knee socks, Keen mary janes

I posted my packing list for our recent trip to France.  I found packing for that trip to be challenging as we were taking a river cruise and then going to Paris — both places where a person wants to look “nice.”  It was much harder to pack for France than for Mexico, the Galapagos, or Australia, where we were did more casual outdoor pursuits or spent time on a beach.  In addition, the weather in France was cooler, meaning some warmer clothes were needed.

Most advice about packing tells you to make sure all of your tops go with all of your bottoms for easy mixing and matching.  Of course, this is good advice.  But the thing that has helped me the most in packing light is this:  you don’t need as much as you think you do.  Here’s why:

1.  No one cares what you are wearing.  If people are thinking about clothes or shoes at all, they are thinking about what THEY are wearing.

2.  You will likely see different people every day, or every few days.  Thus, you can wear the same thing again (and again).  (See number 1, they don’t care what you are wearing anyway!)

3.  If it becomes unexpectedly hot, cold, rainy, etc., buy something you need.  This is how I got some nice wool tights on sale in Melbourne.  And a fine floppy straw hat in Turkey.  If you pack light, you will have room in your bag for such a purchase.

4.  You will feel better wearing the same three things you LOVE than hauling around a giant suitcase of different outfits that don’t make you feel great.

Here are some examples of my outfits on the France trip.  Soon, I will post pictures of the clothes I packed.  I wish I had pictures of all the outfits, but alas, we don’t take THAT many photos!

 

Breakfast on the Viking Forseti; pink tank top, gray skirt

Breakfast on the Viking Forseti; pink tank top, gray skirt

The Louvre.  Gray long sleeve t-shirt; black jeans.

The Louvre. Gray long sleeve t-shirt; black jeans.

Winery tour in Sauternes; black and white top, white zip-front shirt, black skirt, Keen mary janes

Winery tour in Sauternes; black and white top, white zip-front shirt, black skirt, Keen mary janes

Arc de Triomphe with new friends; gray polo, black skirt, leggings

Arc de Triomphe with new friends; gray polo, black skirt, leggings

Rodin Museum garden, Paris.  Gray skirt, rain jacket, knee socks, Keen mary janes

Rodin Museum garden, Paris. Gray skirt, rain jacket, knee socks, Keen mary janes

Champagne on the Forseti; charcoal dress, green scarf

Champagne on the Forseti; charcoal dress, green scarf

Winery tour, Bordeaux.  Black jacket, purple skirt, leggings, scarf

Winery tour, Bordeaux. Black jacket, purple skirt, leggings, scarf

Deck of Forseti; black white zip-front top

Deck of Forseti; black white zip-front top

Cheese plate in Bordeaux.  Black jacket, sweater, green scarf.

Cheese plate in Bordeaux. Black jacket, sweater, green scarf.

In the garden right now….

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Beans and cherry tomatoes. The beans are a variety I bought at a garden store in Paris. If only I spoke French, I would have known that they are bush beans. I prefer the pole beans in order to conserve space in the garden, but these beans are quite delicious. Tonight they will be served with some pasta and pesto.

Also in the garden right now: zucchini, cabbage, roma tomatos, herbs, peppers. More photos soon.

The packing list

As my husband will tell you, I dither around a lot about packing. Since I want to travel light, I feel like I need to pack exactly the right things: clothes that will mix and match well, be appropriate for the weather, look nice, and dry quickly when laundered. It sounds difficult, and I dither, but in the end, it comes together.

A packing list is important. After some tropical trips where I arrive from the rainy and dark Pacific NW without sunglasses, I have learned. Make a packing list. Whether you use paper or an app like PackTheBag, make a list. List even things that seem obvious.

Here is the list I used on our recent trip to France. A photo of my packed bag is below.

Wear:
Black jeans
Long sleeve top
Scarf
Socks, shoes, underwear
Rain jacket
Earrings
Necklace

Pack:
8 tops
1 zip-up black blazer
1 Smartwool sweater
4 skirts
3 scarves
Leggings
7 pair socks
7 panties
2 bras
2 dresses
1 pair shoes

Misc: gum, Clif bars, iPad, toiletries, headphones, iPad charger, earplugs, sunglasses, hair clips, earrings, necklace, notebook, pen, train tickets etc., washcloth, guide book, passport, credit/debit cards, cash

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One bag travel

In May, we were in France for 18 days. We took a Viking river cruise in Bordeaux and then spent some time in Paris (with a side trip to Normandy). I travelled, as I always do, with only one carry-on size bag. Every time we take a trip, folks are amazed that we can do it with only one carry-on each. Some say they could NEVER do it! Most want to know how.

I thought I should write a series of posts on this topic and share my thoughts, methods, and tips. I will also dig up some actual luggage photos to show you, and take pictures of what I recently took to France.

Since 2005, we have taken the following international trips of 10 days to 3+ weeks with one bag each:

Italy
Mexico (several times!)
Belize
Costa Rica
Australia
Turkey
Japan
Ecuador/Galapagos Islands (On this trip, we had to pack wetsuits and snorkel gear too!)
France

I am here to tell you that you can travel almost anywhere for almost any length of time with one carry-on. You can do it, and you will love it. I will write posts that will explore the following:

> Why travelling light makes your trip easier
> Types of bags to consider
> Shoes
> Toiletries
> Best clothing selections
> Why you need less than you think
> Laundry

Stay tuned!

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Café 60 Salad

Cafe 60 Salad

Café 60 Salad

One of the many things I have enjoyed about retirement is having time to volunteer. One day a week, we volunteer at a senior meal site. I serve food, package meals to go, and clean up. I got my Food Handlers permit. And I have even learned to use the giant commercial dishwasher! The dining room is called “Café 60,” as you have to be at least 60 to eat there. Meeting the diners and fellow volunteers has been rewarding (and more fun than scrubbing baked-on sauce from a giant steam-tray pan). I hope I’ve still got it going on when I am 60, 70, 80+.

Most of the food served at Café 60 is geared toward the tastes of an older generation. Rarely is there anything vegetarian (where will I eat when I am old??). Still, the meals are pretty well balanced and the quality of the food is good.

One salad served at Café 60 caught my eye. As far as I can tell, it consists of finely chopped raw broccoli and cauliflower, grated carrot, some red onion, vinegar and spices. I started making this at home and really like it. I add other things, too — always garlic and sometimes bell pepper, radish, and a tiny amount of jalepeño.

It is a crunchy, tasty, healthy mix.

Café 60 Salad

Combine this stuff:
Equal parts finely chopped broccoli and cauliflower
About half as much grated carrot
A few tablespoons of finely chopped red or white onion (or scallions)

Mix up:
Red wine vinegar
Salt
Pepper
A clove or two crushed garlic
Some dried or fresh herbs to taste: oregano, basil, savory, parsley
A touch of olive oil, if you like

Mix the dressing into the veggies and enjoy. Keeps well in the fridge.

 

Key lime pie

I made a key lime pie for a friend’s birthday.  It was quite good!  I used a recipe from Epicurious.

Key limes

Key limes

Love my Kitchenaid!

Love my Kitchenaid!

Fresh from the oven

Fresh from the oven

 

Done!

Done!

I think I need a pastry bag with larger piping tips.

Last bite

Last bite