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I hate to pack

by lulujane on December 23, 2008

untitled-1Don’t know if there is a solution, but the absolute worst thing for me related to travel is the dreaded P word…. PACKING  –  and despite efforts to do it a different way, I always leave it until the last minute.  I have no idea how my problem can be solved.  Luggage  feels like a necessary evil – if I want to travel and if I don’t want to be caught short I gotta do what I gotta do. I sense that  my dilemma has something to do with making choices.

In my day-to-day I am organized, prepared and best of all – I am spontaneous. I do have to admit that my Ford Escape is usually a storage place for extra jackets, tripod, Kleenex, books, gum, hand lotion, eye glasses, sun glasses…. I think you get the picture.  Right now I have three pairs of gloves and mitts in my back seat.  When I have the freedom to have my personal vehicle accessible, the sky is the limit in what I am able to bring with me.

Packing for air travel is another story.  I have limitations. Shoes are always a challenge when packing for a flight – do I need running shoes, sandals, high heels, beach shoes?  Heck, that alone probably weighs five pounds.  It is always necessary to pack a hair dryer and curling iron.  I have travelled with other people who choose not to pack theirs and ask to borrow mine.  Why can’t I do that?

Florida bound in January for a month-long stay, so I’d better go prepared.  On the other hand, my host and I both love exploring in the vintage/resale/consignment stores where there are always lots of treasures to be found.  I’m wondering aloud – hmmmmmmm – going empty  and returning home full might be a good idea.  Then the suitcase is only burdensome one-way.

It is quite shocking when I realize just how heavy my clothes are.  I notice this more when I have to carry it, drag it, lift it.  Dropping it into the suitcase requires little effort but lugging it around does.  Sort of like another kind of baggage, problems, judgments and anger.   I know that the weight of these could deplete me if I choose to drag them along like a sack of rocks.  So I take the path of least resistance by hanging on to the lighter things like laughter,  joy, appreciation, gratitude,  acceptance, etc.

Gee, I wonder if I could do the same thing with packing – taking along only the lighter things – the  things that give me joy!

Note:  A post/post – I am feeling a bit vindicated; like, I’m not alone in this.  Within about a half hour of posting this I was working on a crossword.  One of the clues was ‘traveler’s burden’.  Guess what the answer was.

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Thank you VISA

by lulujane on December 17, 2008

Prompted by a 50% discount off Via Rail travel offer by I enjoyed an inexpensive round trip train ride to Burlington to visit my sister Brenda last week.  I had an early morning ride to the station so got up before the birds to catch the 5:45 a.m. train out of Windsor.  Via Rail was shipping me to the Aldershot exit.

I took along a paperback.  Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx This book was a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1994.  I saw the movie quite a while ago, liked it and picked up this prize book at a yard sale this summer.  This was a small investment with a high yield.  What joy it gave me.  I had a hard time following the story because I was entranced by the author’s descriptive sentences/paragraphs/chapters.  I kept thinking with envy ‘wow – what a gifted writer’.  So, between my thoughts of envy and admiring her style of writing, I traveled my through the passages of my book.  Shipping News occupied me well on my outbound travel from Windsor, Ontario.

Why does my luggage always seem heavier when I am on the return leg of a trip?  Anyway, my luggage stowed overhead and between my feet, my occasional swaying ride on the train was pretty uneventful.  I am an antsy traveller.  I often cross and uncross my legs, wiggle in my seat, move my hands between brochures and magazines in the pouch hanging from the seat in front of me, checking things in my purse, looking for snacks.  I’m glad I don’t have to sit next to me on the train.  The seemingly constant activity of another person sitting so close to me would drive me crazy.

As we were nearing Windsor I moved to the front part of the train where we would disembark.  I did this because my luggage was awkward and heavy.  My camera bag, my heavy book bag, my backpack purse and an over-the-shoulder soft piece of overstuffed luggage. I moved it all nearer the exit while the aisle was clear of other passengers.

About ten minutes before our arrival at the Windsor station, the conductor stood near me waiting for the squeaking wheels grinding to a halt.  Little did I know that he was the prize of my trip – the jewel – something golden.  As I did on my journey from Windsor I asked this conductor how long he had been with Via Rail. This started a relatively short conversation that made a routine mundane trip an exciting one for me.

Shortly after I boarded in Aldershot I only raised my head when he walked through the two cars in his charge with a large box of candy canes offering it side to side as he moved past his seated passengers.  A Christmas greeting came with it.  I wondered silently if this was a first, a Via Rail initiative, but after our later conversation my belief is that it was a personal gift he offered.

He revealed to me that he has been in his job for a year, that he just loves it, loves people, and can’t believe he is getting paid for doing what he loves.  He shared that he is from Morocco and returns home once every year.  When he made mention of fondness for the children on our train, even the hyper excitable ones, he reflected about his young sons at home in Toronto.  Without getting into the nuts and bolts of what he told me of his family and travels home I learned much in our short exchange that cheered me.

As other passengers queued up to disembark, friendly conversations were exchanged with, and among them by this gentle man.  He made them smile and was obvious to me that they appreciated his warm and friendly dialogue exchange.

I could tell that he was inspired to do a good job and that it was a pleasure for him to be of service to Via Rail’s customers. If this is the kind of person Via Rail is hiring these days – Bravo for them.

No surprise that this gentleman’s name in his home country translates into our word ‘miracle’.

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