I pack my bag and in it I put……..
Waaaaaaay too much. But, I pack light, remember? So what is all this ‘way too much-ness’?
I know that I can borrow kit from my African daughter-in-law. I know I can buy whatever I need in Hoedspruit, only a short drive from Dumela Lodge. And yet, still I gather together too many articles of clothing in a frenetic sort of panic dance. I might need this, oh, and this, and I forgot I even had this…………
Truth is I wear the same things over and over, so that, when travel looms, promising me a different climate and different vestal requirements, I am transformed into a tumbleweed. My movements, thoughts and behaviour have me jitterbugging upstairs, downstairs, around corners and into the depths of my suitcase until I feel somewhat un-hinged. It gets worse as the departure date moves closer, looming like a spectre with its finger pointing at me, me, the one who will be unable to go on safari dressed ‘like that’ and thus left behind to do the housework, a laughing stock.
I also have to clean my house, pack stuff for the dog sitter, make sure the notes for plant-watering, bird/fish feeding, fire lighting, TV remote, leak buckets if it rains, doors to close if a hurricane comes this way and so on and so forth and fifth and sixth and by the time I get out the door I am in dire need of therapy.
Next hurdle will be the Water Works which were due to commence in the village yesterday, only nobody showed up. ‘Expect Delays’. The big signs are there, and they tell me nothing about how long these delays might be. Do we set off at 5 am for the 11 am ferry or the night before perhaps, or do we not expect delays at all, believing that it is all a hoax, based on the fact that nobody appeared to tear up the road yesterday as the sign promised.
Then comes ‘check-in’ and that X ray archway that rarely lets us through without a lot of beep-and-flash. Suddenly, those things that lurk in back pockets and in corners of bags become lethal weapons and the cause of much embarassment as we hold up the 2000 people all trying to fly somewhere in the same flapdoodle as me, those who are even more flapdoodled thanks to me and my tube of lip salve. And all the time I am on edge, my teeth are curled, my indigestion sounds like new age percussion and my eyes are constantly scanning the list of flights for our gate because, and I can be almost certain of this, our gate will be 3 miles away.
I can be so very calm on behalf of another, so wise, so phlegmatic. I consider this, and conclude that, although I am that woman who would gentle another into a smile around their imagined fears, I take my own very seriously indeed. If another speaks of inner turmoils, I would encourage them to lighten up, but when I try that on myself, all I get is a Ya-di-ya and a return to the jitterbug. My inner turmoil is not for turning. In fact, it is determined to be certain that I will get it wrong, inconveniently, consistently, absurdly, predictably.
Fears like these are beyond ridiculous. I know that, to be as prepared as possible is enough. ‘Possible’ will happen with or without my fretting. I am outwardly calm, but, like the swan, paddling like mad under the water.
And this is me being honest about something that always goes on, pre travel. I am about to move into unknown places and situations (and clothes, because I never wear half of what is packed) and this is good for me. This is new air to breathe, new sounds to hear, sights to see and, if I don’t have the right clothes I doubt very much that the elephants, leopards, lions, hyenas,impalas, rhinoceroses (or is it rhinoceri?) and brightly coloured birds will give a monkey’s.
Travel light, I tell myself and myself (now exhausted) cocks an ear. In this life we never know what is around any corner, I say. Laugh at life as you head into the unknown. Make preparation, pack light, eyes to the future, feet in the present.
Much better now.
Myself and I are off upstairs to unpack (again) and to refine our choice of content having thoroughly banished all ridiculous fears. All we need is a wash bag, 50 factor suncream, closed shoes and all the rest in neutral colours so that, if we find ourselves between a water hole and a thirsty lioness, she’ll think us a tree.
See…….told you I was wise.