Pre-trip butterflies


It’s not that much different than when I was a little kid and I went off to summer camp for the first time. Once again, I am worrying about little things. It never really gets better.

Oh sure, I have gotten better at packing, but the pre-trip angst and stomach butterflies still have me all worrying and sleepless.

Will I remember everything? Probably not. I always forget some major item. Something obvious, something necessary, something important; that is the item that I choose to forget at home.

Whatever it is, when I return home I find it left out in an obvious place where I placed it so that I wouldn’t forget it. Which, of course, I did.

Would it make any difference if I forgot it? Probably not. Amazingly enough, there are these things called stores overseas. Just like at home, convenient emporiums in which to buy things.

So I go through the inventory of my belongings: How many pairs of socks and underwear? How many shirts? Should I account for buying a few shirts on the road and take fewer to start with?

And what about a towel?

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The towel question has me puzzled. Beach towels take up too much room in the pack and besides, I don’t do much beach stuff. Whenever I lie down upon a beach towel, concerned citizens ring up ‘Marine Mammal Rescue’. I have learned to carry a smaller towel, one that I don’t care much about. One not part of a matched set.
I will pack that random towel that somehow strayed into the linen closet, the mysterious one that was placed there by aliens.

In order to save space, maybe I’ll pack a smaller towel this time.

Will my castoff smaller towel be big enough?
Without belaboring the obvious, I have a lot more surface area than most people. If I want to get dry at all, a towel the size of a hanky won’t do it.

I’ve already packed my towel and already I am thinking about replacing it with a different towel. This pre-trip fretting is something that I can never master. I will obsess about trivial things. I am a worry-wart.

“And what” you say, “about washcloths?”

The cheap-ass guesthouses that I stay in usually provide a towel or two, but for some reason they never supply a washcloth. Speaking candidly as a sweaty lad whose oily skin would be the envy of the Bush administration, I find it necessary to wash my face with hot water, (hot enough to open my pores) and then, using actual soap, scrub my face with a washcloth in hopes of getting my clean skin again. Otherwise, my enviable complexion soon resembles a deluxe pizza. Adolescence follows me into middle age.

Use soap and hot water: there’s my beauty tip for the day.

I bring along a clean washcloth and keep it in a Ziploc bag. This keeps it from getting dirty, it keeps it from getting my clothes damp, but the Ziploc bag never lets it air dry. In fact, it serves as a moist terrarium. Exotic molds and mildew quickly turn my washcloth into a science project. No way is that thing touching my skin.

Good thing that they sell new ones there.