There is a frenzied expectancy in getting ready for a family trip. Those who are travelers have certain routines. I wash my car. Tradition also has it that I wait until the night before to do most of my packing. I can use up the pre-flight adrenaline to pack which tires me enough to get some sleep before rising to begin the quest.
I am a chronic over-packer, an odd trait in a male. Once when hiking Mt. Whitney I brought boxes of triscuits, sardines, salami and cheese which fed many others en route but made my pack much heavier. I bring too many dress shirts and not enough T-shirts. I bring long pants that I never wear. I do this every year. Like the drunk the morning after the dog bit him I vow I won’t do it again. And I don’t until the next trip.
The worst scenario is the mixed trip—part camping, part city, part casual, part fancy. When you are spending your vacation in the city you can always buy what you forget. Once I forgot my medication but was easily able to get a partial refill at the local Rite-Aid. Not so much if you are camping and forget the stakes to set up your tent. I have been on trips where the pay camp site runs out of toilet paper. So on camping trips I bring extra. I don’t want to forget anything.
To avoid forgetting things I make lists. Then I go crazy trying to find the list I made while packing the night before I leave. The lists have sub-lists. Do laundry; sheets, underwear for trip, work clothes for return. If not focused I will start thinking about the sub-lists and forget the main list completely for a while. This is why packing takes me half the night.
I look forward to the expedition. There is a side of me that delights in the chaos of packing. In the quiet though I think it would be nice to enjoy it as my daughter will. To throw a few things into a bag, stumble out to the car in your pajamas and go where the road—and the parents—take you.