Feb 26. 2015
Every time I pack up to travel or move, it goes the same way. It's a horribly drawn out, incredibly childish process. I start out with play packing. This is usually done about three to four weeks before I am actually leaving. What I do is, I take out all of my favorite belongings; usually the backpack, my pretty dresses, my tent, hiking shoes, and near-useless camping and traveling accessories that I never use; and start to pack them. This is a completely useless step because a lot of the things I pack (pretty dresses and hiking shoes) I still need to use. However, it gets me, and most recently Anja, in a traveling mood.
Then I forget about packing for about two to three weeks. In this time, I usually buy more crap, throw away my ugly clothes, and give things away to friends.
Then, about a week before I leave, I start the Major Packing. I systematically go through all of my clothes, shoes, books, and other belongings, and decide what is absolutely imperative and has to come with me 100% on the trip. This is usually a pile of crap that would easily fill two or three backpacks. Then I put all of the things I'm going to throw away or give away in a box and set it aside. I do not throw it away or give it away until the very very very last minute. I decide that everything in the 100% has to come pile is coming with me no matter how big or small my bag is.
Five days before I leave. Waste a bunch of time with the radio. Take everything out of the garbage/give away box. Try all of the clothes on. Take pictures. Spend a lot of time on Facebook. Put about five items in the backpack (the tent, my hiking shoes, and three to four summer dresses. Every time. No matter where I'm going.)
Packing in Schmargendorf, moving to my first apartment in Berlin.
Packing in Texas, on my way to au pair in Berlin.
Packing in Connecticut before the bike tour.
Packing in Connecticut before the hitchhiking trip.
And then the breakdown. It usually comes about four days before I leave. I wander around the apartment/house/room, crying because I'm sad to leave, touching all of the stupid crap that accumulates on shelves (pictures, bottle caps, little toys, things boys gave me), wanting to stay and not wanting to leave all of my beautiful, wonderful things. I throw myself onto the bed dramatically. Tell Anja we're staying. Put the bag under the bed.
Three days left. Panic. Blindly throw clothes and books into the give away/throw away box. Condense the 100% must come pile to half it's size. Pack everything else in a box to keep at home. Promise myself I will only leave one box of crap at home.
Two days before I leave, I pack my bag with all the crap that I think I really, absolutely, 100% need, stretch the backpack as far as it goes, and start filling a second box with things I cannot take with me.
In this instance in Texas, all the very important things were stored in the sink.
And then the day before I leave, I unpack the whole backpack (except for the tent, hiking shoes, and two to three beautiful, very light weight, super important summer dresses) and take out half of the practical but not as flattering clothes and pack them in a third box to stay at home.
And then I'm all packed! Simple pimple!
Kristyn Bacon is twenty-two years old living in Berlin, Germany while working, writing, and learning the German language. Her stories have been published by literary journals such as MOOKYCHICK and DEW ON THE KUDZU and are included in anthologies by BOOKIMBO and SWYERS PUBLISHING. Her sports writing has been published by INSIDE DIRT and DAN HOLLOWAY, EIGHT CUTS. An architect read her work and compared it to George Saunders.