Crammed Full

Can I just say, packing cubes are the BEST. You would not believe how much I have crammed into a carry on bag. In preparing for this trip, I spent hours watching videos and travel shows and reading about each country and how to best prepare. I have done many road trips and have been to almost every state in the United States, but the only place I’ve been outside of the US is British Columbia. In anticipating this trip, I am both excited and nervous. Particularly about visiting India.  I known that Europe will be different and exciting, but it is not a third world country.

*If you’re wondering why I am going on such an eclectic trip, it all started when my husband was going to a conference in Frankfurt, Germany. Of course, I wanted to go with him. We decided to make it a bit of a vacation, so he suggested spending a couple of days in London, then a few days in France, then a few days in Germany. I knew that I wanted more than a couple of days in Paris, so we decided to spend a week in Paris and then go on to Germany. My middle son is attending film school in Mumbai, India, and his two-year program ends this summer. I have talked about going to visit India while he was there, and now time was running out. I decided since I was halfway around the world, I might as well keep going and go to India. My husband won’t be going on to India because he has to work. So there you have it. 

Because of the time of year and the climates I am visiting, I have to pack for Paris in the spring, snow in Bavaria, and ‘unrelenting heat’ (that is what the description of the safari on the tiger reserve said) in India. I just spent the last six hours combing over my list, packing every item just so, and then rolling up my clothes and cramming them tightly into packing cubes. In the blue soft-sided Biaggi Zipsak, I fit 4 pairs of pants, two blouses, five shirts, a sweater, a pair of shorts, a swimsuit, a dress, a pair of leggings, three pairs of shoes, socks, underwear, a winter coat, and a denim jacket, along with some medications and toiletries (the ones that are less important), cotton wipes, antibacterial wipes, and a LifeStraw Go water bottle (because India). In the small black under-the-seat carry on the I bought at Costco (sorry, no link available but it was $29.99 and is similar to this) are my important toiletries in a hanging toiletry bag, my folder of important papers (flight info, itinerary, hotel reservations, etc), my harem pants pajamas (if my luggage is lost I want my pj’s), a pair of shoes, and my important medications. In my backpack is my purse (an RFID safe cross body Baggalini) and my electronics and cords, electronics adapters for Europe and Asia, some snacks, gum, my neck wallet with my passport and my vaccination information, and a money belt (because my mom said not to keep money in my neck wallet). I’ve included the links for all of the items that I’m using. I don’t get anything for doing so, my blog isn’t monetized, I just included them for convenience. And as my travels continue, I will tell you if the items are worth purchasing or not. Many of them I bought for this trip and haven’t actually used yet.

Seeing these three countries in three weeks, my itinerary is crammed as full as my luggage. That seems to be the way my husband and I like to travel. We don’t want to be leisurely and think “If we don’t see it this time, we will come back and see it next time.” I just can’t do that – there are SO MANY PLACES TO SEE! And I want to see every bit of a place while I’m there, so I can go somewhere new the next time. I’m not saying we don’t return to places that we like, but I don’t want to assume that we will. When I visit somewhere new, I WANT TO SEE ALL THE THINGS. Go to all the places. Eat all the food. Meet all the people. (Okay, I want to meet all the people. My husband, not so much). Which, as you might imagine, does not usually make for a very relaxing trip. We have never been the type of travelers to go to one place and stay. We are always on the move.

But I am entering into this trip with the attitude that my world view is going to change. With each new adventure, I want to see as much and experience as much as I possibly can, but I also want to savor the moment. And I’m not sure how I am going to do that. So that is my challenge on this trip. Here is my prayer that I’m going to pray every day:

Help me to have eyes full of wonder, to not take this amazing opportunity for granted.

Help me to view any obstacle or inconvenience as part of the adventure, as the opportunity to make a memory.

Help me to not rush from one thing to another, with my phone out in front of me. Help me to stop and breathe in, look around with my own eyes, and take in the experience before rushing off to the next great thing.

Help me to really see the people I meet along the way. Help me to show them love, kindness, and compassion, whatever the circumstance.

Help me to treasure this time with my husband, and that we will continue to be great travel partners, and grow together as we expand our world.

Help me to look for God in every place, every experience, and every person I meet.



What do we do when the world breaks our hearts?
When violence and hate, terrorists and their tools, ignorance and apathy seem to prevail?
We want to turn away, to hide our faces and shield our hearts.
We want to scream and strike and get our vengeance.

What do we do when the world breaks our hearts?
We wish we didn’t have to listen, to hear about it, to read about it.
We wish we didn’t have to see the pictures flash across our screen.
But we can’t turn away. It’s everywhere, and it begs us to see and hear.

What do we do when the world breaks out hearts?
We change our profile pictures in solidarity, and that is good.
We post a meme with a comforting cliché or Bible verse, because we need to find a sliver of hope.
We say, “Did you hear about such and such, isn’t that heartbreaking?” and we all agree, yes, it is.

What do we do when the world breaks our hearts?
We read, we see, we talk, we feel. And sometimes we turn away.
We grieve, we feel, we look at our corner of the world.
And we want to change things. We ponder how.

What can we do when the world breaks our hearts? Because the world will break our hearts again tomorrow.
We can love the unlovable.
We can speak the unspoken.
We show up.

~Kristin Meador