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the half-full blue duffel

The optimist claims his cup is “half full.” Usually. But today, this optimist says “half empty.” And it’s not a cup, it’s a bag.

Yesterday I did a “trial pack.” I printed the three-page list of things that I plan to take on our ex-pat journey, and laid everything on the bed:

All my stuff laid out on the bed

My life for a year. 

My stuff, sorted into smaller bags

Smaller bags keep everything sorted and easy to find. Across the top, my orange carry-on and the stuff that will go into it. The black bag (lower right) is my big blue rolling duffel in its bag. Perhaps you can tell that I’m a bag guy, and a bag that comes in a bag sorta warms my heart.

The carry-on is packed

Now the carry-on is packed. It’s fluffy and light – the best kind of carry-on.

Both bags, packed.

Enter the blue duffel. It has wheels, but weighs less than four pounds, empty. It’s evident there’s plenty of room remaining, even with all my stuff inside. Louise laid claim to the leftover space immediately.

When I finished, my huge blue duffel was half empty and weighed only twenty-two pounds. I’m surprised. I’m delighted. And I’m proud. (I’m also a little humbled: for over sixty years I’ve felt that I’ve had to have all the stuff that’s now headed for Goodwill and Craig’s List. Now I realize that twenty-two pounds is quite enough, and that’s humbling.)

Not only am I pleased with myself, but Louise is pleased with me as well. I hauled out another duffel – a good-sized one at three feet long – and told her that she’s welcome to fill it with stuff from her list to finish off my big duffel. (Don’t tell her, but the fact is I need her stuff in there. Without it, the big blue duffel is limp as a pickle.)

There are lots of ways to make a spouse happy, but providing Louise with an additional bag for her stuff has won her adoration forever. Or at least for the year that we plan to be on the road.

Gentlemen! Want your wife to love and adore you? Pack light.