Category Archives: Travel

A Post About Vacation

Yesterday I returned to work after 2 weeks off making memories with my family.  (And was welcomed back with 874 emails. Seriously.) While it wasn’t an extensive, every-minute-planned trip, we were able to fit in many, many things.  For the most part, we stayed in our area and took advantage of the attractions we have right in our back door here in the Chicago area.  We were able to:

  • Travel to St. Louis and visit the Zoo
  • Spend quality time with grandparents, aunts & uncles, cousins (#1 & #2 were even able to spend several days with the out-of-state grandparents!)
  • A Day of Rest – DH spent the day on the couch playing video games & watching movies. I went to a local library for some local genealogy research. Both were much anticipated! And took place while the girls were at the grandparents’ house out-of-state.
  • DH & I took a day and went to downtown Chicago alone. Walked the Magnificent Mile, checked out The Bean, and just enjoyed the city.
  • Visited the local Nature Center. The girls loved it! They have a turn-of-the-century farm, complete with house and you can watch the animals, sometimes watch them planting crops or doing “old-fashioned” housework chores.
  • Visited the Shedd Aquarium. One of our favorites.
  • Visited the Museum of Science & Industry. We have a membership. 🙂
  • Visited the Bristol Renaissance Faire.  While my costume no longer fit (goal for next year!), we dressed the girls up and got so many comments!
  • And we did take one day to load up truckloads (3!) for the local thrift store. But just one day.

And we did have a couple of days at home with the girls. We played dress-up (seriously! You should the pictures of my husband with the fairy wings.) and tried out our new bike trailer.

With the trip to the grandparents’, and the 2 weekend road-trips, I was a bit worried about packing too much for the girls. I ended up packing 4 days worth of clothes for each, with the plan to wash them on the 3rd day (Parents, you know why I have that extra set!) – but just 2 days worth for DH & I.  We fit everything in a large suitcase, plus a “kids’ suitcase” for the diapers (we left the kids’ suitcase with clothes and some diapers in a plastic bag while the kids were at the grandparents. Brought the suitcase home). For the drive to St.Louis, we did pack a cooler for snacks and food, as well as a backpack carrier for #2 while we were at the zoo.  Overall, I felt we had packed just enough. Not too much, and not too little.

Have you made any memories this summer?

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A Single Backpack

Just returned from a trip with a group of girlfriends to DisneyWorld. 5 days, 4 nights.  There were 7 of us in 2 rooms at the Boardwalk Villas.

I packed a backpack. A single, school-type, backpack.

We met at one house for our ride to the airport and as I walked up, everyone’s jaws just dropped. The conversation went something like this:

  • Friend: Is that all you’re bringing?
  • Me: Yep.
  • Friend: I just don’t understand this.

As we stood waiting for the car, we talked about what we had packed. It quickly became apparent why they were just speechless at my minimalist packing. Of the 6 of them:

  1. Two friends had EACH packed a huge rolling suitcase to check, plus a small rolling suitcase and a large totebag as carry-ons.
  2. The rest had large rolling suitcases, plus a backpack/large bag carry-on
  3. Each had packed full-sized toiletries and beauty appliances (hair dryers, curling irons, straighteners, etc.).
  4. Weather conditions were sketchy: we flew from the COLD Midwest to SUNNY Florida in January. Packing for all possibilities was hard and everyone wanted to be prepared.
  5. Each wanted room to bring back any purchases.

As I stood there, I started questioning my decisions in what I packed.  Had I forgotten something?  I realized that, no. My priorities were not the same as theirs.

I had actually even packed more than I might have had I been traveling with my husband; I packed knowing I would not be doing laundry of any kind, even hand-washing. I had separate shirts, underwear and socks for every day. I had packed a separate pair of pants, just in case anything happened to my jeans. Etc. Etc. I am not picky regarding my toiletries; what the hotel offered was fine. And I am not high-maintenance with my hair; brush it and go.  Everything I packed fit into the backpack with actually a bit of space to spare (The backpack even fit UNDER the seat in front of me on the plane).

It was so freeing to just walk through the airport with a backpack and nothing else. To know that everything I had with me was all that I needed. Once we reached the hotel, I put everything away in either the closet or a drawer and then had the backpack to use during the day.

Was I a scrooge and refused to buy souvenirs? Not at all. In fact I picked up something for my husband and kids (useful items), the in-laws (they sent money with me for something), plus something for myself. I knew I could purchase a bag/suitcase if I needed to, but knowing that I only had limited room guided my purchases.

Was there anything I wish I had packed? I only had to buy a pair of socks when all of mine were grimy/soaked from a downpour of rain, or sweaty from lots of walking. And that’s it. So: an extra pair of socks.

This was a personal challenge. I work for a company where I often travel to Europe and travel by train. That is an entirely different situation and packing light is the rule. Now that I have successfully managed this trip, I know that my next trip abroad will be even lighter.

Thanks to my trusty backpack.

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