Packing for a Trip is Like Writing…

It’s time for packing again, this time for my trip to Switzerland. While I always keep the “essentials” in a suitcase, each trip, just like each new piece of writing, has its own particular needs. There’s always something special to add or something irrelevant to take away.

Linda Aksomitis fishing
Linda Aksomitis fishing in Manitoba.

First of all, I need to decide which of the array of bags, suitcases and backpacks I have will be the best fit for this trip. I think it’s rather like that stage of writing when I choose a genre — should the topic be fiction or nonfiction, fantasy or realistic, for young or old? Sometimes it’s hard to decide, like this trip.

Since I have to change airlines in Montreal, taking one checked bag means putting my faith in Air Canada’s ability to get it there the same time I do, so I can check in to Swiss Air with it. No matter how I look at it, it’s all a big gamble, isn’t it?

And then, of course, I have to decide what to put in whichever bag I choose. I don’t know a single one of the people on this trip — there’ll be a 100 travel writers from around the world. How casual will the evenings actually be? I don’t want to be overdressed, or for that matter, under-dressed!

The daytime hiking part is easy, as predictable as the main character I know so well in the sequel to Longhorns and Outlaws that I’m writing. There, it’s all about adventure and finding that perfect mix between edge-of-the-chair excitement and more reflective character development.

I always travel on the basic premise that even if my packing turns out to have been a bit — inadequate — that I can probably buy whatever I’m missing or a reasonable facsimile.

How else would I have ended up with hiking boots from Cabela’s, new hats from Louisiana, Texas, Wisconsin (yes, until I bought my tie-died, back to the ’70s hat, I pretty much never remembered to take one), curly hair frizz-control products from all over the world, and well, you get the picture.

It turns out, I guess, when you think about it, that I treat my writing exactly the same way.  There,  I get a second, third, or tenth run at editing if I haven’t included everything it needs…

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