This I Believe

Keely - Greenbrier, Arkansas
Entered on October 26, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

Preparedness and the Art of Over Packing

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an E.M.T. or a private detective. Obsessed with these roles, I carried all the accoutrements that I believed to be necessary for each job. In the case of the emergency medical technician, I had at least one complete first aid kit, and a rather large medical manual. This was so that I could respond to any emergency I happened upon. Then as a private detective, I carried gloves, notepads, pencils, a magnifying glass, and empty film canisters for evidence. This habit has carried over into today, and I usually have no less than three bags. I cannot help the fact that I over pack. Fortunately for me, I believe there is no such thing as over packing.

I often go on weekend road trips. When I begin loading the car, a glance at my luggage usually elicits some laughter. Three to four large bags are my minimum for such a trip. I feel that it is necessary to prepare for any possible contingency. I never regret how much I pack, and neither do my fellow travelers who have forgotten something or are in need of something they never even thought to bring. On one of my adventures to Tulsa, Oklahoma, I ended up staying at a friend’s house. The only downside to this free place to sleep was that all couches and beds were occupied. This did not deter me; I had my favorite pillow and a warm fleece blanket.

In daily life, I have a solution for almost anything and most of them can be found in one of my bags. In my back pack are the usual text books, notebooks, and pencils. I also carry deodorant, perfume, plastic cutlery, napkins, post-it notes, a small first aid kit, and sometimes a small sewing kit. My messenger bag is usually home to the photojournalist in me. I have even more pens, notepads that house countless notes for stories and pictures, memory cards, and all of the business cards I have accrued. The third bag contains at least one camera body and lens, a care kit for my equipment, a battery charger, and a pocket manual in case my camera begins to behave oddly.

Many find my packing habits excessive, but it has never been overly harmful to me in all of my days. It has prevented me from going hungry when I packed snacks for a road trip and power bars in my bag. It has also kept my little cousin busy on boring shopping trips because I always dig out the brightly colored writing utensils and some paper. Over packing has also salvaged an outfit when I incur a rip or tear with a safety pin. Maybe, in my situation there is no such thing as over packing perhaps we should call it “just right packing”.