Sunday, February 15, 2009

Packing For The Trip

When Sandi and I first started to travel, we took an assignment that was only 90 miles away from our home. We had two young men that were going to be house sitting and we wanted to be at hand if anything went awry. Thankfully nothing untoward ever came up. Sandi's youngest son and his friend did a good job and even did some minor repairs on their own. It was a comfort to know that the home would be well tended to.

So with our first travel assignment so close we did not really pack the pick-up very well. We know that we would be going home and we could take stuff back that we didn't use and bring new things to try out. There was a lot of trial and error but we are quick learners and were making plans for an extended stay away from home.

First on the list of necessities was a topper for the truck. That was going to accomplish two things for us. Number one, our load would be secure. If we were on the road for more than one day the topper could be locked and we could feel confident that everything would be there in the morning. The second thing was our gear would be protected from the elements. The wind and the rain would have been devastating. The other thing was the sun would have played havoc with some of our containers. There was an added benefit to the topper that we never considered. Our gas mileage increased two to four miles to the gallon. We probably carried 400 to 500 pounds of gear. The topper had weight to it as well so 500 pounds is a realistic estimate.

The reason for mentioning all of this is to relate every one to the fact that we had a finite amount of room for all of the stuff we took with us and so every cubic foot of space we had was very well utilized. We had foot lockers and plastic tubs. We also had suitcases and garment bags. Our cleaning supply bucket was an old five gallon detergent tub, which doubled as a wastebasket once we were settled in. The golf bags were a little tricky but they were going with us so I found a way to fit them in. When we unpacked on our first arrival, I noticed that I had packed in layers or segments. It was like putting a puzzle together. The one difference was that it was the same puzzle and it got assembled differently each time we moved.

When we were in travel nurse mode, we had a mindset that helped us to determine what we really had to take. Would we want to haul the containers up three flights of stairs? The questions was endless. Our kitchen container was a foot locker with wheels on one end. That helped because it could get quite heavy. The planning was pretty detailed the first time we took off but after that we had it down to a science of sorts and everything went pretty well. Our overnight suitcase and toiletry bag were easily accessible and I didn't have to drop the tail gate to get those things out.

The funny thing was, when we got to our apartment, we always had a lot of room for what we brought. We knew that we would be buying souveniers but we limited them to t-shirts and coffee mugs. Then when the coffee mugs got out of control, we started to collect refrigerator magnets. Our fridge is pretty covered. The cool thing is it is a kind of itinerary of where we had been.

A Gypsy's life is what we led and we had to make a lot of decisions as to what we needed, what we wanted and what we would have room for. I would have killed to have an instrument like the Kindle that you see on this page. We took our share of books and learned to be careful. We had to get a newspaper wherever we went. All of those things could have been handled more effficiently if a Kindle had been available. Of course it is a plug but for a person that does a lot of traveling, whether as a nurse or just for fun, one of these would be very useful. We took golf calenders with us because there was never any art on the walls. It made the places we stayed in a little sterile. The calenders livened up a couple of walls and the scenes changed every 30 days.

We could have gotten our newspapers and magazines and get books to read. We may have not watched as much TV if we would have had books to read. Another advantage to this ingenious piece of electronics is that is small and fits in a briefcase or purse easily. Still another thing to consider is that it would help toward reducing our carbon foot prints by not using all of the paper that would have been involved with these things. Today we have to "think green" and these are the kinds of things that will help.

In closing I must tell you that we got a Van after awhile and it had more room than the truck. It got better gas mileage and it was more comfortable than driving cross country in a compact 4X4 pick-up truck. That would be without an extended cab.

So if anyone out there decides to purchase one of these marvelous little units through this site, email me at and I will give you one $9.99 book download. So I must close and tell you thank you for visiting.

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