Monday, June 27, 2011

Only the Essentials

Packing for any long-distance trip, whether that distance be in time or space, is always a hassle. Unlike the roaming, nomadic tribes of yester-millennium, our culture prides itself on "stuff" and "space." It reminds me of a funny bit by deceased comedian George Carlin. You have to divine the most important "stuff" that you own and fit it into a suitcase. Obviously, I can't bring everything. What it boils down to is this heart-wrenching question: "What can't I live without?"

Delta allows two bags of 50 pounds or less for international flights. It is a sobering experience to define yourself within the perimeters of 100 pounds. Is that really all a person's life amounts to? As I roll socks into balls and stuff paperback novels between t-shirts and jeans, I wonder how much I actually need to survive. If it came down to it, I could probably live out of a single bag, as long as I did nothing but stare at the wall after work and never changed my pants.

My suitcases is filled with things like lemonade mix, taco seasoning, extra toothpaste, video games, family photos, etc. I think nearly half of it is purely meant to keep me sane as I transition from a culture I've spent my whole life absorbing to a culture I lived in for a few months during college. I'll tell you one thing--I'll feel relieved once I actually set foot on Japanese soil. Until then, I plan to grind my teeth down to the gums with anxiety.


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