After being home for a few minutes this morning, I looked in the fridge, and I saw some leftover mac & cheese, and Hershey’s chocolate syrup. Her favorites. Shoes left scattered under the kitchen table? An unmade bed, toothpaste in the sink. and various articles of clothing strewn about is evidence of a hasty departure for the airport this morning.
Dark, rainy skies are doing nothing to lift my spirits as I walk quietly around the silent house. We said goodbye as we left Madi at the airport. She is winging her way to Florence, Italy, by way of Boston and Amsterdam. She will be there for 55 days. I thought this trip would be easier because #1. it’s a shorter duration, and #2. because we’ve gone through it before.
Nope. Not the case. Surprise! And not in a good way. Because she’s traveling alone, my worry is higher. It’s a natural mom reaction, much like your leg automatically kicking out when the doctor taps your knee. You can’t help it. I know it will get easier once she’s settled in, but for now… Not so much.
Here’s the crazy part. Last summer when Madi and some of her classmates were planning and preparing for study abroad, all of the info they were given warned them to pack light. In fact, we kind of thought they were over-the-top with their directions. They were adamant that lighter is better. Madi took one big suitcase for 3 1/2 months. Pretty impressive in my book.
For this flight there is a 2 1/2 hour layover in Amsterdam. With worries of getting luggage and getting through customs in time to board another plane for the final leg of the journey, Madi took the notion of traveling light to a new level. She packed for an eight week (55 days – not that I’m counting) trip in one carry-on and one backpack. She checked zero luggage.
I feel like I pack more for a weekend trip than she did for eight weeks.
When I was a Girl Scout leader, we had to be prepared for anything and everything. In fact, that was our motto: be prepared. As an adult, most of us get set in our ways: we like a certain shirt to sleep in, an extra pair of socks for cold feet at night, a first aid kit perhaps, and I always carry more books with me that I could finish in a month.
But there’s another kind of traveling light and very few people can travel this way. There’s always the emotional baggage, and we can rarely escape that. Even if we’re not going abroad; even if we’re just going through our normal day, we are carrying our worries, obligations, and scars with us. They make it difficult to maneuver in tight places, and they wear us out emotionally, spiritually, and even physically.
Maybe if we focus more on what we already have and what we could learn to do without, we would be able to travel a little lighter and breathe a little easier. I feel sure that in 8 weeks (or 55 days) I will have mastered this!