So I’m off to visit my folks for Christmas now. And in the rush of finishing last tasks and getting ready, it’s been amazing how much easier packing has become for me. Admittedly, it’s a lot easier going from my own home to mum and dad’s than packing to go from one unfamiliar place/country to another, of course. But also, I recognise just how skilled I’ve become at packing, through practice. I know the dimensions and capacity of each section of my suitcase inside out and back to front now! And I know how many clothes I need for 2 weeks. (It’s pretty much the same amount as for any length of time.) And I know that it’s really worth limiting the amount of footwear you take to save space in the suitcase. (I also am able to be more realistic about what footwear I will find useful.)
I’m hoping I’ve not forgotten anything, having said all that!… Ah. Tights. I forgot those. But if I really want to wear them, I can buy some new ones. (Always useful.) This is another perspective I’ve come to through travelling. It’s really not the end of the world if you forget something or leave something behind. Saying that, I don’t think I actually lost anything on my travels. (Or if I did, I’ve forgotten about it already, so it can’t have been that serious.)
The worst forgetting of things I did was accidentally leaving a pile of currency behind at my Aunt and Uncle’s place in New Zealand, when we went travelling for three and a half weeks! That was a boo boo. I wasted a lot of time and energy mentally berating myself about it, before realising that I could just spend the money using my bank card and then do a transaction with my relatives when we got back where I gave them cash as they transferred the same amount into my account. It was a faff, and I really should’ve listened to my Uncle and got him to take the cash out and give it to me as then I’d have avoided the bank charge and the hassle for all of us of doing an international bank transfer. But then the lady in their bank was so nice, it was a delight to give them some business, actually. (Can’t believe I just said that! Normally I hate banks on principle. [Sorry if you work for a bank!])
That story gives you an indication of just how systemically culturally lovely people are in New Zealand. Even bank employees at work! Nothing too much trouble, and a lot of chat about our holidays and hers while we waited for the hamster to run around its wheel on her computer. What a breath of fresh air!
Things I learnt while travelling #256 (there must have been at least that many): there’s not a lot of point wasting time and energy mentally berating yourself when you make a mistake. Better to think, ‘Oh well, I could’ve done that better, but I didn’t manage to’, let it go and move onto more useful questions like: What is the situation now? And how can I move forwards in it?
The thing is, while ever you’re mentally berating yourself, you are not able to be fully present. You are living in a very negative version of the past, rather than noticing the gift of the present moment. I set out on my travels knowing that I wanted to be fully present in all the wonderful places I would go to, and with all the people I would spend time with. I hope I can carry that sense of presence with me now, even when I’m not travelling…