Lori Borgman: Packing for a trip can be a clothes call

Years ago, we would pick up our son downtown after he took the Megabus home from college. He would get in the car and we would routinely ask, “Where’s your luggage?” He would respond by holding up a small brown paper bag that most people use to pack a lunch.

The kid was a walking definition of “travel light.”

These days he occasionally travels internationally for work. To our knowledge he has never checked a bag. We’re not sure he knows how.

I had a grandma who gave up her home when she was in her 80s and went from one adult child’s home to another. She never brought more than one suitcase when she came to stay for weeks at a time.

There was a time I traveled light. In younger days, when I went somewhere overnight or on a short trip, I could easily get everything I needed into a small green bag the size of a bowling ball bag.

All these years later, my husband and I are both fond of saying we travel light — but we don’t. We travel like we are heading out for the Oregon Trail.

Seems we take most everything we own with us except for salt pork, beans and a spare wagon wheel.

We took an overnight trip out of town recently and I packed four pairs of shoes — high heels for my speaking engagement, flats for when the heels became excruciating, flip-flops because I have a phobia about walking on hotel carpets and running shoes.

I looked at that bag of shoes and realized I have officially become high-maintenance.

I also packed an entire cosmetic bag with nothing but moisturizers and lotions for my face, neck, arms, hands, legs and feet. What I really need is a showerhead that shoots out moisturizer, not water.

When I traveled with that little green bag, my only cosmetic was a tiny jar of Noxzema. I didn’t pack a blow dryer, curling iron, two hairbrushes, mousse, gel and hair spray years ago — I simply channeled Carole King.

My husband packs light in the way of clothes but weighs in heavy with all the extras. He throws in a computer bag, two cameras, a camera bag, a tripod, at least three hardback books, old issues of the Wall Street Journal he’s been meaning to read and several file folders with loose papers falling out.

He has finished loading the covered wagon, I mean car, when I yell, ‘Wait! One more!’”

“What’s in this little lightweight bag?” he asks, tossing it into the cargo hold.

“My clothes,” I say.

Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Reach her at [email protected].