An overnight trip to a destination within driving distance has the potential to be stressful. The concept of traveling creates stress even for a seasoned wanderer. I have found that one of the best/worst things in the world is going on a trip within a trip.
My first trip-within-a-trip in recent memory was last summer in Kenya. I had been briefed on the mere fact that we would be visiting other counties on the weekends, but I found myself extremely ill-prepared, mostly mentally. I had the proper amount of clothing and toiletries, I had plenty of phone chargers and headphones, but there was something scary about packing from a suitcase I’d already been living out of.
I had more than a week’s worth of clothing, and I did laundry frequently, so there should have been no concern over having enough to wear. One trouble with travel I’ve encountered is that no matter what, there is always an item I can think of that I wish I had packed. That, however, opens a can of worms. I should always have clothes I truly enjoy wearing with me wherever I am. Anything else I own is wasting useful space. Now, rather than packing for what is expected of me, I pack what makes me happy. Okay, back to the point.
It’s easy to forget to pack a small, essential item while traveling, but even easier to forget a necessary item from the original amount of stuff that might already be lacking. This results in dry hair/skin and outfits that only made sense in theory. My weekends in Nairobi’s surrounding counties were riddled with worry (most of which could and should have been avoided) partially because I didn’t think to bring my own [item name].
Another issue was probably the fact that I didn’t really have a home base. At least, my home base didn’t feel like it was my space at all. It was shared, crowded, and I didn’t feel comfortable most of the time. Recently in Death Valley, I took a few trips-within-a-trip and though imperfect, I found myself better prepared. Not only did I have the home base of my dorm room, but I also had my car, a source of comfort and ultimate freedom. Even still, I found that I would have liked to have my backpack or my moisturizer or my Birkenstocks.
In Japan, I have one suitcase and one backpack and only the items that fit within them. What makes this a bit easier is that I take all of my belongings with me to each location; there is no potential for me to forget to pack something. Of course, we now live in a world where any missing item can be purchased and picked up or delivered in the same day. The world is a lot smaller than it once was.
Despite the convenience we experience today, there remains a small twinge of fear that I’ve forgotten something even if I’m only going to the store or gym. Anything forgotten, no matter how cheap its replacement might be, is still an inconvenience. What would entirely cure this feeling would be to feel at home in the world. To quote Foster the People’s “Life on the Nickel,”
“I’m not quite there, but I’m close
And it’s a world of a difference.”