AshleyWoods

Sitting on a Suitcase: Lessons of The New Minimalist Traveler

In Personal, Travels on August 29, 2011 at 11:09 PM

That I am not. Plain and simple. I love the certain things that I consider  “essentials” right about me. It keeps my wits about me. I feel organized and prepared for any situation that may come my way. Others…including my own family, called it OCD hoarding. Ok so sometimes I am little big of a bag lady I must admit, that does not mean that someday that it is going to be of great benefit to me as a mother of how many numerous amounts of children I’ll have.  Here are some of the things that I considered to be “essentials” on my trip abroad to London:

Beautiful new tortoise shell Toms Wayfarers (One For One!)

Audrey Always Knows Best

Last California IN-N-OUT trip with Cait

MARC JACOBS Daisy Perfume (not my photo)

An amazing camera to take 1000s of pictures (not my photo)

James Smith & Sons: The Umbrella Choice of Her Majesty, the Queen

Or... I won't even need an umbrella at all

Hunter Wellies for the London rain (not my photo)

Just like Diana- a pair of Hunter Wellingtons

And.. a beautifully elegant dress for the Royal Opera (not my photo)

Well…the point is, sitting on a suitcase is one way to not practice being a minimalist. Not to mention, I had two bags to check. I had a lot to learn and two carry-ons that could have been big enough to check too stuffed with gum and magazines, two meals for the flight as I did not particularly prefer the choices like my “delicious” lasagna options or the hard croissant that they served for breakfast. Besides I was too antsy to eat, I had not even slept well the whole week before, I just was anxious and nervous and excited all at the same time. I felt like I was dying somehow…saying goodbye to everyone, closing up shop like it was the last day that I was going to be alive, but it was depressing. It was really exciting actually.

Driving with my parents to the airport was an entirely strange experience, I really thought that they were going to leave me at the curb and say goodbye. But alas, they didn’t and we stopped one last time at  Mustard, my favorite sandwich restaurant for my last meal in America since I had apparently done something really weird for me that day and had forgotten to eat (I was way too anxious actually). It was the same conversation that it had been for the last week: ‘Where is my customs letter?’ ‘How do I try to do everything in such a short amount of time?’…. Simple answer from my mom of course: ‘I told you where everything is and just have fun, remember where you are. So as we finally approached LAX in what the shortest drive time that it has ever taken to get up there, my heart was racing and the anxiety made me almost nauseous.

The long and pricey process of checking my bags meant that I only had very little time left before I went to the international terminal for security…this was the hard part. I was sad and excited, but something was pushing me toward being ready to leave. I knew that I could four months without my parents. Yes, for me, Ashley Woods, it was actually possible. I could get away with only a few texts from my mom every few days and the occasional Skype phone call. My laundry wasn’t an issue, I could cook for myself. I had gone from the Freshman at UCLA who never cooked and preferred cereal to someone who was proud to be quite good in the kitchen (or so I have been told). I didn’t need to call my family countless times of the day, dying for conversation and comfort, no, this was my time and every little action that had made up my life up until this point was held in this moment.

And you know I will never forget when I actually left them in the airport. I hugged my dad, told him I loved him and then my mom hugged me harder than I will ever remember. And it wasn’t long before eyes were being wiped, and then shrugged off very quickly. That was my story, but it sounds just as bittersweet  as everyone else’s until these words of advice came my way. Famous Last Words: “Just don’t come back with a husband.” Thanks Mom.

*only the top photo is my own personal photograph-the rest of these photos are not my own personal photos*

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