Very much just another blog

How not to pack

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I’m packing for a trip. No. Wait. I am thinking about packing for a trip. I have the constituent parts: I have a map, a guide-book, walking boots and extra pants. I always pack extra pants though I’ve never figured out what five emergency spare pairs of knickers might save me from. I pack them though, or will, nonetheless.

I’ve bought a rucksack too. I’ve never been a rucksack girl, though from time to time I wanted to be. When it came down to it they never provided the right dimensions for the types of shoes I tended to lob in and, beyond that, I thought: I’m not a travelling girl; I don’t want to live out of a bag for months. The irony is, of course, I have spent portions of my life living out of a bag anyway and right now, at 32, having been there and back, and back again just to check, I find I am still looking for home. So I’m leaving to taste something and leaving, too, so I can return and find the thing I have been looking for.

I’m going to Cuba. Alone. Like Indiana Jones. Frankly, I’m shitting myself, which never happened to Indiana as far as I can remember, but I booked the trip in a whirl, one leg still in my office, my head in a powerpoint and my credit card in my back pocket. I’ve always wanted to go to Cuba. I wanted to fall back in time, to see where all those stories come from, to hear the music and dance the dance and feel those bright colours and let my heart race. I wanted to do something that required a bit of courage. I wanted to try something I didn’t think I could do, do it, and then feel massively powerful, take on the challenges that befall me with my shoulders a little further back. Currently, however, my biggest challenge is packing, and I’m tapping this instead of doing that…

My rucksack sits by my feet. Alongside it I’ve laid all my papers: flight details, first hotel details, Visa, map. I’m amazed by my own efficiency which has been tip-top, save the vaccination debacle: I was too late to be immunised for Hep B, so the nurse suggested I avoid having sex or medical treatment while I was away. The former I am happy to skip, the latter depends very much on my circumstances. I can imagine some incident leaving me with my arm hanging off at the elbow, me trying to bind it back together with five pairs of spare pants, while yelling: it’s fine! It’s fine! NO MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR ME! I didn’t have the rabies shot because the nurse said it wasn’t worth it and I should simply stay away from stray cats and dogs that looked a bit mental – also bats, bats can be rabid; don’t invite them ’round. She did give me Hep A, but as it won’t actually start working until I get back I need to be careful not to eat or drink anything that might harbour Hep A baddies. Awesome. At least, having run from rabid animals, past the hospital, under the bat cave, all on an empty stomach, I should come back a lean, mean, fighting machine. At the very least I shall have had some sun, or hope to. More on that later.

I booked this trip late: I hadn’t decided where to go and I was a little afraid of going anywhere alone. When I told my friends they said: you’ll have an AMAZING time but make sure you keep your wits about you, your money stuck to your body, your credit card in your bra, your camera up your nose and don’t talk to strangers. Or: half the people you meet will be trying to scam you, the other half are LOVELY, it’s impossible to tell which is which so just use your judgement. Judgement? FUCKING JUDGEMENT? I’m likely to be skidding past the Havana hospital light of limb in a few days time; I don’t have judgement, this much is clear.

Fuckit. I’m going. What’s the absolute worst that can happen? Someone steals my money, or my tickets or passport. I reckon you can tell quite a lot about a person by how they react if their luggage is stolen. I’m going to have to not freak out if I don’t want to seriously go down in my own estimation. And, anyway, as my friend so wisely reminded me: you’re from south east London. No one fucks with you. Well, apart from that one time. He’s right: wandering the streets of south east London shitfaced hasn’t got me yet, Cuba won’t either.

I had assumed, because of its location, that Cuba would be sun soaked. I’ve never seen a picture of Cuba that wasn’t big bright colours. I’m a twat. Everywhere has *weather* and right now the monsoon rains are beginning, and there might be a hurricane, which is a bit irritating, partly because of the whole medical treatment thing, but also and more basically because wind very much gets in between me and my drinking sun ray plans. I hope the sun will make an appearance but, if it doesn’t, there’s more for me there than just that. I need to write and think and put bits of myself back where they’re meant to be. When you’re born you should be given a map of yourself for just these sorts of moments. Something like IKEA produce, and an allen key. Probably that would help with the old arm issue too.


Written by elikafm

September 3, 2010 at 12:09 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Elika, McMucca. McMucca said: Traveltips from Elika https://elikafm.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/how-not-to-pack/ […]

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