Sunday, September 23, 2018

Guest Post: The 5 Stages of Packing

My favorite guest blogger has more thoughts about traveling. For those that have packed up your kid and sent them off to school, or packed up your family and moved this summer, I thought you could relate to his tongue and cheek response to the task of packing up the car:

When a loved one passes or leaves a relationship they usually go through five distinct stages of grief known as DABDA. The five stages marked the in the acronym are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and lastly, Acceptance. While it can be used to help a friend or family member be safely and gently guided through their long battle with grief as you help them move on and gain emotional strength through their loss, it can, more importantly, be used to identify the five different headaches you get from packing up and cramming stuff into your car as you prepare for a glampy family reunion camping trip. So sit back, relax, and realize that the grief you felt over losing a loved one is similar to the anger and migraine you get as you cram that oversized red cooler into your trunk and realize that it takes up almost 40% of your trunk space

You empty the garage, tear through every closet and scan very email for all the items you might need as you prepare for your expedition into the familial unknown. After an hour of searching for that one rain coat you can’t find, you lay out all your items neatly on a blanket only to finally stand back and think to yourself, “There's no way all of this will fit into my trunk” as the self-doubt and regret sinks in.

While all of the stuff you need to cram into your car sits in a massive pile looking like an evil demon of temptation, you push those thoughts aside and tell yourself, “I’m smart, I can figure this out” or “This is just like Tetris, this will be easy, right?” While the Tetris theme earworm slowly chews its way into your head like a parasite, you grab the largest item to put in first, only to see that the big red cooler and canopy take up almost half the space. You say a few swears and think about grabbing that Motrin when you look over in rage to realize that the stove, tent, sleeping bag, air-mattress, and the assortment of other items have to fit as well.

You're almost ready to give up on neatly packing and just start cramming as you think that “Do I really need the percolator” and “The others brought trash bags, right?”. What about that one random camp gadget that only fulfills a random niche task that you’re too stubborn to leave behind because you the only time the rare opportunity to use will pop up is if you don't bring it. Even thought it sits there taking up more room than your tent.

At this point the temperature in the garage is about 89 degrees and you finally throw in the towel and go get a glass of water. The car is now mostly packed minus a few miscellaneous items. As you pour the water and pop out a few ice cubes you stop to wonder “Do I really want to go?” “Do I really want to see cousin Vicky and all 3 of her rambuctious four-year-olds?”  and you know that when you camp with Uncle Buck that he will make everyone go do something educational. Will there be cell service, will cousin David blow up dinner again and how many dogs will we all bring collectively, are all thoughts that that race through your brain like screaming toddlers running around with sparklers as you swallow the last gulp of your water. (It's also at this time that you find the bottle of Motrin that's always at the very back of the medicine cabinet – ahhhh!)

You finally cram the last few items into your car and pick the perfect music playlist as your caravan-looking mad-max-war-rig pulls out of the of the driveway looking like a traveling magical artifact salesmen from a Dungeons and Dragons campaign or Lord of the Rings movie. You select the perfect fast food joint for dinner as you head out into the familial unknown. Your only hope is that nobody opens up the left passenger door as it will unleash a devastating avalanche of camping stuff that only leaves destruction and despair in its wake.

Regardless of the "struggle" it was great to get away with our family!

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