There is an art to not packing until just the right moment. If I do it too soon I forget what I packed and have to rifle through my stuff and make sure I have that pair of shorts. If I wait too long I end up having to make on the spot decisions of what to not take because my suitcase is too stuffed or over weight. I prefer giving slow, rational thought to what I can live without. I sometimes get second thoughts and try to derail my meticulous packing plan. Maybe I should only pack wrinkle-free things because I won’t have an iron.

The night before the trip I go into a walking stupor. I try and pace myself and only get so excited at any given moment. I want the endorphins to last through the click of my seat belt and announcement that my trip has begun. I make several final passes in front of the staging area to determine the order in which I will pack my stuff in the morning.

Now it is time for the final survey around the house looking for those things that will be done just before I close my suitcase — like empty the grounds in the coffee maker, set the thermostat, check notes for Coco’s kennel, and take out the kitchen garbage. I have organized myself into a heightened pretrip delirium.

Then I finally let go. I have reached the moment of satisfaction that everything is ready and I can totally give in to trip mode. I drop into bed and let go of all preparations. I want to dream about what I think my trip will be like. From here out I just let it unfold as it is meant to be. I am under the spell of the traveler’s high.


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