Hi. My name is Jan, and I forget things when I pack for trips.
Last week Brent and I were in the Turks and Caicos Islands celebrating our anniversary. I had been setting aside Beach Vacation clothes for weeks. I pictured myself snorkeling, swimming and just relaxing in one of my two swimsuits. In the evening I would add one of the coordinating sarongs that I had bought in Hawaii.
I packed a small bag with “specialty” clothes, including the sarongs and some cute new shorts and tops that Brent had not seen yet. Even a pair of fancy white flip-flops that turned out to be dreadfully uncomfortable, but they were inexpensive in the first place plus on sale for half off so it was worth the risk. I was prepared, baby.
Then, the day before we left, we packed one large suitcase with all the “regular” clothes: shorts, shirts, shoes, blah, blah, blah. Monday morning we got up ridiculously early and headed to the airport. We checked the big bag and I carried the small one with me. On the plane, I realized that I could not remember actually putting my swimsuits in anywhere. Of course, they must be in the small bag with the other beach-specific things. I had packed it days earlier and had just forgotten.
No such luck. We got to the resort and I searched every inch of both bags. There I was at the beach for five days, and not a swimsuit to my name. “Who plans a beach vacation and doesn’t bring a swimsuit?” I wailed. Next morning, we ventured out into the town and I found a pretty blue floral suit in my size for only $65, not bad for a tourist place. (We later looked in the shop at the resort and found prices from $180 to $225.) “Well, this is my souvenir,” I said.
This wasn’t the first time. Several summers ago our family drove from the Dallas area to Phoenix, by way of the Grand Canyon. It was June, and we were going from hot Texas to the hotter Sonoran Desert, but up here at the canyon, early in the morning, It Was Cold. It had never occurred to me to pack anything with long sleeves, so I shivered my way from the car to the rim. At last, a gift shop, and I chose my souvenir: a Grand Canyon National Park sweatshirt.
I still have that sweatshirt. We have only three months of sweatshirt weather here, and since I always wear another shirt under it, it doesn’t need washing very often. The Grand Canyon National Park emblem shows up almost as clearly as ever. Years later, the sweatshirt still brings back fond memories of our trip.
And the swimsuit? I really do like it, and seeing the same suit in every single photo will make for better stories than if everything had gone as planned. That sort of glitch makes a memorable vacation just that much more so. Anyway, a useful garment makes a much more satisfying souvenir than one of those plaques or bobbleheads or paperweights that you have to dust.
PS: On our return home I found my other suits at home, hiding in the drawer.