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The tale of three to six suitcases

Three suitcases and two backpacks in front of a wall.

The tale of three to six suitcases

After months of paring down our belongings, we still had too much stuff as we faced the last weekend before take-off. We packed up a box to leave behind and then started the tedious and overwhelming task of organizing everything we thought we’d need for five months. 

When we started this adventure, we thought we could do it with each of us having a carry-on and a backpack. After all, that’s the way we traveled through Europe last time. So we ordered these very cool carry-ons from Solgaard and figured we were set. 

Evidently a two-week vacation is very different from a complete lifestyle change. Luckily, we did our final Reno packing while staying at our friend Brenda’s house, so we traded her one of our fancy new suitcases for one of her bigger suitcases. That still wasn’t enough, so we ended up leaving Reno with her’s, one of our carry-ons and another smaller carry-on that we had planned to donate. And we bribed her to store the box. 

As you can imagine, navigating airports, trains and Venice with three suitcases and two backpacks is not great. And things still didn’t fit the way we’d hoped. So in Venice, we purchased a bigger suitcase and left the original small carry-on behind. Unfortunately, this still left us with three. 

When we got to Florence, it was warming up, so we packed up our sweaters, gloves and scarves in Brenda’s suitcase and found a Mailboxes, Etc. to ship it back to her. FYI – this does require sending things through customs so it’s not cheap. I think it was around $125, and it took several weeks to arrive. It costs even more if you include anything of value, like a camera.  

Another Wrinkle

As we’re going to Cannes at the end of the month, before we left, we pre-packed a large suitcase with Clay’s tux, my fancy dresses and other clothes suitable for a week of la-di-da. When it came time for our friend Jodi, to ship it to us, she found out it was going to cost about $500 — because it’s big and it would have to go through the aforementioned customs. Plus, there wasn’t a great place to ship it to as our flat in Cannes doesn’t have a doorperson, so it would mean hanging out waiting for it to arrive. 

We decided it would be cheaper and more convenient to buy new clothes for Cannes, so we did that in Porto. We also needed shorts, and a couple pairs of new shoes as my one pair of Skechers had done all the heavy lifting through six countries and Clay’s running shoes were getting a supreme workout

This, of course, meant buying a new suitcase to carry them in. Are we up to five yet? Or is it six?

After Cannes, our plan is to ship one of these home with the fancy clothes we won’t need for the UK, as well as our remaining winter socks and sweaters. Though we’re holding on to the windbreakers!


Are we done buying suitcases?

Our fingers are crossed this is it with suitcase purchases and that we can remember where all of our things are when we get home. We’re very grateful to our Reno friends for their willingness to help us out with all this and for not making fun of us along the way. And we’re very much looking forward to using our Solgaard suitcases for a regular trip someday. We still think they’ll be awesome!

Jackie Shelton, APR, is a strategic communications veteran who, after 30 years still has a hard time focusing on one particular aspect, so she has stopped trying.

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