The Down Side to Traveling

It's the stress.

There's always one thing on every trip that becomes the stressiest part of the planning. And it's never the same trip to trip. For the last road trip, it was the 9 hour drive with an inexperienced road tripper. For Orlando, it was getting from my house to the train to the office to the El to the airport with the luggage. With two trips coming up very quickly, I've found that both kind of have the same stresses...

Clothing. Well, clothing and packing.

It isn't as much of a stress for New York. It's more of the wonder...will my cute dress work for an entire day or should I break it up and change midway through?? Or, will the new cute shoes work with my seemingly continually inflamed bunion?? (sure, the doc said surgery is an option, but I can't be off of my feet for too long!! I have trips planned!!) The packing portion is going to be relatively easy. I just don't want to look like a hobo when I go to New York. Partially because I will be meeting stations, but really...it's New York!! I don't expect to look like "Carrie" (not ME, Carrie but "Sex and the City, Carrie"...though if I had my way, I'd be more of a "Charlotte" in clothing, more of a "Miranda" with the rest...but I digress). But I would like to be marginally fashionable. Hence, the stress of clothing.

But the stress of clothing for New York is NOTHING compared to the stress of clothing for South America. Look, I got my hair colored two days ago, but because of this stress, I expect gray hairs to be sprouting through the red chemicals in the next few weeks.

The South America stress has three components - Shoes, Coat and Packing. Let's tackle them one at a time, shall we??

Shoes. I hate shoes. I've never liked them. Never drooled over them. I've never pined for them. Shoes and I have a delicate relationship. It stems from the fact that I couldn't find shoes for a significant amount of time (who knew that being overweight would make your feet overweight too??). I'm all about comfort and ease. Which is why I spend 95% of my time wearing Converse. They're fine. They go with everything. They work. But they're not going to work in South America. So I've been searching for shoes. DSW, Zappos, Amazon, Macy's, Nordstrom, LL Bean, The Walking Company. Everywhere. The problem is that I don't know what I want. I truly expect for the heavens to open up and a double rainbow to appear when I see the shoes I should get for South America. The problem...no double rainbow. Not even a single rainbow at this point. And we are two months away from needing shoes. Stress!!

I have possibly come to a decision though. I have a pair of Merrell's. They're comfy. They're cute. They're durable. But there are two problems.
#1 - They're suede. Bad for rain.
#2 - They're Mary Janes. Bad for rain. And I will have to find socks to match.

Bright side...I wouldn't need to spend any money for new shoes. Hmmm...I might be able to deal with wet shoes...

Coat. Oh, a coat. I don't have a delicate relationship with coats as I do with shoes. I just don't ever have the right coat. There's no real reason why. It just is. I don't have a Spring coat. I don't have a Fall coat. I kind of have a Winter coat, but it really should be a different one that actually keeps me warm. It's just something I never really deal with. But what works in Chicago is not going to work in South America. Dang coat. This one, I haven't looked as much for. And I just keep hoping a box will show up on my doorstep with a new coat that will work for the trip. Sadly, I haven't seen a box yet.

But I am feeling a bit better about the coat situation. That's because on Friday, I took the train home with Chad. While we were traveling along on our merry way, I stopped and said, "What's the deal with this coat?? Do you like it??" It was longer, kind of trench-like, and was lined enough to stay warm, rain proof and it looked slimming. I tracked it down online enough to know it's from The North Face. Now the biggest issue will be to find it and try it on. It's more expensive than I wanted to spend, but it also might work for the future too. And...The North Face has 5 miles to the dollar on AA. Bingo!!

Packing. This is my ultimate stress for South America. We're going to be gone for 16 days (I think it's 16 days...I at least know it's 10.5 vacation days). There are many legs of the trip and several different climates. How in the holy hell do you pack for that?? Or more specifically, how do you actually pack light enough so that you can shop and so you're not breaking the bank every time you fly?? Not to mention the bus and train rides. While I'd like to bring along a big honking suitcase, I know it's not an option. So how will this go?? I'm sure we will do laundry while we're there (might even pay a hotel person to do laundry for us...I'm not opposed to spending money on that luxury). And I know the layers we'll be wearing in Cusco will be worn multiple days. But still. I just can't wrap my head around the concept of packing. What do I need to bring?? How light can I possibly go?? I was talking with someone the other day about our stop at the Llama/Alpaca farm and how I thought that would be where I went wild with shopping. How do I even bring all of that stuff home?? I mean, I would like to shove a live llama in my suitcase, but I know that's not an option. But maybe I'll want an Alpaca Throw. And hats and socks and ponchos. And replicas of the Moai statues. And whatever the heck else they make on the Island. How much room could I possibly have when I know I'm going to want to buy everything??

(excuse me a minute while I breathe into a paper bag)

And this is what I think about most days up until the trip. Oh, it's going to be a long two months...

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