Here I consider myself a pretty savvy traveller, being that we spend a lot of our time travelling. I mean in the last two years alone we have hit up countries like Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, some of the US, some of Canada, India, and Tanzania. And to do that with two in tow (to all except India), is pretty impressive if I do say so myself. But it seems that the past year and half away from the commercialized world has given me amnesia of what the “real world” is actually like.
On this trip back to Canada I packed our bags all wrong. In my defence, we did pack for this trip the night prior, but that is something we are pretty used to doing, so it’s not a bullet-proof defence. When groggily throwing all of the stuff I thought we would need into duffle bags, and leaving behind everything else, I thought I was making smart choices. One month into our stay in Canada and I am now realizing just how upside down I had it.
Instead of shoddily packing like I did, next time you are planning a trip BACK, learn from my foolish mistakes. By avoiding these four harebrained mistakes, your trip will most likely get off to a better start than mine did!
- People don’t joke about Canada being the Great White North for nothing. Even if it is summer, leave most of your Caribbean clothes where they are. First of all, they are most likely not warm enough, too short, and too colorful. Yes that could be a problem. Canada may be hip, fun, and full of people that can dress however they want, but you may stick out like a sore thumb in your neon dresses and tanned skinned. It all depends on how many eyes you want looking your way. The couple of beautiful dresses/rompers that I brought for myself have not seen the light of day. Instead I have been rotating through my 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of capris, and 2 long sleeved shirts. (All in different shades of black/white/earth tones). This is the only way for me to keep from turning into an icicle as I try to adjust to the temperature of this Canadian summer.
- Even if you think everything will easily accessible once you reach the homeland, don’t bank on it, you are going to be busy. I made the mistake of thinking that I was making packing easy by leave all of the things that I could just buy again once I reached Canada on the boat. I spared myself from bringing shampoos, body wash, pads/tampons, midol, etc. Not only was I thinking “now I don’t have to worry about these products exploding in my bag” but also “I won’t have to restock the boat when I get back if I leave these half-full bottles here”. I was being smart right!? Wrong, as murphy’s law would have it, I got my period the day after arriving in Canada and had nothing to protect my pants from the flow (TMI?), and we were so busy visiting with family (and being in the countryside without any real stores), that I found myself in a really awkward position. In the end I had to force a trip to the pharmacy to be able to restock on things that logically I should’ve just brought with me.
- Don’t forget your alcohol! If you have gotten used to how the rum flows in the islands, you will get one hell of a price tag shock when you are back in the far North. No longer are bottles of rum $7. Check what your allowances are and bring some back with you, not only will your friends think you are super cool for bringing some Caribbean rum for them to sample, but you won’t have to break your bank account, and spend your entire cruising kitty, while you wean yourself back into “normal” drinking habits. Since being back I have only been able to bring myself to buy one bottle of wine, because going from $5/bottle to $19/bottle is one heck of a jump. I have pretty much quit drinking, it’s too expensive here. Same goes for smokes, for all of you smokers, buy a carton before leaving, your wallet will be thankful you did.
- Even if you don’t think you have a shopping list of stuff to bring back with you, trust me you will…leave room in your bags! Transiting to and from airports, rushing to gates, and just travelling in general with two in tow is easier if you have at least one hand free to guide your sea-legged little one around. So I thought I was being clever by just shoving three peoples worth of stuff into one bag. One bag to schlep around instead of three, perfect! But already we have purchased a few things here and there (like shampoo, tampons, and long sleeved pjs!) that will all need to be tetris-ed into that same one bag for the trip home. *palm to forehead. Idiot!* Luckily for me, Eben is coming in a couple of weeks and we can shove whatever new things we accumulate while here into his bag for the trip back to the boat. It’ll be ok.
My mistakes are not the end of the world, I have gotten used to rotating through clothes, and looking like a variation of the same thing everyday. I finally managed to purchase hygiene products for the girls and I to smell so fresh and so clean, my liver is probably enjoying the reprieve from cocktails, and Eben will come to the rescue with a half empty bag for us to fill with our North American purchases. But I’m hoping I am saving you the headache of just trying to “make it work”.