Friday, March 26, 2010


Sometimes packing makes me nauseous. I think it might be all that bending and reaching. I feel light headed and sick to my stomache. It happens every time. I think I was just created to travel light.

When one packs you always have to make decisions. What to keep, and what to discard. I get so exhausted with it all that I have an urge to throw most things away. If I even try Georgia digs them all out again. No black bag is safe from her - every tossed item is suddenly a treasure!

There is of cause the joy contained in rediscovered things. I can get caught up in reading fascinating stories on old newspapers, pausing midway as I wrap a cup, a vase. An item of clothing, dug out from a forgotten suitcase brings pleasure for a day.... A favourite book is flipped through. But really, I know , I was created to travel light.

As a young woman I went through a stage when I hitch hiked a lot. I loved it. The freedom , standing like a cactus on a desert of tar, my arm stuck out, thumb pointing heavenward. I loved the feel of my canvas rugsack between my ankles, everything that mattered to me contained therein. There is no doubt that there was a risk involved ( my sister hitch hiked only once, and was nearly killed in a head on collision). But I did it for years, addicted to that one stopped car, getting in or out, with no commitment, no debt to be payed. I was kept safe, that I acknowledge, and am grateful.

I remember holding a warm puppy on my lap once, as the old man who picked me up wound his way through the Ciskei hills. There was a crazy ride with two funny Scots ladies, through the aloes landscape around Grahamstown, and I sat on a bagpipe by mistake on the backseat. I leapt from moving cars at stop streets twice, instinct telling me that that would be best, and traveled from the sleepy town of Port Alfred in an aeroplane car at 210km an hour to PE. One day I just stopped, got out a car and knew it was my last ride. I started to pick up baggage after that.

But not much. Even when we returned from England we arrived  back to SA with two backpacks and one baby on the hip and another in my belly.  Now, in my forties I carry a lot with me. L and I have shed much over the years. But we, tortoise like, have to carry a home with us. And all this stuff is home - all this baggage.

In psychological terms I suppose the word baggage has a negative connotation. But lately I would disagree with that. It makes us who we are. A friend once told me that I rearrange my  same old things in a different way in every home she has known me in - and there have been many. It sets me to thinking. All this stuff we carry, good and bad, beautiful and not so, is who we are, metamorphosizing through the years.

I am still dodging the packing. I have had many kind offers of help. We, as a family are picking our way through our stuff, slowly. Mostly I am day dreaming about our destination - the place we will be when all this is done. How I will place a chair, a quilt, a row of carved wooden animals.

I am wishing I could be picked up suddenly, like a car swishing passed and pulling over onto the gravel, some stones crunching under my shoes as I run towards a door being opened, a friendly face behind the wheel, and there I go, moving  effortlessly on.

In Matthew  6:19, it says: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal." So maybe I'm on the right track...

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