Travel Log, Day 1
un/Packing & material attachments
Yesterday morning I arrived in Boston, and in the evening I fell asleep to the sound of rain.
Raincoat, check. Umbrella, check.
I keep going through my possessions, tallying up the objects remembered and forgotten, and the objects brought unnecessarily.
It’s the materiality of traveling that gets to me — the confrontation with materiality. The days before I fly anywhere, I spend hours puttering around the house in a ritualistic pre-travel frenzy.
Do I bring this shirt or that shirt? When did own so many shirts? Why are they in this drawer? Let me go through them and decide what to donate, oh and there is this shelf to empty out, and what are all of these electrical cords for? Maybe I should move my fridge to that side of the kitchen. Maybe I should go through the stack of papers in this corner.
I drive myself crazy with it, and then do it again the next time around. Predictably and ridiculously, I end up sitting on my floor surrounded by open drawers and piles of things, clothes and books and pens and paperclips, things treasured and things that were once found on the street. I try to create some system for packing, at least for packing the essentials, but inevitably before I leave I end up stuffing random items into the little space left in my bag. Regardless of how well or poorly I’ve packed, there is always a regret. The mind likes to grab on to what is wrong, it likes to say that you did it wrong. You brought too much. You don’t have enough. You fucked up again.
It’s eye opening, to see how I relate to material possessions. The things I am attached to that I didn’t realize. The anxieties around materiality and money that rise up during the trip. The relief once I am in the airport and through security, and the surrender of sitting on the plane. That is the point of no return — there is nothing else you can do to prepare or to pack or to organize or to change. Once I arrive the voices start again — the why-didn’t-you and I -need.