Monday, September 26, 2011


In two days I hop on a plane to Nice, France. I love traveling and have been to France countless times, yet there’s always the rush of excitement when I realize I’m really going. Soon. This time the anticipation is tinted with disappointment that my husband won’t be able to go. For business reasons he had to cancel and now I’ll be on my own for a few days before I join up with friends. Traveling alone is no problem, I’ve been doing it for years, still we’d looked forward to the time together.
Funny thing about traveling for fun—I never quite know what to pack. Business travel—no problem—but deciding which jeans, sweaters, tees, shoes, jacket to spend my limited suitcase space on...totally, absurdly stressful. To use a favorite Texas expression, “This ain’t my first rodeo.” So what’s so hard about picking out what I’m going to want to wear for two weeks? EVERYTHING!!
First there’s the weather. The average temperatures this time of year are 50’s nights and 60’s days. This year is much warmer—mid 70’s to even low 80’s. Tees, jeans and sandals? Sweaters, jeans and boots? Two very different wardrobes. We’ve rented a house so we’ll have a washing machine (which in France takes about 5 hours to do 1 load!), and yet putting on the same white shirt and blue jeans, even clean, the fifth time is hard to take. There have been times when I retired clothing items or left them behind because I couldn’t bear to ever look at them again.
Second, French women are tiny and French clothes are very expensive. My sister wears an American size 2 and a French medium or even large sometimes. Extra large? Doesn’t exist. If I don’t pack it, I probably won’t be able to buy it.
Third, what are we going to do and what clothes will be appropriate? A stroll through the chic streets of St. Tropez requires different clothes than a hike in the countryside. A nice restaurant or Monte Carlo casino requires a more polished ensemble than a village bistro. Decisions, decisions. And don’t get me started on shoes!! Comfy walkers? Stylish pumps? Sandals? Boots? How can a girl choose?
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll it figure out or at least fill up a suitcase with things I think I’ll need and let go of the angst by the time my bags are loaded in the car. Still, why does it seem that everyone else brings exactly the right things while I agonize and hope that this time I got it right?
 Got any tips you want to share? Love to hear them!


Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

You could pass for une Parisienne, Lark. so whatever you pack will cause envy in Nice and its environs. Have a great time, and take lots of pictures.

Lark Howard said...

You're so sweet, Pat! And I plan on taking pics and posting them here. Hopefully I'll get a guest or two to contribute!

martha brady said...

i'm with you on my hatred of packing. ugh! love to travel if i could have a valet who would be wise re every need i would have on the trip, each possible weather twist, yada, yada. :) hope you enjoy your trip.

i'm heading to atlanta next w/e for a few days, yes, atlanta, GA:) should be simple. we'll see.