My Life in 3 Bags

Packing for this extended stay in Europe proved to be… interesting. I knew immediately on what particular clothing items I would need, namely anything that goes well with the cool fall weather, transitioning to cold, wet winter weather. With clothes out of the way, personal items came next, such as hygiene products. I bought what was necessary and then moved on to the extraneous items that aren’t particularly necessary for my stay in the Netherlands.

The heftiest of these extraneous items was possibly my large container of Gates BBQ Sauce, which I found necessary to take with me as it is a taste of home. Several books, a harmonica, and other odds and ends were included in this packing process of extra things. But I was to have an enemy from it all before I even left the United States: the American Airlines weight machine.

Upon arriving to Kansas City International, I began the process of checking my large suitcase, which held all my winter/fall clothing, jackets, and primarily the extraneous stuffing. As per American Airlines policy, any checked bag or suitcase weighing above 50 pounds was to be charged an extra $100; my suitcase came in at 61 pounds. With the threat of that $100 fine hanging over my head, I tore open the case and began removing any items I deemed ‘not necessary.’ I made mad shuffling moves, handing such items a few bars of soap and shirts to my parents, who bagged each item to take them back home. I eventually had only 3 pounds left to discard, but I had a difficult time between two necessary items: my shampoo, or my Gates BBQ Sauce. I held both in my hands for a moment, feeling how they were nearly equal in weight. At that time I knew I would make the right decision: the shampoo was going back home.

Take it from this perspective: one can wash their hair with Gates BBQ Sauce AND eat it as well. Shampoo, however, only does one of those things well…

Of all the items I wish I could have taken with me on this journey, it would have been my beloved acoustic guitar. Creedance, as I have affectionately named her after the amazing Creedance Clearwater Revival, has become one of my strongest avenues of expression in recent years.

Fender DG-100

A Fender DG-100, the same model as my guitar, ‘Creedance’

Checking with American Airlines regarding a second checked bag a few weeks before departure, I would have to sell a kidney to get her to come with me – it would be roughly another $150 for an extra checked bag. I was seriously contemplating early on in the packing process with only packing the things I absolutely needed and taking that as my carry-on luggage, with Creedance tagging along as my checked bag. If only that were the case…