Parking Lot Diaries: Packing List Obsession

“The Trip”

The last week has been full of afternoon Americano’s, breeze from an open door, and scribbling packing lists on legal pads.

I like budgets, packing lists, logistics. I know, I’m a nerd.

Back to the packing lists: what are they even for?

Packing lists and my new 2016 journal

On December 24, my long-anticipated winter pro-leisure tour begins. Here is the plan:

December 24: Fly to Costa Rica
December 29: Meet Andrew in Miami, fly to Ecuador
January 16: Fly to Miami from Ecuador, jump in a car and drive to Sarasota to see my brother from S Korea for a night, then :
January 17: Fly into Asheville, arrive at 6 pm, grab bags, dinner with mom, then jump in car and leave at midnight for Arizona
January 21: Launch date into the Grand Canyon
February 6: Begin the journey back east


So that’s the schedule. Here are some details:

Costa Rica: Surfing, kayaking, massages on the beach, horse back riding, shopping and amazing coffee will be squeezed into a short trip with my family for a brief Christmas holiday. Highlights will include kayaking while they fish one day, surfing again finally, and finding amazing Costa Rican coffee.

Ecuador: Here we’ll be staying with Juliet at her lodge. For 20 days we’ll get to kayak as much as we want, visit the local beaches a handful of times, spend time lounging on the porch of her lodge, and thanking god someone told me ahead of time to bring coffee.

Grand Canyon: The trip of a lifetime! Will Butler got a permit in the lottery. Along with other college friends and newer NOC friends, we’ll be headed to the Big Ditch for 16 days of…. Cold. But beautiful, amazing scenery. The Grand Canyon was on the endangered list for 2015 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Threatened by natural and man made causes, we are excited to not only be down there for Ben David’s birthday, but also to enjoy one of our country’s most amazing natural wonders while it is still with us.

My mom enjoys my burr grinder

Here is something you may have noticed: There isn’t much time between the trips. As in, a mere handful of hours.

So, obviously, the packing needs to be on point. We don’t have time to repack between legs. We need to be able to drop a bag, pick up a bag, and go.

Thus, the packing list obsession (who am I kidding, I was obsessed with packing lists for Bali too). I have a brand new, shiny duffle bag from Patagonia (my trusty red Adidas one of almost 10 years broke). I have a gear bag and a small daypack.

My packing lists are specific down to underwear. Next to the items that I’ll need in both the Grand Canyon and South America is a star. These items will stay separate from the rest. The remaining items will simply get dropped off in North Carolina during our 6-hour layover, while my Grand Canyon things will be packed and ready to go. My loving, patient, saintly mother is driving us around and storing our gear for us, as well as feeding Will and another friend before we head out that night.

The madness of packing

Stapled to the packing lists are things I still need to buy (Spirulina, Dr Bronners), so I can tear those off when I get them. A third list I still haven’t finished officially is my budget. Until I’ve bought everything I need and packed, I won’t know for sure how much I have to spend. But I do know that I made more at trees than I expected, so I’m not too concerned with it.

A few things I will have to do in the two days between trees and leaving are scurry around collecting all the things I ordered while gone (a new paddle, thanks Werner!, a shoulder brace-eek-, camera charger), see friends, and cross my fingers and toes I get to paddle. I probably won’t. That’s ok.

I also get to go pick up my new Kokatat dry suit and dry top. I’m on the regional ambassador team for 2016, which I’m beyond excited about. I’ve always considered their gear to be legendary, spectacular, the best of the best. And I’m excited to be able to represent them proudly while on my Winter Pro Leisure Tour.


One last thing I’m super excited about for my pro-leisure tour: Ben David will be on the entire trip with me. How’s that for best friends/married/living the dream?

I’m writing this on our last full day on the lot. We haven’t begun packing up here yet. My burr grinder is still sitting on the counter, beckoning me for an Americano. A half-eaten bag of carrots sits slumped over on the table next to a dirty cast iron skillet. Books are stacked in a sloppy pile next to the toaster oven. On the walls, our travel magazine pictures fade in the sun. One of the center ones is a little Ford Focus headed into magnificent mountains, with a rack full of boats. I’ve looked at this picture everyday for weeks; every morning while I pour my coffee I glance up at it. And every morning I realize: my life is a magazine.



One thought on “Parking Lot Diaries: Packing List Obsession

  1. I am literally in the middle of making the exact same lists, it’s like an obsession in when not travelling. I love finding sites with new lists of things I hadn’t even thought of bringing too!

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