Alright, so in terms of packing I’m the kind of guy who figures if you have a toothbrush and a change of underwear and a wallet you’re good to go, and if you happen to forget the toothbrush and underwear, well, that’s what Target is for. When I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2009 I did so with a total of 10 pounds of gear, including pack, sleeping bag, shelter, and everything else except food and water. I was of the “cut the handle off the toothbrush so it weighs 6 grams less” mentality, and I’m still kinda that way about packing.
Every couple gets in repeated polite fights about an issue or two, and for us one of them is the “how much stuff to bring” issue. I want to bring very little stuff, and feel a greater sense of freedom the less I carry. Amy lowers her travelling stress by preparing for unforeseen circumstances, which means a larger amount of stuff. There’s a non-zero chance that we’ve fought politely about this both before and during pretty much every vacation we’ve ever taken.
When it came to preparing for India, I told Amy that I’d defer to her and we could pack whatever she thought was necessary. And you know what? She was right.
I’d like to share just a few of the many things my genius wife brought that have been life savers:
- My genius wife packed not one but TWO tubes of anti-itch cream, because Zinnia reacts pretty badly to mosquito bites and if she’s itchy then she, and everyone else, is miserable. I thought that was as little excessive, but there have been two times so far where she needed itch cream and needed it NOW and one of the tubes was MIA. Saved our sanity.
- My genius wife brought what I originally thought was an obscene quantity of band-aids. What I didn’t remember is that Zinnia frequently wants to put a band-aid over a mosquito bite after we put on the itch cream, and we’ve gone through, well, an obscene quantity of band-aids.
- My genius wife brought brightly colored silk handkerchiefs to dance with. I would not have packed those, but our kids played/danced with them for over a half-hour, which is pretty impressive.
- My genius wife encouraged me to bring more pants than I was planning on bringing, which I did. When we got here I remembered that Indian men almost never wear shorts, so in order to stand out just a little bit less I’ve been wearing pants much more often that I thought I would. Thanks, genius wife, for setting me up for success.
- My genius wife brought pull-ups and those soak-up-liquid mattress pads you put under kids while they sleep in case they wet the bed. Every pull-up and mattress pad has stayed dry, but it’s definitely lowered my stress level to not worry that a kid is going to ruin a mattress wetting the bed.
- Yesterday I shared that we were invited to have dinner with our driver and his family. Before we left their house, you know what my genius wife pulled out of her purse? A WRAPPED GIFT to present to the family! This was a very polite thing to do, and a good way to formally acknowledge and appreciate their hospitality. She obviously didn’t know we were going to be invited to dinner with an Indian family, but she brought a gift just in case, and as a result we were very gracious guests in their home, and not just awkward Americans.
- Today we were sitting waiting for our flight from Pune to Delhi, and you know what my genius wife pulls out of her backpack?? A TOY AIRPLANE for Aashish!! I (obviously) would not have thought of that, and even if I DID think of it I wouldn’t have packed it, but she packed it and I was great to be able to give that to Aashish to help him be more excited and less nervous about flying for the first time.
- My genius wife not only brought a lot of arts and crafts supplies, but she brought SEPARATE coloring/drawing stuff for each kid, including a clipboard in each of their backpacks, and not those stupid brown clipboards that your high school track coach carried around, but pretty, fun, multi-colored, kid-friendly clipboards. The photo above is of my genius wife being justifiably pleased with herself that she succeeded in getting all three kids coloring independently on a seat in the gate area while we were waiting for our flight. Amazing.
So yeah, my wife was right and if we would have packed the “Joel” way we would be way more stressed than we are. As such, I am hereby officially stating for the entire Internet to read that the extra luggage was very much worth it, and I am exceedingly grateful that my genius wife brought the stuff she did, and I vow to defer to her wisdom the next time we travel with our children.
A while back we posted that my genius wife and her mother Rosemary made the girls matching purses. They’ve been enthusiastically using them to carry around girl stuff so here’s a picture of them being happy and smiley with their purses (by the way, while Amy was taking this picture Aashish was blowing his nose in his shirt):
We are in Delhi now at our Airbnb apartment, and all the kids are asleep, and we’re finishing up posting and paperwork before we go to bed, which can’t come soon enough. We are very worn out and desperately need a decent night of sleep. Tomorrow morning we have Visa medical appointments for Shivani and Aashish so they can get their authorization to travel. My genius wife has already packed a backpack full of stuff to keep the kids entertained while we’re inevitably waiting for random things during the morning, and I will be carrying it all day with no complaint.
Last random thought – I was looking at pictures with a guy sitting next to me on the flight. He saw a picture of my dad and thought that it was my older brother. DANGIT.