To Find Myself, I Have to Lose Some Baggage



Tomorrow is finally the big day. I depart at 10:45 p.m. via Amtrak for two weeks of exploring, travel writing and a chance to find myself and who I represent at this stage of life. The problem is all of my baggage. Literally and figuratively, I have to leave a lot behind to make this trip a success.

I’m allowed a purse and two pieces of carry-on baggage, which would consist of:

  • One small carry-on bag for my “office” on the train containing my computer, writing tablets, notebooks filled with notes and info I need to maintain the magazine on the road.
  • Overhead bag filled with clothes. Not nearly enough for two weeks, but I’ll figure that out as I go.

I also wanted to take:

  • Camera bag
  • Purse “cooler” for food on the train
  • Day pack
  • Pillow/blanket for train
  • Toiletries bag
  • Hanging clothes bag

Something, well, a lot of things, have got to go.  So, as I pare down my belongings once again (releasing possessions is a theme for me lately), I decide what matters most in life… and in luggage.

The food cooler, unfortunately, can’t come with me. I’ll squeeze some snacks into my “office” bag and call it good.  I’ll also have to find a way to fit the toiletries bag into the office luggage. The hanging clothes bag also won’t make the cut. The pillow bag fortunately can attach to the outside of my luggage.

That leaves the day pack, purse and camera bag. Luckily, I found a delightful bag at the thrift store that allows me to get rid of all three at once. Although small enough to function as my purse, it’ll hold my camera, notebook, cash and a lipstick.

When I first started planning this adventure, half the fun was spending time with my mother, deciding what constituted the “ultimate” baggage. Unfortunately, I can’t take them all with me, but it’s fun to figure out what really, truly matters most – and to leave the rest behind.




  1. Hi Jill,

    My name is Sharon and I am the outreach intern for Pink Pangea. I enjoyed reading your blog, and would love to publish more of your adventures on our women’s travel site, Pink Pangea. If you’re interested please email me at

    Thanks! Sharon


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