Travel Rebuttal – #SoCS

I warned River Girl that I might someday give her the guy’s-eye view of packing, after she made fun of the way her husband unpacked in a hotel vs. the way she did. Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt plays right into that threat:

“Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is ‘(un)pack.’ Use ‘pack’ or its opposite in your post. Have fun!”

If we were having a beer, we’d both be in trouble with Cheryl.

“There he is, right on time.”

“Hi David. Did you expect me to be late?”

“No, I’m just always surprised when I get here before you.”

“Hey guys. Having the usual delights today?”

“Yes, but first, do you have a pen I can borrow, Cheryl?”

“A pen, David?”

“Yes, you know, writing instrument.”

“Oh, I know. It’s just that bartenders, waitresses and waiters typically would respond with ‘don’t touch my pen’ because we can’t work without them…well, we can’t get paid.”

“I just want to make a note on a receipt. You can watch.”

“OK, let me dig one out for you.”

“Oh my goodness, what all is in that bag?”

“The stuff I need for work, including a box of pens, one of which I was going to let you borrow.”

“I appreciate that. Is that a pack of dishtowels?”

“Yes, the ones they give us here are crap. I bring my own.”

“Cheryl, I have to say, I’ve gone on overnight business trips with less stuff.”

“Said the man who doesn’t want a perfect lime slice, Dan. Any more from the man who doesn’t want cherries in his bourbon?”

“Nope, we’re good, Cheryl. I appreciate using your pen. I am done. You may have it back.”

“Thank you. Now, can I assume you guys want those usual items?”

“John Howell’s bourbon and a Corona for my friend. Of course, we appreciate the fruit and fixin’s.”

“Ha ha, OK, guys. I’ll be right back.”

“That was close.”

“I don’t think she appreciated your comment, Dan.”

“Well, it was a slight exaggeration, but I did get pretty good at packing when I traveled.”

“I thought you said you always check a bag when you fly. Don’t the true road warriors live by carry-on alone?”

“Don’t confuse speed with convenience.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I like having certain things with me when I travel. They all can’t be in a carry-on. I get one free checked-bag, why not have what I want?”

“Exactly, Dan! That’s why I bring this bag. My pens, my dishtowels. My extra blouse in case some jerk bumps into me while I’m bringing him his beer. Speaking of which, your Corona and her lime.”

“And for me?”

“Yours is coming.”


“So what is it you can’t be without that you can’t carry on board?”

“A pocketknife, for one thing.”

“And you need a pocketknife, why?”

“To cut the luggage tags off.”

“I can see that.”

“Here you go. Three fingers of John Howell’s best, a snifter of seltzer and a glass of ice.”

“And cherries, thank you Cheryl.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Wait a minute…”

“What, do you want to order food?”

“No, not wait a minute you, Cheryl, wait a minute Dan. You wouldn’t have luggage tags if you didn’t check any bags.”

“I was wondering when you would get to that. I know, but I don’t like being without a pocketknife. Stray threads, snack packages, boxes of stuff the office shipped to the venue – you never know.”

“I’m just a minimalist. The more you pack, the more you have to unpack.”


“You know, when you get to your hotel. Unpack your stuff.”

“Ah, I see. You travel like a girl.”


“No offense, Cheryl, but women tend to unpack, line up their shoes, fill drawers, hang stuff up, arrange their stuff in the bathroom.”

“And what, you live out of your luggage like a hobo?”

“I do.”

“Dan, I’m not sure this conversation is going in the right direction. Besides, I’m with Cheryl on this.”

“But you don’t travel much.”

“Neither do you, anymore.”

“True, but like I said earlier, I got pretty good at it.”

“And your secret was…”

“Roll everything.”


“Roll everything. Pants, shirts, tee shirts, socks, everything got rolled up tight.”

“How does that help?”

“It fits better, so packing is easier, and rolled stuff doesn’t really get wrinkled.”

“So, what, you don’t unpack?”

“Nope, I live out of my suitcase.”

“Dan, that’s disturbing.”

“Not really Cheryl. I mostly traveled alone. I put the hotel’s laundry bag on the couch next to my suitcase. Dirty clothes in the bag, clean clothes out of the suitcase. Easy-peasy.”

“What about shoes?”

“Well, if I was going to a technical thing, or visiting my brother, jeans, tee-shirts, dress shirts and my hiking shoes were all I needed.”

“What about a business meeting?”

“In that case, Cheryl, I’d toss in a pair of black shoes – filled with rolled up socks – and lay a jacket over the whole mess.”

“The – Whole – Mess. Sounds accurate.”

The gallery is mainly from the freezing rain we had on Thursday.



  1. You pack like my husband does. Quickly and minimalistically. Did you learn that in shop class in middle school? Because I swear over in Home Ec class we girls were learning to pack everything we owned when going on a vacation. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha – that might be where it stems from, Ally. Packing a toolbox is the art of taking what you need and having it be easy to carry. But, it might be heredity at work. I remember my mother out-packing my day by a healthy margin when we went on vacation.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank goodness you and John know what to do with these prompts, I always end up with something stuck in my head and can’t get a story out. Today I’ll be forever humming, “Pack up your troubles in old kit bag and smile, smile, smile!”

    Forget about putting your glasses by the cat…..

    Liked by 3 people

    • I love that image, GP – it’s sooooo true. MuMu might not be anywhere near y glasses, but she’ll bap them to the floor, just because she can.

      I had been wanting to write about packing, after reading River Girl’s travel stories. Linda lit the fuse on this one.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, gals and guys definitely pack differently! If I traveled, I’m afraid I would over-pack with too many things I “might” need….and then never use them anyway. Lol.

    Love the photo of Maddie in her ‘whirlpool’. All the ice shots are beautiful, but not so nice to be out in. Same weather here.

    Not sure if that’s MiMi or MuMu, but I just love the last photo with her little paws hugging her face. Precious!
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ginger. That’s MuMu trying to get comfortable. What you don’t see is me trying to scratch her belly. I think she likes that, but she acts like she doesn’t. Then again, I’ve misread female reactions before ;-)

      I have a long list of packing success stories and failures. I have been praised for having a knife to open the boxes of meeting materials at our Annual Meeting, and I’ve had to buy underwear in the hotel gift shop because I forgot to pack any. I don’t have to tell you which story has a longer lifespan.

      I was glad I didn’t have to venture any farther than the back yard on Thursday.

      I hope you have a nice weekend and a great week!


    • A man after my own heart, Pam. I do get the job of packing the car before trips. When I’m driving to a destination, I tend to take more than I need. Especially snacks. When Faith and I drive to Pittsburgh, there are two bags of snacks – the common bag which goes in the room my brother and I share, in which we all get together, and Faith’s bag. Now, here’s a test. We start out with a bag of Peanut Butter M&Ms in each bag. Which one gets opened on the drive to Pittsburgh and which one remains full?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This Cheryl is officially right there with you. Most of the way. We roll everything for the reasons you stated. Hubby used to want to unpack if we were staying more than a few days somewhere but he’s gotten over that. I left an expensive swimsuit behind once in a bathroom so am very strict about exit walk throughs. I also insist on locking our suitcases when we leave the room and utilize hotel safes when available. Otherwise all my techie and camera things travel with me. Thus the need for one of those bags with all the little stuff in it. The only thing coming out is dresses I don’t want to wrinkle and heavy coats we may have brought to use in case of weather variances, yeah, most of our destinations have fickle temps. Love the swirling shot of Mddie. You guys haven’t had much snow have you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I should have checked with the Official Cheryl, but this post started flowing fast, as soon as I saw the prompt. The last time I unpacked, I left a ton of team tee shirts in a drawer in the hotel. Fortunately, my brother did his walk through before he left (later than I did) and he mailed those items to me.

      When I travel alone, I usually don’t bother with room service, unless I’m there for more than three days. I can’t lock up all my tech stuff. I’ve never had a problem, but you can’t be too sure.

      I do hang up heavy coats and rain gear, especially when it’s wet. Maybe I need a “Cheryl Approves this Post” badge ;-)


      • Nahhh…I didn’t mean that. Ha. Just that I am right there with you on everything you said and the last part too. We don’t do room service until the last day. These days they seem to like that also. I have seen people I know who live in a hotel room where it looks like an explosion went off. I doubt they would know if anything were missing if it did disappear. 🤔


        • Thanks. I don’t like to misrepresent you (and it would have been fun for both of us to pick on David). My room looked like that when I traveled for business that involved breakfast to dinner non-stop meetings. Stuff got away from me.


  5. I roll everything but slacks and jeans. I lay those in the suitcase halfway then fit the rolled stuff on top of that then fold over the other half of the pants, blazers go on top of that, and I stuff in my toiletry bags. Unpacking once at my destination…depends on how long I’m staying. If just 2 nights I only unpack the toiletries and live out of the suitcase, but if it’s longer than that I unpack it all filling up drawers, hanging stuff, and taking up all the space in the bathroom with my stuff. So, I’m a mixed bag. 😀

    I love the icicles on Snoopy’s house. That swirled background image is cool! Can you do it on purpose? It’s a technique with a zoom lens, but I haven’t mastered that one. It’s called Intentional Camera Movement. The swirl reminds me of the old Petzval lenses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Deborah. Most of my travel was in the 1-3 nights range. Even on longer trips, we tend to move around from hotel to hotel. I think the worst travel feeling is when you realize that you left something in the (previous) hotel. My most recent worst case was when I dropped my credit card in the Room Key Return bin by mistake. 45 miles later, the hotel clerk called me. I had to drive back for that one.

      The swirling was a total accident. I’m not even sure I was trying to take a picture, or just clicked my phone by mistake. I do like it though.

      I’m off to read about Petzval lenses. I remember reading about them before, but the details escape me – very early lenses, I seem to remember.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I left my favorite bathing suit in a hotel drawer. It still bugs me that I did that.

        Did you find Petzval lenses interesting? I had a modern day replica in my cart for a long time, but I’m not a people/portrait photographer and my LensBaby can get close to the look so I passed on adding one to my kit.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. First off, I love the raindrop photos!! NICE! And I remember you did a post a while ago about traveling with Faith and the luggage, right? I’m with you on leaving items in the suitcase and rolling them to pack them too. That’s very Kon Mari and it’s surprising how much you can pack with that technique. It looks like Maddie has a new coat too?! Happy Saturday, Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Shelley. Faith and I have numerous luggage stories, so I’m sure the subject has come up before. The blue coat is Maddie’s original coat. It’s the only one that fits over her harness, so I can walk her when it’s colder. It was still below 30°f when we walked that day.

      The raindrops were frozen, so it was a little easier getting close-ups 😏

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome. I thought I remembered reading luggage thoughts before. Maddie is so lucky she has fashion choices for her walks :-)!
        You did great capturing the drops. I love it when you can see images of the trees in them. Impressive collection!


        • I may have written some of these thoughts down before, Shelley. I searched to see if I had written something close, but I didn’t find it. Then again, I may have written it in a comment or a reply. One of these days, I’ll just put this whole thing on “Random Repeat” and walk away for a few months ;)

          By the way, this was the only valid comment in the 1,800+ in my spam bucket.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I think the post I’m remembering is one of your last trips you took for work where you were talking about shoes in the closet at the hotel? I remember the photos of your lonely shoes in the closet? Or maybe I’m remembering something/someone else?!
            Thank you for rescuing my comment from spam. Since you eventually do find my comments I continue to come back to your blog to comment. I’ve given up hope doing so on other blogs. I have no idea what I do wrong or why my comments end up in spam. It’s incredibly frustrating and I think people don’t like me because it appears I never reply or comment back. I do, the comments just automatically go to spam. I’ve resorted to emailing some bloggers to let them know. If you have any clues as to what I can do differently, let me know!

            Liked by 1 person

            • I have studied my spam bucket, looking for clues. 95% of the spam comments (over 1,800) were on one post. I can’t even see the attraction. Your comment ending up in spam is crazy, because it’s a reply to a legitimate comment thread.

              If I ever figure it out, I’ll let you know. And, if I ever see an old comment I missed, I’ll reply (even years later – I’ve done that to people).

              The “sad shoe shelf” was a recent post that touched on packing. I actually had to unpack on that trip. the suite was so big I’d be walking forever if I didn’t use the closet.

              Liked by 1 person

            • That’s interesting, thanks for sharing your research thoughts. I never look to see what ends up in spam, only the ones that are flagged as potential good comments to review. Yikes – I hope I haven’t missed good comments.
              Yes, do let me know. That’s so kind of you to make sure to reply.
              Yes, that’s the post!!!

              Liked by 1 person

  7. Love the drop shots today, Dan. I’m quite a lot like you in packing/unpacking. I put socks and underwear in shoes, which then go in plastic bags so they don’t get anything dirty. I roll almost everything and on international trips where I’ve brought some bulkier items, I often roll them, then either rubber band them or tie with string so they don’t unroll a bit and take up more space. Shoes are the worst. I have to say that men can generally get away with less because their dress clothes can be a polo shirt and khakis, which can also be their more-or-less casual clothes as well. A pair of Topsiders can take either sex a long way as well.

    Back to Six Nations Rugby. Happy Saturday!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Men clearly have it easier, Janet, but you sound like you have it down to a science. I do put the shoes in plastic bags, and I sometimes band the rolled items. The only time I packed more than one pair of shoes was when the “leisure activity” I was assigned to at a business meeting was hiking. Guests could choose from several activities but at least one employee had to go on each.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. When I was a road warrior I could do a full week out of carry on. I had this great bag that was compact yet had a million dividers inside. The key was to have everything compliment everything else. White shirts go with everything. (The laundry folded them so nicely five would fit) One suit in the bag one on the back. Rolling underwear was also a secret. I could also do two weeks but had to have a laundry service. I was lucky in that most meetings were populated by different people each day. In the case of a two-day or three-day meeting with the same folks. I still had enough ties to throw everyone off. A five-day meeting required five ties. I enjoyed the frozen rain photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I never unpacked except to hang what may have become wrinkled. Mostly I went for knit fabric that was less likely to wrinkle anyway. If I had known the rolling secret then sweet. No need to unpack at all except maybe to place my toiletry bag by the sink.

    The gathering all day picture with the drops is spectacular.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love that ‘spinning’ photo, Dan! Not sure how you did it, but it’s a good one. Packing….I am such a minimalist. Not my husband. Unpack in a hotel room? Never. You never know what’s been in those drawers! That said, before we check out, my husband does a double-check to make sure we didn’t leave anything. but, honey, we never took anything out of the suitcase. Just curious, do you take the hotel laundry bag home with you? I bring an old pillow case for our dirty clothes. God forbid, the dirty stuff touch the clothes I didn’t wear. This post opened a Pandora’s Box for discussion, Dan! :) Good one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1) The spinning photo was a total accident. I think I just pushed the button on my phone.

      2) I have on occasion used the drawers, but I normally live out of the suitcase. The last time I used the drawers, I left a pile of team tee shirts in one. Fortunately, my brother, who never uses the drawers but checks (like your hubs) did check, found them and mailed them to me.

      3) I do use the laundry bag, although I also bring my own sometimes. I don’t much care about what touches what. My wife generally washes everything in the bag when I return because it all smells like Fabreze.

      I wasn’t expecting so much discussion about packing, but it’s been fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh lawd, living out of the suitcase kills me. We’ll go away for the week and both kids will live out of their suitcases and Clothes piled everywhere, it’s enough to make me want to throw the whole mess out the window. I refrain because I’d rather not get sent home early. 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am currently on the road – in Dublin this time. My suitcase is on the floor, with some stuff in it and some stuff in the closet. In other words, I have no system. After 20+ years of extensive travel, you’d think I’d have a system, but I don’t.

    There is one thing for certain – I don’t pack light. Why bring one pair of shoes when I might want three? … and I usually have everything from snacks to bandaids.

    I hear you about forgetting underwear. It’s incredible that inevitably there is always something I wish I had brought with me. This time I forgot toothpaste. The first thing I had to do when I arrived here was to buy a tube. How I managed to bring TWO toothbrushes and NO toothpaste is a mystery 😏

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve made most of my mistakes on vacation trips. My business trips were the same set of 10-12 a year. I knew what I needed and what I might need. I knew the meeting rooms where I’d need a small extension cord. I knew what kind of coffee maker the hotel had.

      The toiletries bag stayed packed. I just tossed it in my suitcase. Then again, we’re talking basic needs, easy enough to maintain a duplicate supply.

      Whatever works for you, works. Keep the stress to a minimum, however you can.

      Thanks for joining this discussion, Joanne.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Ha! Well, the “mess” part applies to me, definitely a mess. That’s a cool, but dizzy-making effect, Dan. Great pics. The last “Ice” one makes me think of a weird insect micro photo. :) Sorry I’m late, but last week I did pick up some Fat Tire red ale, so I was toasting you and the gang at the bar from afar. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The dizzy effect was totally unplanned. Red Ale seems like an appropriate drink for you – thanks for joining us in a toast, Teagan. I’m always trying to get pictures of water drops. These were frozen, so it was a little easier. With the branches covered in ice, there was a lot less motion. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’re on your way to a great week.


      • Ha! I didn’t think about the red. The brew-pub back in DC, the bartenders would look at me funny when I ordered their Amber Waves ale… but the logo drawing for it was kind of suggestive.
        Happy weekend to you and the Editor too. I just read a blog where the writer used a Clydesdale Superbowl video ad… So I’m crying about the stupid Clydesdale. Eye roll. (I don’t do “heartwarming” or poignant.) Maybe I’ll reboot the day with a second cup of coffee. ;)

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I roll my stuff up, too! I roll up individual outfits, including Unmentionables and jewelry. If I wake up before my business partners/roommates, I can reach in, grab a roll in the dark, and go into the bathroom and dress, no muss and no fuss.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I used to roll everything when the ex and I traveled on the motorcycle. It was the only way. Where I go and how long I stay determines how I pack my clothes now. I might roll if I’m taking one suitcase and decide to take along the entire closet. ;-)

    I do half and half at the hotel. Some clothes are on hangers, the rest stays in the suitcase. I never put anything in the drawers because I’m afraid I’ll forget something when I leave.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motorcycle packing is an art form all to itself. Did you have saddlebags, or just a rack on the back? The only long distance trip I took on my bike was one were a buddy and I were riding, but also camping.

      The only time I used the drawers, I left stuff there.


  16. Well, Dan, next time I travel I will remember this post for absolute sure. Roll everything up. Huh. Imagine that. I thought by laying everything flat there would be less wrinkles. I could be proving myself wrong. Loved the pictures of your fur family. And as for that ice …. makes for some awesome pictures but as well some pretty nasty potential falls. Like you I’ll take snow over ice any day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your mileage may vary, Amy, but this method works very well for me. This was the first time I notices that the grass was actually slippery. It was a little scary being out there with our dog, and I was worried that she might pull me off my feet.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. You pack like the military, like my husband. I gave up packing to him long ago. He showed me how to roll all that stuff, and I smiled and let him do it. It really does work. Super post, Dan! The bar banter was excellent.

    Speaking of pocket knives, hubby was cleaning out a drawer and found an old pocket knife that our son gave him. He had seen it in a store, engraved “Dad”. He was thrilled to give it to his dad for his birthday. So, hubby had it cleaned and repaired, and passed it along to our son’s son to give to his dad. Really cool! And the ages of son and grandson doing this are the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I am definitely on the “never check luggage” bandwagon. I went to Europe hiking for 2 weeks with only a carryon and a small backpack. It had to weigh less than 10kg total. Mine was 9.9! :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s an occasion when I might have gone with carryon only. I did that for a 24-hour Chicago adventure. I didn’t need much and I didn’t want to waste any time waiting for my bag. But, if I’m going for a few days, I check my bag so I don’t have the stress of dragging a suitcase through the airport and finding space in the bin.


  19. Pretty pretty trees. I snapped some of those myself. Also, I forgot to mention your bridge photo earlier — I can’t get enough of that bridge either. It’s really lovely and has become familiar to me.

    I am an upacker (as is The Mister). I cannot imagine digging around for crap when I’m trying to get ready and leave. I would go insane. I even use all the pockets and whatnot in my purse, heaven forbid anyone not put the whatever back in the right pocket. If you’ve never witnessed the sheer frustration of a woman who’s trying to find something lost in her handbag, lemme tell ya, it borders on violence. I would not seek to add more of that to my life. And I’m not generous with my pen. When I am, I’m also unable to focus on anything until I get it back. Sorry not sorry. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha – a woman who knows what she wants. I have witnessed the handbag ordeal – I wouldn’t do anything to encourage that. I’m not often forced to dig around while trying to leave, but neat and organized has its benefits.

      I guess I’ve shared that bridge photo more than a few times. I’m glad you like it.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Well, Dan, I must say that I definitely do not unpack like a girl. Since I travel by car, I pack excessively and am most happy to leave the stuff in my huuuuge comfy body back, I only remove the toiletries, shoes and a certain item that needs flattening out. I’ve never tried the rolling up business. Sounds useful.

    Liked by 1 person

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