This past month, while away on a month-long trip through Italy and Slovenia, a dear friend messaged me.
“How is it that you have so many clothes with you? Following your social media pics, it seems you always have the right thing to wear,” Gillian wrote. “A friend and I have a question – do you travel with a suitcase or only a carry on? The bet is on!”
I practically laughed out loud when I read it. Oh how I wish I could stroll onto a plane with just a sleek carry-on and a handbag… if only! But no, this traveller goes prepared; a selection of shoes, a good clutch of scarves, some basics of course, but also outfits I might only wear once as was the case for the writer’s retreat, the main pretext for this trip. Naturally it was all too much and I regretted over-packing, yet again.
Was it because I knew that in the back of my mind my porter, aka my travel companion of thirty years, was joining me? He does often joke that the sole reason he meets me, wherever I might roam, is to help carry my bags home. And it seems, this trip was no different.
After the writer’s retreat, we agreed to rendezvous in Florence before making our way north and onwards to Slovenia. Checking into a rather stately hotel, was it not confirmed that my beloved Bruce is surely my very own personal porter?
Let me back up. After fleeing an Air B n B (a veritable ‘subterranean cavern’) that he had inadvertently booked for our reunion (accommodation is usually my department), we arrived at that lovely hotel on one of Florence’s prettiest streets.
But no, we didn’t glide into the lobby as if we belonged there. It was more a barrage of luggage, backpacks and two overheated travellers. We had rattled our way from one end of town to the other, the clatter of my luggage causing an obnoxious racket on ancient cobblestone streets. Did I imagine looks of disdain as the locals enjoyed their la passeggiata, their evening stroll?
But allora, then, we present ourselves at the hotel.
“Checking in for Wilson,” I say to the perfectly coiffed, attractive lady behind the sleek check-in desk, all the while attempting graceful dabs at my ‘glowing’ forehead. The silk scarf looped around my neck has come in handy indeed!
Bruce is standing off to the side, laden with two backpacks, my overstuffed suitcase and my shiny new leather grip-bag that I seemingly could not leave Pisa without. I glance over and smile at my travel companion, the one I’ve logged a ‘million’ miles, but the not so-romantic-image of the porters at Indian train stations suddenly pop into my mind – all he’s missing is yet another bag perched precariously on his handsome head.
“Yes, checking in… with my porter,” comes out of my mouth. It seems I’ve attempted a joke.
“But madam,” the lady replies matter of factly, “you’ve only booked for two.”
She surveys Bruce with a wry glance. Yes, she’s truly under the impression that indeed he is my porter and that apparently, my true romeo will appear at any moment. Perhaps he’s out front, parking the Maserati or the Lamborghini.
“Oh no, no, no,” I clarify. “He isn’t my porter, this is Mr. Wilson,” and hand over our passports as proof.
“Ah, va bene. Good then. Do you need help carrying the bags to your room Mr. Wilson?”
“Oh no,” my intrepid companion says with a grin, “I’ve got this!”
One last thing about that beautiful new leather bag. Surely it is part of a fervent plan. On my next trip, I will glide onto a plane with it and it alone… oh one can but dream!
8 thoughts on “Monday Morning Musings #20 – For the love of luggage, and a certain ‘porter’”
Yes, I can attest that Ms Wilson does not travel light! However, Terry Anne, you do make it look easy and you also have a tremendous eye for a bargain.
Yes, you would know Ms. Parfitt, we have met in a few countries now! Hope your new bags are doing well, they are fab!
I think if you have the luggage allowance and the means to carry it then why not take with you what your hear desires. I have never travelled light in since starting my cabin crew travels in ’95 and like you I add to the weight of the bag with every stop I make. That is the delight in travelling, the joys and novelties of shopping in leisure and the bubble of excitement that comes with not knowing what you might find along the way!
You’re speaking my kind of language Nikki! I agree that one of the delights of travelling is the joy of browsing and maybe finding that ‘treasure’. However other than clothes, Italian leather and stationery for me, I do find you have to look harder these days, just so many ‘tacky’ souvenirs. It does make it all that more special when you do find something worthwhile!
Looks as if I won the bet then! You must have checked in a case to look so good all the time! I tend to take the little roll on case these days, but never look as good as you Terry. I told my friend, who I had the bet with, just take three of everything and it should work…I will find out tomorrow if she agreed and if she is still speaking to me after her trip…..Xxxx
Thanks for the inspiration Gillian! I knew I wanted to write about my new bag in some way, and then when the scene truly did happen with ‘my porter’, I couldn’t resist. Good for you for using a carry-on, I am definitely going to give it a try on my next trip… famous last words! xx
Great question Gillian. I commented before about Terry’s sense of fashion always looking so fabulous. Now i know how you manage to travel with hats, Terry. It is also nice to have a “porter” that still models chivalry. As for me, I learned my lesson in Narita, 2002- I made my kids travel with 12 bags. 6 check in bags, 3 carry ons, 3 personal items- packed with stuff to use in indonesia including american rice and white sugar. Now I travel with a carry only, multipurpose items like scarves used as PJ’s, sarongs, blouses, beach towel, I love reversible blouses from black and white. I am a ridiculous extreme Ultra light packer. i put everything is ziplock bags, including face cream, hand creams, conditioners,. Every gram counts I even take the dental floss out the case or take just what I will use! I make it a game. I need a porter with a Ferrari!
Thanks Nubia! I admit I would have fit in perfectly in the days when people did the Grand Tour to Europe and beyond for months, barrages of luggage in tow. I have actually contemplated one of those old leather hat boxes… they do fit perfectly in this new bag. Before that, I was carrying them in my hand. Your scene of all the luggage with kids brought back so many memories. How did we do that, to them and us, hah! With our three kids, we had 10 check-ins, 30 pounds each I think it was, each a carry-on. I remember one trip to Thailand when we lived in Doha, I made each kid walk on the plane with a wicker basket – almost as big as they were and they still talk about how embarrassed they were! Unlike me, you’ve learned your lesson and your commitment to only carry-on and minimalism is impressive. Really great ideas… I shall let you know!! And yes, the porter with a Ferrari sounds good 🙂