The 6:35 To Seattle
Big ideas get tested out in small increments. The same holds true for idiotic ones. It occurred to me one afternoon, after slinging Claude over my back and almost launching myself into the unsuspecting woman standing behind me, that it might be possible to travel for an extended period of time without a backpack. Just my eVest. The more I thought about it, the more ridiculous it became, so the more I liked it.
My current eVest comes with 14 pockets. I've already proven it can contain every vital item I need to travel, from money and credit cards to passport, eurail pass, phone, tablet, medications, chargers, toiletries and even snacks. With some rearranging, there's room for one additional item that would make eVest-only travel possible. I think.
Reflecting on it, I realized about the only reason I need Claude along on my trips is to carry my changes of clothes. Since most of my wardrobe currently consists of apparel purchased at second hand stores, it doesn't represent much of an investment. Plus replacing any of it means just another trip to Goodwill. Why not simply do that while on the road?
Cutting to the chase, if I can replace the clothes I'm wearing with a trip to a European flea market, and donating the previously worn ensemble to same, there'd be no need to pack any changes of clothes. Learning from past olfactory examination, I can assert a possible life cycle for the clothes on my back during travel:
● Jeans: 5-6 days
● Shirts: 3 days
● Socks: 2-3 days
● Other items: 2 days
(Add additional 24-48 hours for travel to northern climes (except for items signified by “other”).
Thus, by adding a couple pair of skivvies and a T-shirt to the eVest (the skivvies being designated as disposable) I could theoretically make say a two - three week trip with only my eVest and a couple of visits to a flea market during my travels.
What was left to do was to test out the theory on an actual trip. The three days I planned to Vancouver and back should do it.
What a pleasure to begin a trip without dragging a suitcase or slinging a backpack! Travel became more like a stroll, stowing your kit consisted of no more than plopping yourself in a business class seat, opening up an ebook and enjoying the ride. No baggage to claim or retrieve upon arrival. Slip on the eVest and you're ready to rock and roll. Only a snail or turtle would know the feeling of such unburdened freedom of movement.
The one or two items I forgot to “eVest” ( my new term for “packing") could easily be added to existing pocket space. Aside from that, I had everything I needed for my two-nighter in Vancouver, including a handful of queen olives and two leftover chicken strips for my dinner on train up. (The skivvies were not disposable, and I will only add I managed an entirely serviceable solution of same thanks to the generous depth of a zippered pocket helpfully located beneath the eVest’s armpit.)
So, on an extended trip to Europe,I will only have to find a flea market starting, say, on day four of a current leg of travel, and by day six, be ready with a fresh ensemble to begin a new adventure with literally only the clothes on my back.
I'm giving a whole new meaning to such common travel phrases as “packing for the trip,” “checked baggage" and “carry-on items.” I'm thinking “carry-with” or “dress and go.” Or as a potential future travel companion has termed it, “solo travel.”