I’ve always prided myself on being a light packer. Before I left for Mexico to celebrate dad’s 60th and catch some waves in Boca de Pascuales, I thought something along the lines of, “I’m going on a surf trip, I’ll be practically naked frolicking around in my bathing suit the whole time.”
For the most part, I was right, but often times with perfect waves comes less than perfect weather, and in less than perfect weather, I’m freezing my butt off in just my bathing suit. Needless to say, there are a few simple items I’ll never forget to pack again, and hopefully this post will prevent others from making the same mistakes.
What I Had
Of course I had my board bag with surfboard, fins, yada yada. And then I had four pairs of shorts, five shirts, a week’s worth of undies and three bathing suits. I started with two towels, but one was stolen — apparently the flag of South Carolina is a hot commodity in Mexico.
I also brought my means of making a living — my laptop — and a few other electronics like an iPhone, some headphones and a miniature speaker I was given for Christmas. But more important than what I brought on this trip, is all of the important crap I forgot.
What I Forgot
Jeans. Who the heck doesn’t pack a pair of jeans wherever they go? Apparently me. I didn’t even consider when I left sunny North Carolina for even more sunny Mexico that I’d be spending over 12 hours in Minneapolis, Minn. on my return flight. I’m not sure what I’ll do — maybe huddle up in the warmth of Cinnabon.
A hoodie. I wear a hoodie every day the temperature drops below 75, so how did I not wear one to the airport? The pockets in my flannel shirt seemed more convenient for airport hopping than the deep center pocket in my favorite hoodie, so I opted for the flannel shirt. Big mistake.
A storm rolled in, the temperature dropped, the waves picked up, and the minute I jumped out of the 80 degree Pacific in to the 65 degree air, I sure wished I had a hoodie. I wanted one so bad I went to the mercado to shop for one with a cool Mexican design or logo, but all I could find were overpriced and hideous sweatshirts that read, “New York City,” or even more painful, “Paris.”
A raincoat. Just about every travel blogger I follow has created a packing list for travel, and all of them include a light rain jacket in that list. Not me. Screw rain jackets. That is, until a rain storm blows in for four days straight and your would-be hoodie (flannel shirt) is dripping wet.
Comfy pants. I sleep in them, I work in them, I exercise in them, I lounge around in them, heck — I go to the bar in them. Why didn’t I pack them? I think this was just a brain fart (which wouldn’t be too unexpected), but I really do wish I had brainfarted on some other item — even a toothbrush. They’re another item I can’t seem to find without some cheesy English phrase written on them, and I’d rather wear my wet bathing suit to bed than walk around with, “Love,” “Paris,” or “Bad Girl,” written on my bum.
Everything else. When I packed my bag for this trip, I imagined a smiling laundry lady under my room that would gladly clean my clothes a couple times a week for a few pesos and return them folded and smelling like some kind of dreamy Mexican Gain detergent with a hint of coconut.
That didn’t happen. I haven’t had my four pairs of shorts or five t-shirts (or any of my other belongings for that matter) washed even once this month. I did wear one shirt and one pair of shorts down a chlorinated waterside, which I feel did a pretty darn good job, but they certainly don’t smell like Gain.
And now, the storm has passed. The waterslide is just a few steps away, and my bathing suits get washed by the ocean every morning. At this point (considering the temperature outside and my proximity to the waterside washing machine), I’d rank my packing job a 7 out of 10, but we’ll see what I say when the plane lands in Minneapolis.