Under-Pack and Over-Discover


Lugging my rolling suitcase off the train at Penn, up and down stairwells, through elevators and escalators, out of and back into the Park Place subway station to pick up apartment keys on my way to Prospect Heights, I finally realize a fundamental truth in a way that I always suspected but just hadn’t quite given myself the proper space and time to analyze:

I have never under-packed in my life.


I have never — not even once — in traveling, worn all the clothes I packed, or used everything that I thought I needed, or shot with every lens, nor found myself in a situation without something essential that ruined a trip1, or photo shoot, or gig, or life experience.

In fact — not packing a camera to Mexico was the single best creative limitation I placed on myself and led to discovering how to make parallax timelapse drone-like footage that I never would have even attempted without constraining myself to fewer options.

The reality is that for this east coast trip I probably didn’t need to bring anything other than my 50mm lens (so that would easily cut out ten lbs of glass). And I packed two laptops because the battery is weak on the main laptop, and I wanted the flexibility to write for a while anywhere. And yet, I basically have just been writing plugged into power. So there’s another four pounds).

And the ridiculous point of all of this is that I packed into the two smallest bag options I had, but packed so efficiently and densely I think I failed at achieving the lesson.

So I think before my next trip I’m going to find some of those air pockets that Amazon sends in every box. A very large number of them. Like a dozen. And pack them.

Smaller spoon, longer dessert.

And also, I should make space for the things I don’t yet know I will need.

  1. I did once forget the power adapter to my sleep machine. It was not the end of the world.

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