September 18, 2008

the art of unpacking

Posted in home in hawaii tagged , , , at 9:58 am by Malia Yoshioka

coming home brings with it a terrifying new reality for the long-term traveler: the need to unpack. it seems simple – take all your clothes, toiletries, and miscellaneous crap out of your suitcase and put it away nicely. even a child could do it. right?

well… when you’ve been living out of a suitcase for over eight months, it’s not as easy as you’d think.

it’s not that i have a lot of stuff. in fact, i have little more with me now than what i started with in january. the thing is, i’ve got my packing down to a science. everything has a place. there’s a system for clean/dirty clothes. my toiletries are all together in a small bag, and can easily be separated into liquid/non-liquid when the pesky TSA requires it. i know all the clothing that i own, so it’s easy to pick out an outfit (if not a little dull, variety-wise) and because i have so little with me, my laundry is usually just a small load.

yet i come home and suddenly, i’ve got space. i’ve got a closet! i can actually put things on HANGERS. i’d almost forgotten what my clothes looked like without the wrinkles of being packed into a duffel bag. i can buy shampoo and conditioner in larger than 3 ounce packages. i can spread out my things, make myself a more permanent home…

still, i find myself hesitating to take advantage of my new-found surplus of space. something nags at me whenever i try to remove items from my well-worn suitcase. every item i place onto a hanger, every bottle that i put on the shelf in the bathroom, it’s all just one step closer to admitting that – for now – i’m done with traveling.

i know it won’t be forever. it’s a temporary phase that i have to go through – getting back into earning money to fund my wanderlust.

i eventually will get all of my clothes hung and ordered in my closet. i’ll eventually spread my things out in my “office” area, maybe even make use of a bookshelf or two. but there’s one thing i’m keeping in homage to the traveler inside my now stationary self – my toiletry bag is staying packed. it’s a small thing, but it keeps me ready to go on a moment’s notice… just add a few sets of clothes, and i’m ready to take off!

old habits die hard, i guess.



  1. Kim said,

    i need to take lessons from you…i live way beyond my means…there’s NO WAY i could travel like that. haha. btw…i still have your belongings, i’ll bring it when i come to visit. 🙂 glad to have you back home!

  2. Mom said,

    good one…..

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