The Picky Packer

In the past two months, I have traveled to eleven different cities and been on two different continents. While this is no excuse for a pause in my blogging, it has been an inspiration for this post.

Thanks to all of my travel in the past two years, I have developed a system for packing just as I have a strategy for picky eating.

What to pack. How do I know what I want to wear a week from now? What if I’m in a different mood than the outfit I scheduled to wear? Or the sunny prediction of the weather suddenly falls cloudy and gloomy? When I started traveling, deciding what to bring was definitely the hardest part of packing. I was a notorious over-packer in every way possible. I packed dozens of t-shirts for the hotel gym I never used and usually brought an extra pair of pants (which means more shirts and shoes to match) among other unnecessary items. After a while, things had to change. I made sure to lay all the clothing I pulled from my closet on my bed so I could eliminate 25% of what I chose before anything went into my bag. The more cities I visited the better my decision-making skills have become. Now I know exactly what I want to wear and what I need to bring. Deciding what needs to fit into my bright red carry-on bag has become clockwork rather than an indecisive struggle.

How to pack. No rolling. Folding only. Shoes have the bottom layer. Pants are in the bottom half and shirts in the top. Undergarments belong in the pocket and toiletries on the side. Boom. My bag is packed. This is the arrangement I have always and will always use to pack my clothes because it works. The four main parts of an outfit (shirt, shoes, pants, undergarments) are never forgotten and there is enough space to get just the right amount of everything. When I pack, everything is set in it’s place.

What do packing and picky eating have in common? Lets take a look.

What to eat. Similar to deciding what to pack, deciding what to eat can either be an extremely difficult task or a no-brainer for picky eaters. Sometimes picky eaters have a tough time deciding what to eat like in a situation wherewe could have chicken pasta, chicken stir-fry or a chicken fajita. Our taste buds can’t figure out which of the different (but not so different) chicken dishes we want. Other times, it is difficult for picky eaters to decide what we want to eat because nothing is prepared in our favor. Dining out at restaurants, for example, is a seemingly innocent activity that is increasingly difficult for picky eaters to master. Complicated menu items, trendy ingredients and unique combinations make it hard for picky eaters to select something from the menu without making alterations. In this case, picky eaters know what we want to eat but we are forced to discard it because there are a few too many ingredients for our liking. Similar to packing carry-on luggage, picky eaters are faced with the struggle of knowing exactly what we want but having too much of it or not having enough options because we haven’t had time to do laundry in between trips.

How to eat.  Warm bread to start. Meat in the center. Starch in the right corner. Vegetables in the left. Milk on the side. Dinner is served. Believe it or not, picky eaters know how to eat. We understand the importance of a balanced diet no matter how badly we want to eat buttered noodles for every meal. Some picky eaters will follow the six food groups and others will completely disregard the existence of the food pyramid. No matter the extent of our pickiness picky eaters understand the role vitamins and nutrients play in our diets. Just like frequent travelers know when they forget their toothbrush on a long flight, picky eaters feel the effects of ignoring an important food groups in our diet.

– MW