By: Blonde Two

I seem to have spent so much time away from home this year that I feel like I have become quite adept at the packing thing.  In fact, I now have a complete set of toiletries in a dry bag that I just grab whenever I am going anywhere (after shoving in my favourite mascara).

Toiletries are easy to manage – you are likely to need the same toothpaste, for example, wherever you are going.  Clothes are a bit more tricky and the whole process becomes very complicated when you start to throw electronic devices and long haul flights into the mix.  I am lucky enough to have been able to visit my family in New Zealand for the last four Augusts and although I am getting better at the packing each time, I never quite get it right.  Here are just a few of my many issues;

1.  Seasonal adjustment disorder – I am not talking here about annual autumnal melancholia.  This seasonal adjustment comes from the fact that, each year, having waited all UK winter for the sun to shine, I jet off to a second New Zealand winter as soon as it does.  It is remarkably difficult to pack thick jumpers when you have sweat dripping off your nose in just a baggy t-shirt and Jandals (sorry, flip flops).

2.  Walking boots – my first and best loved pair of walking boots are waiting for me in New Zealand.  They have almost no tread on them now and are not safe for very much walking but they do make a lovely pair of farm boots.  This means that I have to take my Meindls with me every year.  This is fine except that they take up a lot of space. Last year I sneaked them into Mr Blonde Two’s bike bag (yes, he flew his bike over but this year I am travelling alone and will have to make space for them).  The other issue is that the Kiwis are very fussy (understandably so) about any bugs that our nasty pommie mud might bring into the country.  I will scrub my boots with disinfectant so that they shine and even smell clean but I know that when I get to “Bio Control” (fab name), a nice lady will politely take them off me and clean them again.

3.  Electronic stuff – I don’t believe in taking electronic gadgets to Dartmoor except my phone which is essential and also a pretty good camera, but for some reason, every year, I seem to take one more piece of technology with me to New Zealand.  Last year it was a Kindle and this year, thanks to the blog factor, it is my shiny new laptop.  The technology in itself is fine, but I get very tangled (literally and in my head) with cables, converters and headphones.

The upshot of all this is that, as I refuse to travel out with more than one bag, I may well arrive in Auckland with just a bikini, a pair of boots and lots of cables.  Which, of course, will be the perfect excuse for some immediate shopping!