My usual way of packing for a trip is to pull my suitcase out of its hiding place a few days before my departure. I start tossing things in when I think about it or come across something I want to be sure to bring.

For this last trip to Minnesota, I didn’t do that. Instead, the evening before my flight, I started. Quyn was over, looking for apartments on my computer. At one point, I had a pile of clothes on my bed. Quyn looked exasperated and pointed out that I had four striped shirts in the stack and too much red and burgundy. She asked what I was doing each day and suggested outfits. Then she checked the weather report in Minnesota and told me to put the jeans back and pick shorts and dresses instead.

I must admit, she did a good job. When I went to Seattle, I confessed to Tara that I had initially packed a bikini. Now I lived in the Seattle area for 12 years and for a good portion of that I didn’t even own a swimsuit because I never had reason to wear one. The summer is too mild for swimming. The ocean is too far away and no one owns a pool. Tara said she’d have put me on a plane to San Diego had I shown up with a bikini and shorts in my suitcase. Still, I spent my trip cold or rotating between two outfits because I packed for a New York July not a Seattle July, which meant one pair of pants and impractical shoes.

I did get plenty of comments in Minnesota about my “urban shoes,” but they weren’t ridiculous and I brought some flat Tom’s for the State Fair and Twins game. Usually when I travel, I go with the theory, “They have stores there. I can buy whatever I forgot.” Usually that means camis for underneath or pajamas because who thinks of sleepwear when planning outfits? This time shopping was not necessary. The only thing I forgot was a gift for my soon-to-be nephew, Dosa. But he won’t fit in it for a while anyway, so I can send it … once I remember where I stashed it.

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