In our family, Super Bowl is a non-traditional holiday that combines football, food, funny TV commercials, good-natured “smack talking” between team fans, and general family fun. Even the kids that didn’t like football liked the annual Super Bowl party. This year we hosted our last family Super Bowl event and were lucky to have at least some of the adult kids and their significant others join us, Nick, Adam and his fiance’ Liz, and Casey with his girlfriend Nicole. Sarah had another commitment and Danielle, Tyler, Dirk, and Dallas are all out-of-state. It was a great time with kids that could make it and those participating via text messages. We had former University of Nevada – Reno quarterback Colin Kaepernick starting for the 49ers so he and his team as our hometown favorite had all of us (a first for our family) cheering for the 49ers. The kids followed Kaepernick from his first start to his last with UNR with season tickets and/or UNR v. UNLV games.
Tracy and I had made up a buffet of meats, cheeses, veggies, soft drinks, and craft beers. Lots of visiting, laughs, cheering, and Kiara received lots of attention. Kiara, however, is not a fan of football or Super Bowl. We loved the pre-game performance with Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keyes and made fun of Beyonce’s fetish outfits at half time. Though a dramatic and close game right to the end, the Ravens won 34 – 31, a bittersweet ending to our last Super Bowl party, but we really enjoyed it all the same. Special thanks to Dallas for being our official Ref [as in reference for rules of play] there was a bit of discussion about a play involving a player falling with the ball, getting up and running it again that ended with a text message to Dallas for the official ruling.
The following Tuesday (which continued into Wednesday) we held our “pre-flight” check. A trial run of the luggage/items moving abroad with us. We have minimized from a three bedroom house into a one bedroom apartment and now into eight bags. We will be carrying one carry-one bag each, one personal item each (a camera bag for me and Kiara’s carrier for Tracy). Our checked baggage will be one suitcase and one duffel bag each. We are limited to 50 pounds per checked bag. The first checked bag is free, a second bag is an additional $100, a third checked bag and any subsequent bag is $285. A bag over 50 pounds has an additional $100 penalty with a maximum limit of 70 pounds per bag. We opted for a second bag each (at the $100 rate) and to limit our bags to 45 pounds or as close to it as possible. It was surprisingly difficult to equally distribute the weight to be at our prescribed limits. Most of which entailed packing the bag, securing its contents, weighing the bag, unpacking the bag, repacking the bag and weighing it again, and again, and again. What we thought would be a few hours turned into most of the day and part of the next. After several hours of lifting and checking the weight of the bags the decisions to discard some items became easier and easier and easier.
To make certain that our actual packing day runs smoothly, we created a database, cataloged and photographed not only each piece of luggage but each packing cube contained within the luggage so that we know exactly how each bag was packed and where each item was inside the bag. Approximately 50 percent of each of the bags are still packed and our database notes which items have been removed for use through the end of March. The idea was to know exactly what had to go back into each bag so that the next time around it is done easily and quickly.
Tracy and I previously made a decision to travel with only two checked bag. Our plan is to move and live in a different city every year or so. We want to be able to travel light, especially with our intention to use public transportation and not own a car. Our packing trial run forced us to make some final decisions to lighten our load. We each packed a week and a day of clothes; eight complete wardrobe selections, two pairs of shoes, jackets, scarfs, and hats. Since we decided to make use of furnished apartments we packed very few household, picnic, and home office items. We have Kiara’s flight carrier, playpen, bed, chest carrier, harness and leash, and her wardrobe and blankets (hairless micro-dogs get cold easily.) We packed a few essential hard copy books, but for the most part we have gone digital for reading and reference.
Our biggest indulgence is technology. MacBooks for each of us, a PC netbook for me and a iPad for Tracy, multiple external hard drives, a principle camera and a compact waterproof camera for both of us, GPS unit, a Doxi portable scanner, Kindles for each of us, and finally personal iPods. Photography is our principle recreation and method of sharing our travels, we need the computers to communicate with family back home and to keep learning languages, the GPS with a pedestrian option to help us find our way despite lack of language skills, and iPods and Kindles for recreation and language studies.
Our luggage is meant to nest and store inside one another for compact storage after arrival and for use on future road trips around Europe. Amazingly, over the last 18 months we have managed to reduce our personal possessions from filling a 3-bedroom house to two large and two small bags each with a total weight of 270 pounds.