17.6, 19.6, 20.4, 56X33X24

by Dave on September 19, 2009

We flew from Sydney to Hobart on JetStar last Tuesday, and thankfully, we made it on without any major hassles (other than provoking a fight between a cabbie and a shuttle bus driver at 5:00 am – a story for another day). I’ve been worried about this flight for over a month now, but it went well.

Why the worry? Our weights and dimensions in the title – we packed heavy. We each have a duffel bag that weighs in at about 20kg and a carry-on that weighs up to 10kg. They’d probably be heavier if it wasn’t for JetStar’s strictly enforced baggage limits. They’ve been a blessing in disguise, forcing us to be ruthless with what we’ve packed. 20 to 30 kg per person probably doesn’t seem ruthless to seasoned travelers, but we have some unique challenges.

The first is weather. Visiting Australia (particularly Tasmania) in early spring is like the old Crowded House song “Four Seasons in One Day”. Sunday in Sydney was 31 Celsius. Tuesday in St. Helen’s, Tasmania, it was a balmy 6 Celsius. If Annalise has her way and we sleep in the backpacking tent we bought, we’ll have to wear everything we’ve brought, including the long underwear, fuzzy hat and gloves. Maybe, by tomorrow, she’ll have forgotten about it.

The second is our activities. We try to run while we’re on the road and that means taking running clothes and shoes. We’re also hoping to do some hiking and that means stove, boots, tools and clothes.

The third is school. A message to those who publish school textbooks – please put your future editions on CD-ROM. Robin’s Grade 8 textbooks weigh 6kg on their own. Add the weight of his computer, scanner, and associated cables and we’re close to 12kg. That doesn’t include the printed course materials and the printer originally suggested by Robin’s school. Those were conveniently forgotten.

The fourth are the bagpipes. From the start, Robin made it clear that they were coming on the trip, and for good reason. They’re a hard instrument to master and he wants to make sure that he can play with his band when we return. As we planned the trip, it became clear that they might also be a good way to meet local people, either through pipe bands or through the experience of hearing him practice in public places (we discourage him from practicing inside for obvious reasons …) So we have another 8kg in bagpipes and supporting equipment.

And finally – bloody technology. When we went overseas in 1991, no one thought it odd when we’d be out of touch for two months. Our responsibilities and the expectations of others have changed. Email, online school, blogs and ties to home mean that we carry enough technology to start a small office.

It’s a very different trip from my first overseas excursion in 1986 with an single Coast Mountain internal frame backpack. We have backpacks, but they’re packed carefully inside the duffles to protect them from the wrath of the airline yard apes. Intentionally, we’ve limited their size 60 litres for the Camino de Santiago leg of the trip so they don’t make good heavy haulers. Oddly, we also have two carry-on sized rolling suitcases. One carries Robin’s pipes and the other, his “classroom” of books and technology. They are amazingly handy and allow us to keep the more valuable stuff close.

This assemblage is something that Bob, our hostel host in Sydney, jokingly described as “a traveling circus”. Typically, when we arrive at the airport, Robin runs off to find a cart, Annalise stands guard over the bags, and with help from the others, I heave things around. Despite the volume, we can move everything around pretty easily as long as we employ some forethought.

I just wish I had a fridge dolly …

Share and Enjoy
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit
  • del.icio.us

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

carla September 19, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Had I known, we could have lent you our fridge dolly…we do have one, I just didn’t know it was a fridge dolly… ours gets used for a lot more than fridges.. maybe next trip :)
Sounds like you are settling into the routine… have fun…

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: