Picking up where we left off last week with Molly Beauchemin – a fashion, food and culture critic always on the move. While she resides in Brooklyn, New York, her job requires frequent trips to report on culture – from local fare to up-and-coming bands at music festivals.
This is Part II of Molly’s JetSetter Series post where she shares with us how she preps for her frequent weekend adventures and her technique for packing a bag that allows her to experience new cities without feeling weighed down. As Molly puts it…
Packing is a game of aesthetic strategy, and over the years, I’ve gotten very good at it.
I’m particularly proud of one such situation a few years ago, when I was invited to a wedding at the King’s Garden in Copenhagen. My guest and I wanted to spend the morning up north at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, but we knew we wouldn’t have enough time to return to our house and change before the wedding. With a little ingenuity, we made it work. I invested in a wrinkle-resistant dress that slipped in my bag as we explored the coast of Nordsjælland. We caught a train back to the city just in time to change in the bathroom of a coffee house across the street from the castle grounds. I’ll never forget the look on the barista’s face after I walked into the bathroom looking like a disheveled backpacker and came out wearing three-inch heels and crimson-red lipstick (We arrived at the wedding dewy and breathless, but we made it.)
I didn’t know it at the time, but this moment was a small victory of packing. A savvy traveler can “do as the locals” without the giant suitcases that betray us as tourists.
I’ve learned with time that good luggage makes it easy to pack well. The train ride from New York City to Montreal is one of the top five train rides in the world, according to the people whose job it is to say so. It’s also one of my favorite places to write. You travel under bridges, around granite cliffs on the Hudson River, through gorgeous sailboat marinas, in and out of castle-filled islands, and past the sheltered farm towns of upstate New York (think apple orchards, horses, tractors and rusty barns).
With so much to do and see just on the train, having the right bag was key. Like any writer, I like being able to access my laptop from an external pocket. I write about everything from music and fashion to travel and the environment, so I need hard-cased, water-resistant luggage so any accidents won’t ruin clothes I might have to wear to an event or interview. Mostly though, I’m neurotic – I want to have my luggage close. This is important because I’m constantly rummaging. On the train to Montreal, I found myself grabbing for my camera in moments of inspiration, working from my computer on and off and reaching for my sunglasses so I could take in the view.
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Ultimately, it’s the ritual of packing that makes it a point of intrigue for me; there’s a sense of peace whenever I fold clothes for an adventure. Once I arrive in a new place I’m usually rushing around, but with the right mindset – and the right luggage – I can always make room for what’s important.