This is an interesting part of the preparation process before departing for a long adventure. There are thousands of theories and strategies out there for guidance to pack smart and efficently to get the most out of your wardrobe and essential items. I certainly am not the best at it, but I have been getting better over the years. This next contract on the Emerald Princess has our group starting out in the Baltic Sea, traveling the route the Titanic and the Vikings took across the Atlantic and over to North America. This contract will actually finish up for us in the dead of winter in the Carribbean Islands.
We will actually hit tropical temperatures in the middle of the winter. But prior to all that warmth and sunshine, we’ll absorb the tranquil colors of the changing of the leaves in the fall in the Northeastern part of North America. Temperatures in the fall out East range from the high 50’s (F) to the middle 30’s. That means sweaters, hats and possibly even gloves if the wind blows just right. We will cross the Atlantic Ocean and hit Iceland, Greenland, Ireland and Scotland. These are notoriously rainy and chilly climates. While we hang around the end of the summer in the Baltic Sea, we’ll visit St. Petersburg Russia where the forecast for next week is 40% chance of rain and be around 72 degrees. That should be pleasant as long as the rain holds off.
So, how do you pack for 5 months, summer and fall climates in three 50 lb suitcases plus one handbag sized carry on? Very carefully.
This gig requires several different stage costumes along with formal and business casual. I also have the opportunity in my free time away from the passengers to dress in shorts, jeans, tshirts and such. And then there’s jewelry, hair products, make up, shoes, jackets and outerwear. On top of the normal life requirements, we also need gear to use for our performances like guitars, microphones, in ear monitors and wireless systems. I also like to bring a few pieces of hand percussion to play. If you think about going on the road for a while and having an adventure such as ours, you need to keep in touch. You can’t forget things like your ipad, iphone, cameras, computers, hard drives and all the cables and chargers. There are also items like money, identification, passports, credit cards and local currencies to consider.
I pack two large suitcases with the majority of my stage and personal clothing that I can strap together and roll along. These big bags we check so they have to be under 50 lbs each. I also have a weekender bag on wheels that I use as a carry on. I pack a couple sets of business casual, casual and two stage dresses. That usually holds my hairbrush and small toiletries as well. Then I also have my backpack which I jam full of everything I really can’t live without like makeup, electronics, jewelry and some snacks. The backpack never leaves my side until we get to the ship.
Jake brings two large suitcases, a double slung guitar bag that holds two guitars and a small weekend wheelie bag. Sometimes he brings a third guitar that the neck comes off and we carry the neck in the backpack and the body in one of the checked suitcases. He generally packs a little less clothing than I do and can also include the band gear we need for our performances in his checked bags. We also like to have a coffee grinder and a lb of beans, hot water kettle, a small tea strainer and some loose leaf tea.