I like stuff! I have to admit it, I really do. I like to collect stuff, keep stuff and especially lug stuff around. Lately it’s been from one end of the Americas to the other. I’m not as bad as hoarders who stash piles and piles of things and then are featured on reality TV shows. My belongings are fairly reduced since I took to the missionary lifestyle. Everything that doesn’t go with me fits in a small corner of my friend (and like family) Starr’s attic. That’s great but I have a confession:
I like to over pack!
It’s true and having overweight baggage is the standard instead of the exception. How does one pack two and a half suitcases and a computer bag for life in another country? With as much as she can!!! So, my carry-on exceeds the weight limit because it carries the books I want to read this year and can’t get in Cusco. My other carry on, the computer bag carries not only my computer but books and various papers (it must have surprised the guy at customs today ‘cause he asked if I was a teacher). My two large checked bags carry clothing, art supplies, yarn, gifts and things that I can’t get or are expensive where I live. Every time I travel, I drag around my stuffed carry ons and create callouses on my hands wishing I could have packed lighter.
Even with the best of intentions to only take what I need, I still over pack. My creative mind thinks: this will be useful or I NEED this! How can I not pack the yarn that I bought in Cusco to do a project that I didn’t finish while I was in the states? Why shouldn’t I take that pair of pants that Mandy gave me (after all corduroys are the best for Cusco weather!)? What do you mean it’s not necessary to take a big and small bookbag with me? Didn’t I buy it in Cusco before because I needed it?
Yet with all this excessive baggage people still have mercy on me. They are like the lady at the counter today for my flight to Cusco. Carry ons are only supposed to be 8 kg (17pds) and mine was 19!!! (can you figure out why?) But instead of checking it in for me and charging me for extra baggage she told me just to have them check it in at the gate and avoid charges. Sure, there’s times where I had to pull out stuff and leave them behind. Or times when I had to pay fees. But a lot of times people have had mercy on me or let me slip through!
I pray that with every overweight baggage experience that I’m learning something about living more simply. It’s really all just stuff. The most important things to God are people. Me, the person carrying all that stuff and the people that I will come in contact with here in the beautiful city of Cusco.