Trip­ping the light fan­tas­tic

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - SU­SAN KUROSAWA

MYnews­pa­per­man fa­ther trav­elled the world with a bat­tered brown suit­case. I loved the fact it was called a Glo­bite. When I was in pri­mary school, I imag­ined him spin­ning around the globe chew­ing off chunks al­most as fast as I could flick the pages of my atlas. I could zip from Ocea­nia to Scan­di­navia and back again, reel­ing off cap­i­tal cities faster than any­one (par­tic­u­larly head­mistress Miss Buck) could have imag­ined.

Dad’s Glo­bite was plas­tered with oval la­bels that tracked his pas­sage. There were im­ages of the great ho­tels (Raf­fles in Sin­ga­pore; Baron in Aleppo) and one that just said Monte Carlo, which was all that was needed. He had cov­ered the wed­ding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier and within that sticker, with its par­al­lel palm trees, lay a world of in­fi­nite pos­si­bil­ity. I vowed I would get a la­bel of my own just like that one day.

Dad taught me to travel light, to re­duce life on the road to a cou­ple of changes of un­der­wear (‘‘Rinse your smalls each night! Hang them out the win­dow to dry!’’) and a few good shirts. ‘‘If you run out of clean shirts, but­ton up your pyjama jacket un­der your suit and no one will no­tice, par­tic­u­larly if you have a qual­ity neck­tie!’’ he told me, blithely over­look­ing my gen­der and the com­po­si­tion of a nine-year-old’s wardrobe.

But I have long be­lieved you can get away with a min­i­mal kit. Who re­mem­bers what you were wear­ing yes­ter­day? Travel is rarely about stand­ing still. Drip-dry clob­ber is the an­swer, and emer­gency pash­mi­nas for warmth and one good frock to be dressed up or down. My two sons used to turn their socks in­side out when back­pack­ing — they reck­oned the lat­est side up al­ways seemed ac­cept­ably fresh.

Lug­gage has be­come more com­pli­cated, with pock­ets and pouches, and back­packs the size of car­a­vans. And the ease of wheel-along cases means many trav­ellers pack heav­ier loads. Then there is the mat­ter of bud­get air­lines charg­ing ex­tra for checked lug­gage, which has meant the swelling of cabin bags and the over­load­ing of stor­age lock­ers. Many pas­sen­gers board flights with bags that are big­ger and heav­ier than my checked-in port. Locker rage en­sues. It is very un­tidy. No one is wear­ing their pyjama jacket but­toned up nicely and wor­ry­ing about their Wind­sor knots.

When I travel with friends or col­leagues, they are qui­etly amazed by my tiny suit­case. But it is neatly packed, all in tight lay­ers, socks and undies stuffed into shoes, the heav­i­est jacket ei­ther worn or car­ried over my arm. In all this, I am for­ever my fa­ther’s daugh­ter, and when I did get to Monte Carlo in 1996, I toasted him with a flute of fizz and brought him back a coaster, which he popped on his book­shelf next to a photo he’d taken of Grace Kelly on her big day. Bless you, Dad.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.