PACKED LIVES

Carol Wright, travel writer, globetrots from Antarctica to Zambia. She concludes the series with her own packed life

I'm impressed by the carry-on-luggage-only disciplines of many of my 'Packed Life' interviewees. My own case law is - you can always get in another outfit. A long outfit included on my 'just in case' principle earned me an invitation to a black tie-only first night at La Scala escorted by a Russian prince.

I make lists and hang clothes appropriate for jungle, desert, capital city, or snow scene on a rail by my huge wooden packing chest made specially to fit a landing space and to take all my assorted cases. Basics I always take include a mini torch, swimsuit, zipped pack-flat extra suitcase, black padded rain jacket, toiletry bag complete with Swiss army knife, wax earplugs in an eighteenth century patch box - vital to block out the dawn chorus on safari and anything that goes bonk in the hotel night - and a champagne bung. Hotels sometimes kindly present a bottle of fizz and even I can't usually finish it in one go.

Travel writing, they say, provides a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget and my fairly classic high-street store clothes jazzed up with striking ethnic jewellery have to grace the Ritz or the commodore's table. Some clothes do double duty - I once wore a shortie lace nightie to the QE2 captain's cocktail party. Hating shopping, and with no time to buy en route, I try to be self sufficient and take everything I think I could need.

I always use soft-sided wheeled cases. Zipped sides can let in moisture. En route to Ethiopia, corrosive chemicals in the plane hold ate holes in the erogenous zones of my clothes - and Addis Ababa is not the spot for a quick fashion fix.

While I usually wear soft cardigan jacket, tunic shirt, and comfortable trousers for long flights, going to Antarctica in December, I wore a thick jacket, fisherman's sweater, shirt, cord trousers, gloves, scarf and apres- ski boots. Passing through Santiago in eighty degree temperatures, I stood out among the coolly clad locals.

Hand luggage contains cameras, film, spare batteries, several notebooks and writing blocks, favourite paperbacks kept for long trips, and emergency toiletries. I never take technology.

I find the carousel roulette of waiting for checked luggage to reappear, a reorientating limbo between the plane's artificial cocoon and the blast of reality outside the terminal doors. Occasionally luggage goes astray. In South Africa, staying at the Mount Nelson hotel, I was refused service at all the restaurants since I only had a travel stained t-shirt and jeans. So, wrapped in the hotel bathrobe, I lived off room service till my case turned up.

THIS IS THE LAST PACKED LIFE

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Content Assistant / Copywriter

    £15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reception Manager

    £18750 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Hotel in Chadderton is a popular ch...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence