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

PROMOTED VIDEO
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
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

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £30,000 Uncapped

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there