One of the nicest things about planning trips in the camper van is working out what you need to take. It can be very liberating, especially when you are in the mood for making life simple. What do you need? Ok, what do you really need? Lay it all out and then throw half of it away. Then you'll be ready. Despite my best efforts our home is filled with so much clutter that forgetting it all for a few weeks is a joy. What do we need all this stuff for? Do we really need two coats and twenty pairs of shoes? Not really. Casting them aside can feel like the beginning of that simple kind of freedom I long for.
Do you long for it too?
What would you never travel without? What would be the one thing you'd always pack first? What would be at the top of your list, come what may? The kindle? iphone? Macbook? A decent evening heel? For me it's the humble Swiss Army knife. That's it above. I've had it for years and years and I adore it, even if I don't use it that often. If I misplace it, even for a moment, I feel uncomfortable. Yes, so the blade isn't as keen as my cooking knives, the pliers aren't as strong as those in my toolkit and the toothpick is little more than wishful thinking, but at least it's there if I need it.
If the screws in my sun glasses get loose I can tighten them up. If I get a thorn in my finger I can get it out. If my eyesight lets me down I can look at it more closely with the magnifying glass. If the can needs opening I can eat. If the bottle needs uncorking I'm your man. If the wood needs whittling I can whittle that too. I could even make you a walking stick if you got tired on a ramble. Heck, if a horse had a stone in its hoof I could probably deal with that too. If it were to happen, which it rarely does. But you just never know, do you?
My Swiss Army knife adds comfort to my journeys, like the kids' blankies or the favourite fountain pen or that tatty old notebook you rarely write in (and isn't nearly as useful). They are the familiar, the friends you can't leave home without. You take them because you know they will be there for you, should you ever need them.
So there it is, the start of my summer holiday plans for 2012 laid out for all to see. Tweezers and all. It's the best start that any plan could have.