Monday, April 23, 2012


I find myself suddenly seized by the desire to take a long trip, the kind that requires a great big suitcase.  What few travels I have done recently—oh, over at least the past two decades, truth be told—have merited at best a small suitcase, the kind one takes through security and to the jetway in hopes that there will be enough overhead space to cram it onto the plane and thus avoid the wait at the baggage carousel.  I want to take a trip that unambiguously calls for an enormous suitcase.  Such a trip would include multiple cities, perhaps even variations in climate, and at least one train ride.  I would need running shoes to lace up for early morning explorations of strange towns and some strappy sandals for dinners in out-of-the-way restaurants, where I would try heretofore unknown dishes.   I would bring a bathing suit for lounging poolside or at the beach, but also a sweater for hikes into the woods. I want to carry a dog-eared tour book in my bag with temples, historic districts and local markets tagged by post-it notes, and also a book listing common phrases in a language I do not speak, although I know that ultimately I’d fall back on hand motions and the kindness of strangers to get me through stumbling conversations. I want my suitcase to have a lot of little pockets, into which I would stuff the unfamiliar coins of other currencies and maybe a shiny pebble or a seashell or two.  In the end, even this suitcase will prove insufficient and I will buy another bag to carry back treasures and gifts, causing a logistical challenge at the airport on the way home.  I want pack a very large suitcase and take a long trip.

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