The List Maker vs. The Dare Devil

In my last blog post I promised to share with you what goes on in the mind of someone who is getting ready for a long trip. Well, seven days later… You guessed it – I was packing and didn’t get a chance to write! And now I am thinking: “Of course, there will be tension, going back and forth about what to bring and unexpected expenses before the actual trip even starts!” So instead let’s answer a question: what type of packer are you? So far I’ve determined at least three types, two of them with very distinctive behaviors and a third one a combination of the two.

The List Maker

I am talking about paper lists here. I know, it’s old fashioned. But there is something tangible (literally) about the physical action of holding a pen or pencil and writing words on paper. It is a real object that does not exist in a “cloud”, where most of our things are stored nowadays.

The List Maker will make a list of things to bring, a list of things to do before he/she leaves, and a list of all the lists that he/she has made thus far.

Then, quite likely, in all the frenzy of preparations, he/she will misplace at least one of those lists and, just like a house of cards, the plan begins to crumble.

The Dare Devil

I know one. And you might even know at least one.

You know the one that waits until either the day of departure (depending on the time) or until the evening before? This person loves to take risks that are impossible for the List Maker to fathom. The Dare Devil quickly packs the suitcase with the items that at that moment they believe they are going to need on their journey and boom! They’re done.

Now this, in my opinion, requires skill and infinite self-confidence. And a bit of chance-taking. But at the same time it captures the very essence of travel: you can be in control of only so many things and isn’t it for the adventure, the new and the unseen that we travel?

The Delegator

This type of person LOVES to make sure no one is left out of the process of getting ready for the trip. He/she will make a list or otherwise plan what items should be be packed and then delegate to the family to actually do it.

Oh the possibilities for fun with this one!

I’d like to share a story that will capture the essence of this type of packing relationship. Recently, my friends traveled to an event not many of us get a chance and/or personal reason to go to – the Olypmic trials in Omaha, Nebraska. Their son was a participant in one of the trials and the family wanted to cheer him on. Needless to say, the wife was the delegator and the husband the packer. On the day of their actual trip, I receive the following text with an appropriate emoji from my friend: “We just landed in Atlanta. He forgot the tickets to the main event!” I sense this is going to be a fun trip for them and they are not even there yet! I text her back to calm down and that everything will be fine while laughing inside. A couple of hours later I receive another text: “We’re in Omaha. Trying to figure out car rental. He forgot his driver’s license!” Well… You get the picture.

As you can see, getting ready for the trip is no easy feat. But while we all do it differently, in the end we somehow manage to get to our destinations with our toothbrushes and clothes on our back!

Even though how people pack is a highly personal preference that depends on many factors, I’ve also included a few tips. They are quite obvious but hopefully will make you feel that you are not alone in this!


The List Maker: Simplify. No need for separate lists, one will do. If you absolutely need to make multiple lists, put them on your phone. Yes, the proponent of tangible and real things in life is telling you to make a list on your phone.  Chances are, if you are anything like me (or countless other modern people for that matter), your phone is with you and on you at all hours of day and your list will be much safer there than on the dining room table, in the depths of a pocketbook or in the pocket of the jeans that you have just put in the washing machine…

The Dare Devil: Obviously, the Dare Devil thrives on working under pressure. The biggest advice would be to leave some “wiggle” room for checking if you really have the essentials such as passports and tickets. Because while you may be able to buy a shampoo or a shirt in almost any corner of the world, you are not getting there without the aforementioned two items!

The Delegator: While it’s nice to have equality in the relationship where each person pitches in, why not pack your own stuff? It certainly takes the edge off the already quite tense stage of traveling called the preparation stage and leaves room for actually enjoying the trip rather than chewing on the blame for the other person for forgetting, say, tickets to a cool event.

Now I am sure there are more different ways to pack than the three that I wrote about. What type of packer are you? I’d love to hear what you have to say!


About simply ieva

Welcome to my blog! I love working with English learners and this is a space where I share ESL teaching tips, resources and offer my insights for both new and seasoned ESL/ELL and mainstream teachers. I am glad you stopped by!
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