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About Cecilia

I am a Life & Clutter Coach and IST Practitioner. I LOVE helping writers, creatives and entrepreneurs just like YOU, make their homes and lives into supportive containers for their creative AND personal lives.  

Cecilia's sharp, crystalline insight has kept me on track in my creative life, my business life, and my emotional life for the past six years: she's a triple threat!

 - Sarah Selecky, author of Giller Prize nominated This Cake is for the Party

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Tuesday
Sep182012

Who Do You Think You're Packing For? 

Summer is (almost) over, but my shoulder still hurts from lugging around my way too big suitcase on the many trips I took in July and August. 

Doing what I do, I have cleared a lot of clutter in my home.  There is always more and there will always be more as I grow and change, but there is something seriously funny going on when I pack for a trip. 

I rarely run at home, but when I'm on vacation, I bring along my running shoes.  That book I've been meaning to read for five years, it can come along as well.  I bring high heels to a house in the woods.  Makeup to the cottage.  You get the idea...

I'm not the only one.  A writer friend of mine admitted to carrying around five empty notebooks in her suitcase while she traveled for a year.  Five!  

This points to an optimism that comes with leaving home. 

Just think about those five notebooks.  You're a writer and you want to write.  What if you get struck with inspiration on a remote beach and you only have two notebooks with you, and one is half full?  You're going to wish you had five notebooks, because when the Muse visits she won't wait for you to run to the convenience store and buy a black and white composition book.

The thing is, when you're carting around five empty notebooks, the Muse is a little overwhelmed by the amount of blank space she's expected to fill and decides to go swimming instead.

You imagine that as soon as your foot boards that plane, train or automobile you become a different person.  Your best self.  The self who writes stuff, reads stuff, wears stuff, makes stuff and does stuff that she doesn't do at home.  All the things you've been meaning to get around to, but you haven't, whether because of lack of time or desire.

So what's the truth? 

The truth is, you don't magically change when you go on vacation, at least not in the way that you think.  Something does shift when you leave home and the best thing you can do is to leave all of those shoulds, mights, ifs or maybes at home, so that you can discover who you are when you get a little distance between you and your stuff. You may be surprised at what shows up when you do.

Like that time I went for a unexpected mountain hike in my sandals.  I suddenly felt like running, and what do you know, I didn't need my running shoes to do it, I just took off my sandals and ran barefoot down the trail. 

Are you an hopeful overpacker, or are you a t-shirt rolling minimalist queen?  Let me know below and if you like what I have to say, go ahead and share it with a friend.

Have a lovely, lovely week.

Take care, 
Cecilia
ox

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Reader Comments (7)

you caught me! I'm on the road in a car, the worst for taking too much as you have all that trunk space. I have three soft style bags, one for each part of the trip...a cottage, a wedding, other places, yet I always want what's in the bag that isn't in the room with me, so I started to bring in more bags, and messed things together, needing all three bags. I now only allow myself one bag in the room, and cope with those shoes, those things. I come and go often in a year, but packing is always an issue. I like the idea of putting it down to optimism.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbarb

haha! You are so funny Cecilia. I know I am guilty of overpacking for a vacation. If I have to go for 5 days, I will pack clothes for 8 days. I don't know, maybe I was expecting a waldrobe malfunction????? I will try to be minimalist and remember you when I am packing for my next vacation. Thanks for all your articles. As always they are so insightful and always hit a chord.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarissa

Hi Cecilia
I am really enjoying your letters.
A friend shared an idea for packing that I found most useful, when I traveled this summer. I normally start off well when I pack, but then I start to panic and think what if I need this or that?
Once you have finished packing, take out the last 5 things you put in, you probably don't need them.

Take care
Anne

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

I totally do this, although it's been a theme of my summer to pack light and be very intentional and mindful about the activities and "extras" I bring along. What I noticed is that the hardest thing for me to *not* bring was medicine. My "basic" kit contains no less than 3 satchels full of first-aid, basic hygiene, and emergency medical supplies (not to mention tinctures, homeopathic remedies, creams, salves, etc. for all types of situations)!

The good news is, bringing my awareness to this has already made a huge difference. By the last trip of the summer (admittedly, only a weekend) I was pretty minimal, and found myself actually *craving* a proper backcountry canoe trip to practice packing light some more. Nothing like carrying everything on your back to remind you how much stuff you have!

Anyway, thanks for framing this in terms of "the me I want to be"- a good reminder that some of the things I would like to take on vacation may need more space in my everyday life, as well :)

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDerek

Barb! I was going to write about the giant suitcase which is the car and the bag lady it turns me into. I can bring EVERYTHING! It's totally overwhelming though. I hope you had a great time at the wedding. :)

ox
Cecilia

September 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterCecilia Moorcroft

Marissa, I totally hear you about packing for 8 days when only going away for five. I pack for 3 when I go away for 1, because "you never know"... ;)

Anne, I like the idea of the last five things. Very interesting, will definitely watch this the next time I pack!

ox
Cecilia

September 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterCecilia Moorcroft

Derek, it's so interesting the things we bring along to feel "safe". An extensive first aid kit is a great example of this.

I totally fear back country canoe trips for the reason that I can't fathom being able to carry what I need on my back and still feeling "comfortable". I guess back country camping is not really about feeling "comfortable"... ;)

ox
Cecilia

September 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterCecilia Moorcroft

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