This weekend I am making preparations for a two week summer vacation in Greece – departure is scheduled for Wednesday, and I am judiciously considering what clothes to bring. When I first thought about packing for the trip, I looked through 1970s photographs of Jackie Onassis in Greece. The photos inspire with a wavy haired Jackie, dressed stylishly for dinner in the city or equally voguish, clad in flip-flops and a poet shirt over bikini bottoms on Skorpios. Though I will not be going to the Ionian islands but to Athens and Folegandros, a small island in the Aegean Sea, my ambition is to have the same fashionable ease and comfort as Jackie.
Glamorous images of the jet set aside, from what I can tell, there are two kinds of travelers: the doers and the planners. Those belonging to the first group pack a suitcase without giving the job much thought, simply pulling things from their wardrobe they would like to have along on the trip. This takes steady nerves and a general disregard for end results, as you may arrive at your destination only to realize you haven’t brought the appropriate clothes. The second group is the one to which I belong: a planner, I compile a list of the outfits I will need for each day’s activities. My tally includes accessories such as jewelry, bags, and scarves and takes into account the necessity for suitable shoes. This is perhaps the greatest burden of a planner: leaving behind your favorite high-heeled shoes. For if you fall into the second category, you are no doubt also a realist, and know from experience that you will never wear all the beautiful shoes you love while traveling.
And so, it comes down to the essentials for a Greek holiday involving some days in the city and some days at the beach. My list entails a swimsuit, floral pull-on pants for a cover-up, flip flops, a sunhat, an elegant pair of strappy wedge sandals for dinner, two pairs of lightweight sneakers for touring around, plenty of semi-sheer cotton shirts, four pairs of dressy pants, and a cotton summer jacket for evenings. Accessories are limited to three necklaces, one bracelet, two handbags – one for daytime, one for dinner. It’s important to note that all the shirts pair easily with the pants and can be seamlessly mixed and matched to create several distinct outfits. (Planners avoid checking luggage, preferring to travel light).
Though organized in my packing, I am open to the unexpected which travel brings us into contact with, immersing myself and seeing with fresh eyes all that is unfamiliar. As Emily Dickinson, I too, dwell in possibility and spreading wide my narrow Hands/To gather Paradise-