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Packing List Sonoma

When possible and practical, I like to include the details of a packing list for my various adventures. Partly, this is to perhaps help others in their journeys. I have to admit, though, to a certain selfish agenda. You see, I struggle with the packing. I want to have all the right things at all the right times. Kind of a tall order when you are allotted fifty pounds and one bag. Also, I want to be a minimal traveler. You know, the one who rolls through the airport, jauntily toting one weekender bag which will sustain her for a month or more in a foreign country. I have a long ways to go.

The packing for this trip was instructive. Mostly because I kind of messed it up. So I thought I would share. Maybe it will help both of us next time around.

I’ll start by confessing that I packed for the trip I wanted to have, not the trip I was actually going to have. Pretty much always a bad idea. You see, I wanted to escape for a sunny and relaxing getaway, replete with lounging in the sun, running, yoga, hot tubbing, strolling through the nearby small town, and sipping wine at sun soaked wineries. I envisioned a lot of sun and outdoor time. Never mind that the forecast called for clouds, rain, and highs in the upper 50’s. Not to worry. I’d just bring layers.

My other posts about this trip will detail what we did, for now we will just focus on what worked, and what didn’t, from the packing standpoint.

Yes:

-Hat (for sitting in the hot tub during a rain storm. Also for wearing while snagging croissants in the early morning pre-shower hours)

-Running clothes (short sleeve top with arm warmers, crop leggings, headband, lightweight mittens, socks, water bottle)

-Comfy pajamas, like these from Cuyana. Seriously, these are the best!

Cuyana Pima Cami

https://www.cuyana.com/dw/image/v2/BDQQ_PRD/on/demandware.static/-/Sites-master-catalog-cuyana/default/dwaf6a87e0/white_900x900_pimacami_black.jpg?sw=1600
Cuyana French Terry Tapered Lounge Pant

https://www.cuyana.com/dw/image/v2/BDQQ_PRD/on/demandware.static/-/Sites-master-catalog-cuyana/default/dw07e5420a/pdp_white_hero_900x900_ja20_frenchterrytaperedloungepant_black_0325_4.jpg?sw=1600

-Hanro tank. This is the only multipurpose cami you need and is perfect for travel. It can layer under anything and is so comfortable you will wear it for lounging and sleeping, too.

Hanro Soft Touch Tank

-Lounge wear (one pair joggers and one pair tights, two zip up lightweight sweatshirts)

-Swimming suits (more than one so that you always have a dry one)

-Patagonia pull over fleece (absolutely essential for staying warm)

-Light weight rain jacket (for staying dry; obviously)

-Other essentials: jeans, long cardigan style sweaters, long sleeved white button down shirt, two short sleeved casual shirts, one long sleeved casual shirt

Needed:

-More lounge wear, much more lounge wear (bought a pair of Vuori joggers and a comfy hoody at the running store to round out my lounge attire)

-One or two more long sleeve, fitted shirts that could layer under a fleece, jacket or vest.

-Slippers (What was I thinking? The house was chilly and the floors downright cold. Purchased a pair of thick socks to get by.)

-Warmer jacket and/or vest

No:

-Too many sweaters that I thought I would wear alone (but it was too cold) and they were too bulky or loose for layering.

-Too many short sleeve shirts. Believe the weather. It’s usually correct.

Despite my clothing misses, my shoe game was on point. Birkenstocks, Oofos slides, running shoes, Paul Green sneakers, All Bird slip ons. Spot on.

Reset

A little over a year ago, the world was shutting down. We didn’t know where we could go, what we could do, how to be safe. Supplies were purchased, tears were shed, plans were canceled. For many of us, there has been no travel. It has now been 13 months since I stepped on an airplane.

For a long time, I simply had no desire. It was too risky to sit in airports, share space on planes, or contemplate navigating lodging and food and activities in a manner that was going to be safe. It felt too irresponsible to my patients to knowingly put myself at risk and then return to caring for them. It was all too hard.

Two months ago, with the protection afforded by a COVID-19 vaccine, I began to contemplate traveling again in this world. It’s far too soon for me to leave the country, but perhaps I could venture out a bit. I thought about my options (still somewhat limited), but decided that what I really wanted to do was visit my sister. She lives in San Francisco and it occurred to me that a wine country getaway might be just the ticket. I texted and asked if she might be interested. There was no hesitation in her affirmative response.

(COVID caveats: I am fully vaccinated. My sister has had COVID. My two daughters, traveling with me, are presumed to be non-immune. So I still wanted to be as safe as possible.)

(COVID caveat #2: No judgment here, please, about any choices we might have made. I tend to be thoughtful and conservative with what I am willing to do. I also recognize that we all have different levels of risk tolerance. I firmly believe that we all need to make the decisions that are both societally responsible and best for ourselves and our individual circumstances.)

With agreeable travel partners secured, the planning commenced. Our target area: Sonoma Valley. I’ve been to both Sonoma and Napa on previous trips and find Sonoma a little more approachable, a little more affordable, and a little more willing to accommodate the presence of my tween and teen daughters. We didn’t have a specific location in mind, choosing more based on available accommodations than on any other criteria. I searched AirBnB and narrowed the list down to 5 potential candidates. They all boasted various amenities. All had hot tubs (a must for this trip), at least 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms (another must), and all had been afforded multiple positive reviews. One had a pool (would it be warm enough to use it?), a few had spacious decks, most had beautiful outdoor spaces, one had a game room complete with pool, foosball, Pac Man, and backyard chess. I decided to let the girls choose. Not surprisingly, perhaps, they voted for the property with the game room, well situated in the little town of Healdsburg.

We secured our rental property, purchased plane tickets, and sent grocery requests to my sister, who would be driving up from San Francisco and procuring our provisions on the way. The girls and I excitedly debated the merits of various outfits, shoes, and accessories (half the fun of the trip is in the planning, right?). We scoured the weather forecasts. We brainstormed activities to enjoy while we were there. (The details of which will be reviewed in future posts.)

As we planned this trip, I thought a lot about my intentions. It had been a long, hard, emotionally taxing year. I was spent, both personally and professionally. I was struggling to feel mindful. I was struggling to feel passionate. I was struggling to balance everything. I was going through the motions and I needed to rectify that.

I often have lofty visions of all that I will accomplish when I travel. You know, sleep enough, eat healthfully, meditate, exercise, see all the sights, spend quality time with everyone, learn photography, etc, etc, etc. This time, though, I needed something different. As I pondered my needs and my intentions, I arrived on one very simple thought. I just wanted to be present. To exist in the moment, whatever that looked like. And sleep. I needed sleep.

It’s a pretty big deal for me to have my focus so narrowly defined. But I felt for sure that it was going to be exactly the reset I so desperately needed.

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