Monday, August 3, 2015

Tips From the Past on Traveling Light

Recently, it was announced that the airlines were considering new and even smaller dimensions for carry on bags.  Anyone who has ever flown knows there is never enough overhead storage for the carry ons and half usually end up being checked "free of charge" just before entering the plane and those passengers really have no other alternative.  I gave up long ago and just check one BIG bag and usually have to pay even more than $25.  But since most of my travel revolves around performing I need my stage costumes.
Here are the new suggested dimensions:

It’s a happy day for luggage manufacturers. The world’s major airlines could soon be changing their requirements for carry-on luggage, potentially forcing people to buy new bags.  

Or we could take some advice from Nellie Bly, (pictured above)  a turn of the century journalist who set out to see if she could go around the world in less time than Phileas Fogg who was the protagonist in the Jules Verne novel, "Around the World in 80 Days."  To do so she knew she would have to travel light to put it mildly.  Although at first the editor and publisher of her paper were convinced she'd have so much baggage, especially because a "lady" must have trunks of clothes and it would detain her and slow her process, but she convinced them she was no ordinary lady and could manage with one bag. Once she got approval from her editor, she headed straight for the dressmaker.   As Nellie herself wrote of her preparations for light travel:
"I went to Ghormley, the fashionable dressmaker, to order a dress.  It was after eleven o'clock in the morning and when I got there, it took but very few moments to tell him what I wanted. I said to him:  'I want a dress by this evening.'
"Very well, " he answered as unconcernedly as if it were an everyday thing for a young woman to order a gown of a few hours notice. 
"I want a dress that will stand constant wear for three months," I added, and then let the responsibility rest on him.  Bringing out several different materials he threw them in artistic folds over a small table studying the effect in a pier glass before which he stood. In a few moments he had selected a plain blue broadcloth and a quiet plaid camel's-hair as the most durable and suitable combination for a traveling gown.  Before I left, probably one o'clock, I had my first fitting.  When I returned at five o'clock for a second fitting, the dress was finished.  I considered this promptness and speed a good omen and quite in keeping with the project.
After leaving Ghormley's I went to a shop and ordered an Scotch ulster overcoat.  Then going to another dressmaker's, I ordered a lighter dress to carry with me to be worn in the land where I would find summer.
I bought one hand-bag with the determination to confine my baggage to its limit.  That night there was nothing to do but write to my few friends a line of farewell and to pack the hand-bag.  Packing that bag was the most difficult undertaking of my life;  there was so much to go into such little space.  I got everything in at last except the extra dress.  Then the question resolved itself into this:  I must either add a parcel to my baggage or go around the world in and with one dress.  I always hated parcels so I sacrificed the dress, but I brought out a last summer's silk bodice and after considerable squeezing managed to crush it into the hand-bag.  My gold I carried in my pocket and the Bank of England notes were placed in a chamois-skin bag which I tied around my neck."

Well folks by traveling so extremely light and playing it by ear as she traveled booking tickets as and when, she beat Fogg's record travel of 80 days by 8, she girdled the globe in 72 Days.  To read her whole story of the trip buy her book, Around the World in 72 Days, by Nellie Bly.  Check out some of her other real life adventures in search of a story!

If you have any suggestions for traveling light please let me know in the comments.  I'll take all the help I can get.

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