From our weekly diarist Anthea Kreston:
“What’s in my bag?”
I always think those little articles, “What’s in my purse” in magazines are hilarious. But (and here I must pat myself on the back a little), I must admit that I feel somewhat of an expert – a packing process which has developed into a fine-tuned machine this year.
I remember, on my first of 3 summer camping/backpacking trips to Europe as a young adult, how my huge backpack (sleeping bag and tent tied above and below) gradually became smaller as the summer progressed. I started with a hand towel and a toothbrush, and ended up trimming the towel smaller and smaller until I had a Kleenex-sized towel, and even sawed off my toothbrush (thanks to the guys at the Harley Davidson campground in Toulouse), leaving only a thumb-nail sized brush. And, lost along the way was also the top of my bikini (oh, to be 19 again….sigh).
So – here I am on my way to London (Wigmore Hall tonight), then to Brussels, Vienna, and Paris. At the beginning of my time with the Artemis Quartet, I would check a suitcase (just like everyone else), and carry only my violin on board. But, I began to realize how much I was spending, checking that one bag (checked luggage here is much more expensive than in the States). A person can often fly quite cheaply here – I flew my entire family, round-trip, to Florence the other week for €150. But – with luggage it would have been quadruple. I thought to myself, 8 months ago, if I can just pare down my packing, I could be saving €75 per leg of my journey – imagine how many croissants and hot chocolates that is for the girls! So – I began to bring only a messenger bag, and to utilize my coat pockets and any violin pockets.
Here is my list:
Toiletries: toothbrush, paste, flossers, hair gel, deodorant, razor, bandaids, neosporin, needle and thread, small scissors and nail clipper, emergency medicine (ibuprofen, tums, Claritin, sudafed, hard-core cold medicine, Vitamine c and echinacea, ear and nose drops) – all fits in a ziplock
Clothes: concert clothes (rollable), one underclothes per day (3 maximum, then wash in sink if longer tour), one slip shirt per day (goes over tank top, under day-jacket I wear on plane, 3 maximum)
Wear on plane: dark jeans and shoes that can walk and also look ok for post-concert parties, light jacket, winter jacket (in pocket are wallet, passport and phone, gloves), big scarf (can double as pillow on plane)
Entertainment, etc.: noise-cancelling earphones, podcasts updated on phone (TED Radio Hour, Coffee Break German, The Daily (NYT) and BBC News, Wait…..Wait, Don’t Tell Me), blank notebook, three books (one fiction, one music-related, one non-fiction), iPhone and cord, extra teeny foldable backpack, snacks (chocolate and veggies, rice cakes)
Music: folder with music for concerts, music to practice for the future, scores for study (hole punched and in folder), pencil and highlighters, stand
Today I bring my Trinity Violin Case on its maiden voyage. This is an exciting new case, with three interconnected segments. The first, a snuggle fitting backpack case, just the size of a violin (small pouch under the neck holds my rosin, hotel mute, and makeup (which is chapstick)). The second is a bow case, which either straps on to the violin, goes separately to for a rehair, or forms the deceptive handle for the rolling backpack. The third (which I did not purchase, but my first violinists travels with always) part is a rollable suitcase, in which the violin case nestles at an angle, is the right dimension for a carry-on – clothes are packed around violin, and the bow case is the handle (which unclips for storage). Brilliant!
Just got called for boarding – concerts are packed this week – the program (Beethoven, Bartok, Schumann Quintet) is a total pleasure. Until next week!