Today we packed up all our belongings for what must be the twentieth time.
It took us about an hour to move out.
It's not easy living out of a backpack. There are things I love about it— never having to pick out a wardrobe, or worrying about whether or not you've worn that favorite shirt once too many times in a row (is a third day socially acceptable?). Everything is in one place. Nothing gets too messy— if it does, it's because we use it frequently.
In fact, the things that take the longest to pick up are the toothbrushes, the laptops/charges/iPods, and the sleeping bags (and this only by virtue of the fact that they require rolling and stuffing).
Moving out generally means waking up an hour or two before we actually hav et leave. We put away all the things we find (toothbrushes go back in the cases, water bottles are filled, pajamas are cleaned up, sleeping bags are rolled).
Everything goes into the backpacks. If it doesn't go into the backpack, it goes into a pocket in the Scottevest.
Before we leave, we check everything— underneath the beds, all over the bathroom (never forget to look up! Ileana almost forgot her bandana and some underwear when it was hanging at the top of the shower. Since then we've been looking at all levels of all the rooms), on all the shelves… everywhere where something might land.
We shake out bed covers, fold them nicely, pick up any mattresses the hotel might have set out for us, etc.
Even with all these precautions, however, we have still have managed to lose things! I hold the record… I lost my hat (in the Beijing metro), my coat (in the train's waiting room— thankfully we found it), my pencil (one of the Tibetan transportation vehicles), my pedometer (fell off… went into a pipe. Didn't bother looking)… I'm just waiting to lose my pen. Or my marbles.
When we move in, the first step is to set all the bags in some inconspicuous place in order to take pictures of the apartments.
Usually this isn't very important. But sometimes we get reeaaallly pretty places that need it. The Kyoto house, the Xi'an bathroom (bright orange), Sapana Lodge, the Delhi apartment, the house boat, Guilin, Hong Kong, and Macau's rooms were all fantastic.
Once we've taken the pictures, we take out the laptops, books, iPods, kindles… something to occupy our time with.
For schoolwork I use my tablet, so I take that out when I need it. Ileana and Ioan use 'white boards,' so they'll set those out as needed.
At some point during the evening we'll unwrap our sleeping bags, set them out on the beds, set our clothes out, put on pajamas— take our bathroom kits out and spread them out in the bathroom so we can brush our teeth with ease…
Refill the water bottles, go to sleep… hoping tomorrow will be a relaxing, empty day.