After all of those text messages, phone calls and emails, it’s finally time to go. The six countdown apps on your phone and the widget that counts down the seconds on your computer’s home screen have finally hit zero. You thought the moment would never arrive, but it’s here. It’s time.
But what do you wear? What do you pack?
If you’re like me, it’s too easy to imagine 30 scenarios of how we’ll reunite and what her face will look like when she sees me in each of my 76 outfits. So I like to leave packing to the very last minute. Otherwise, I’ll just have to pack again. I can’t leave time to second-guess myself.
Here are a few packing tips for long-distance visits that I’ve learned that make the whole process as easy and stress-free as possible.
Pack something old to bring with you. It might be clothes. It could be a stuffed animal. It could be the first card your significant other gave you. The point is to pack something poignant, something that has meaning for both of you. Is it his T-shirt you stole to sleep in? Bring it, and wear it to bed. Is it a handwritten letter that meant everything to you? Bring it, and read it out loud. Maybe it’s photos from the best time you ever had with them. Bring them, and share. This is a time when you two can sit down and reconnect, and memories are a great way to do that. Chances are if it moves you, it will move them, too.
Me? I brought her favorite candy. I can’t even begin to tell you how many boxes we’ve eaten in our time together. (But don’t worry: It was fresh candy, not old candy.)
Bring something new with you. Odds are that your life hasn’t been at a complete standstill since you’ve last seen each other. Bring a part of your life with you. Show them that no matter how much time and distance separate you, they are still very much a part of your day-to-day life.
I brought my newest tattoo. (I mean, it’s not like I could leave it behind, right?) It says, “This too shall pass,” in Spanish, her first language, and in her handwriting. But you don’t have to run out and get a tattoo. Bring an award that you won. Bring photos of something new that you tried. Bring something lacy that they’ve never seen before.
Make sure to pack something of theirs that’s been left behind. This can be that old T-shirt we were talking about earlier or a piece of jewelry—anything you have of theirs that you cherish. Make sure that they understand the significance of this totem.
I brought her half-empty box of allergy medicine. I know that sounds silly, but she was amused that I left it just waiting for her to return home. But when you have allergies like she does, Claritin-D is no laughing matter.
The point I’m making here is that it is theirs. Bring it to them. Show them that there are days when you need this magical half-empty box of medicine to catch your eye and help you get through your day.
OK, it might not blue for everyone, but blue is my girl’s favorite color. Find something that you know they’ll absolutely love in something that is their favorite color, smell, Marvel superhero. It doesn’t really matter what it is as long as it has significance for you both.
What did I bring? Well, it was blue and lacy. The point to make here is that you are still in touch with their favorite things. Maybe they really love dinosaurs—no wait, that’s me. I love dinosaurs. Bring something for them that you know will rock their socks. It can be a gift for them—or a gift for them to appreciate on you. Whatever strikes your fancy and is representative to you both of your relationship.
Make sure to pack something sweet and romantic. I had custom bracelets made that have the coordinates of the beach where we spent all of last summer. I gave them to her with a sappy Valentine’s card. It was a week early, but we knew we wouldn’t be spending Valentine’s Day together, and we’re known to change holidays to suit our schedule. (That’s why the Christmas tree and stockings are still up in the den. The calendar is not the Boss of me.)
Bring something that is romantic for you both: a movie you both enjoy combined with a bag of popcorn for a night in, your favorite bubble bath and some scented candles, letters or postcards you’ve written and have been meaning to send but haven’t gotten around to yet.
I brought her a sticky sweet and uber sappy Valentine’s celebration. Did it work? Like a champ.
Not everyone thinks in terms of food metaphors, but because she’s a chef, we do. I recommend bringing something spicy as well. It helps if it is something your other half has never seen before. I won’t go into a whole lot of detail, just know that I packed several options.
If lingerie isn’t your thing, bring something that makes you feel sexy. They’ll appreciate the thought, I promise. Maybe it’s a lotion that you love that makes you feel silky smooth. Maybe it’s lace. Maybe it’s leather. Just make sure you can get it through airport security with minimal embarrassment. Trust me on this one, too.
It’s all about making the most of the time you have together and closing the distance no matter how long you have together.
What do you think? Did I miss anything important that you absolutely wouldn’t want to miss packing?