I pride myself on being able to pack for any 2-3 day business trip or any holiday within the length of a television ad break. Two if it’s an overseas trip and I need to give consideration to both carry-on and checked baggage. This usually takes place the night before the trip.
Today, however, I’m giving serious thought to packing for my next trip almost a week out.
This unusual level of planning is due to a combination of needing to pack for (a) 5 days of meetings and work-related events where I’ll be seeing the same people repeatedly and therefore need multiple outfits; and (b) the opposite season when at any moment it could turn super hot here and I will not be able to even look at a pair of tights or a jumper, which will make it hard to pack them.
Really, though, it’s the season I’m heading into that requires most thought.
I’m heading to New York, a place I have been to many many times for work and pleasure, a place where packing shouldn’t matter because I can get anything I could possibly need when I get there. Except I’ve never been in February before. The first week of December is the closest to ‘not summer’ I’ve ever been in the city. The top temperature there yesterday was -6. This requires thought before I leave, not after I get there and can’t feel my feet, or my hands, or my head.
Not only have I never been to New York in winter, I’ve never really spent any time in genuinely cold climates. I went to England to see family in February when I was 14 or 15, and remember cold clear days and melting snow, but nothing in adult life. I haven’t even been into the local snow fields since I was a teenager.
I don’t hike or camp or trek. I’ve never lived in a cold climate. So while I like winter here, I have no proper cold weather gear beyond a decent pair of gloves. I have a great parka that I bought from Witchery of all places about 15 years ago that is nice and warm, but is patched and short in the waist and doesn’t have a high collar and is bulky to pack. I have some nice coats. But they’re only Melbourne coats. They’re not ‘it’s actually properly cold’ coats.
Yes, I’m going to be spending a lot of time inside at meetings and I’m staying at the same hotel as the conference, but it’s New York, so of course I’m also taking a couple of days off to do some shopping and see some friends and visit good restaurants, and I want to see New York in the winter. I’m quite looking forward to the cold given we don’t really have it here. I just want to be prepared. And have a proper jacket that can stand the cold, maybe a little snow, and cover my bum.
Which is where being in the complete opposite season is great. Sales. Major sales of winter gear. So a visit to Little Bourke Street this afternoon, into the wilds of the camping and hiking and back-packing stores in which I usually have no place or interest, delivered me a great, warm, light-weight, properly hooded men’s parka for $50.00 (down from $200.00) and two pairs of actually warm socks for the price of one, i.e. $14.99. And the best thing is that the parka folds up to the size of its hood, unlike everything else coat-like I own. See:
So it makes packing easier. Especially when I need to fit these in too:
Certainly, the forecast for next week is not as cold as it is right now. You know, maximum temperatures of -1 on the day I arrive. But at least now I’m prepared. And will possibly be looking to take many future trips into cold climates. And a beanie when I arrive.