How to scatter your possessions around the world

As I travel, I have learned a few things that you may find helpful in your own travels. One is how to give away your possessions along the way, without even meaning to.

Have you heard this joke?:

Some people learn by reading books. We’ll call these ‘type C’

Other people learn by observing the mistakes others make. We’ll call these ‘type B’.

While some guys just seem to have to pee on the electric fence wire for themselves. We’ll call these ‘type A’.

It seems I am a type A.

I have noticed that I have a habit of scattering my travel clothing throughout the world. I have left a fine cashmere sweater in an airplane overhead rack, a nice windbreaker on a Japanese bullet train (later reclaimed at railroad lost and found in Tokyo–the Japanese catalog and store lost items), my favorite travel pillow on my first flight this trip 😰 (United Airlines does not seem to try very hard to help you re: lost items), a useful electrical adapter plug in an apartment, my rain jacket(?!?) in a hotel room, which, when discovered 5 miles down the trail, led me to get quite wet on the trudge back to retrieve it. The list is endless.

Inexplicable. You would think I would learn! Sometimes I think this is actually my way of giving away my possessions on a continuing basis. If I put my glasses on more often, I might not overlook things as much. My comforting thought is that these items are not lost, they are just being enjoyed by someone else. And my pack keeps getting lighter. The benefits of unintentional philanthropy. Lest you think I am losing my marbles due to age, I have been absent-minded like this for most of my life. Male obliviousness? You decide.

As they say, a word to the wise is sufficient. Perhaps someday I will become wise myself. You, as a type C or B, may learn from my errors and avoid them yourself.

So, in summary, a few tips on how to give away things on a steady basis:

Set things down without a plan, in places that blend with their color. It makes it less likely you’ll notice them when packing up.

Put things in drawers where you can’t see them. Greatly improves the odds you’ll leave them.

If you use glasses, don’t wear them while packing up, so you’ll see less.

When dining out, set your hat, your glasses, your purse on a chair so things will look neat. So neat you will walk away without noticing them yourself.

While waiting for a subway/train/bus/plane, set your hat down on the seat next to you. Works like a charm. Likewise when you’re on the subway/train/bus/plane.

Cultivate a devil-may-care, live for the moment attitude, and trust everything to work out OK.

All these ideas have been well-tested by me, and are proven to work. You’ll wind up with less stuff to bother you.

If you don’t like giving your stuff away (or cannot really afford to do so), try this:

Be disciplined: have a place for everything, and put everything in its place, every time!
If you use a pack with pockets, always put things in the same one, every time.
Then, when it’s time to depart, check each pocket and see if anything is missing.
Have a checklist (at least in your head) and ALWAYS go over it before departure, item by item.
Cultivate an aware attitude about what you’re doing, and where you are, at all times.
Zip up the pockets on your pack, pants and jackets so gloves and such don’t fall out unnoticed.

I haven’t tested the above ideas, but they seem like good ones, and I may try them eventually, particularly if I’m seriously running short of stuff.


One thought on “How to scatter your possessions around the world

  1. Sheila M

    Uncle Mel you are so much like our Austin…unintentional philanthropy. …what a fine way of thinking about thingsIt is not lost.. just regifted! Safe travels

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