Airlines have lost enough of my luggage over the years that I’ve learned to pack with just a carry-on and a large purse. (Although I’ve always eventually gotten my stuff back, I once went almost two weeks without my suitcase in a 3rd world country.) Last week Jim and I were returning from a working vacation in Hawaii. Of course Hawaii is known for being relaxed and leisurely and so was the local airline we took between islands. Generally this is a welcome change of pace, but I started to wonder when the ticket taker at the gate didn’t seem concerned that my carry-on for the small plane might not fit in the overhead. Normally they tag it at the gate and I leave it at the end of the sky bridge. Well, no tag and no directions. Jim calmly left his carry-on at the usual place and so did I – but not so calmly. I started worrying about whether anyone would actually put it on the plane without a bright tag. While in flight my worry barometer started escalating and I began taking stock of the things in my suitcase that I would miss if the luggage was lost – permanently.

First, you have to know that I take great pride in my ability to pack small. It’s taken me years to perfect this talent as I’ve accumulated many miniature travel items and trimmed my trip necessities to the bare minimum. Normally I can go anywhere in the world for one week or several months without checking luggage – as long as it’s not cold weather. Yes, I admit, it’s become a compulsion.

So, when I calculated what I’d miss if (when) my luggage was lost on this trip, clothes were the least of my worries. My miniature containers, comfortable but non-bulky shoes, and special light and thin travel wardrobe would take years to find equivalent replacements. I decided that giving things away is much easier than losing things. I choose what I give away, but have no control over things I lose and may never find again. Miraculously, my luggage was at my destination; thank God and prayer.

PS: While I’m on the topic of losing, I noticed that only losing things that are not easily replaceable bother me. I can lose my glasses or lose at cards without losing sleep (and even losing sleep through time changes doesn’t bother me much). Now, losing time – that’s another matter. What bothers you?