Today I turned 40. I thought I’d hate it. Isn’t 40 supposed to be big and scary? It wasn’t. It was beautiful and fun and filled with laughter and family. My husband and daughter surprised me with a Ukulele and some wonderful books and travel gifts and I spent my work day with children who do nothing but bring joy into my life on a daily basis. I had a lot of anxiety leading up to my birthday, wondering if I should have a huge party or if I should *do* something. In the end, spending it the way I did was perfect. My life is about continuity right now. I am alive; something that was a questionable prospect these last couple of years given the state of my mental health. Spending the day just being alive and loving that fact was a pretty big victory celebration in itself.

I’m leaving today to head to Dallas for Clover Cup. We decided a jump start was for the best so we weren’t pulling all 11-12 hours on the day before the tournament. Cutting 4ish hours off tonight puts tomorrow in a normal driving range for us and that felt smart. Don’t know where we will end up tonight! That’s a little scary for me as someone who loves to over-plan, but I am willing to wing it this time since I have a traveling companion, something I don’t always have the luxury of.

Packing was a little nightmarish. I finally had to start over. Usually, I have a great list and I stick to it and follow it. For some reason, with this trip, I was punishing myself and trying to pack as though I was going to be gone for three days when I reality it is five and a half. Don’t do that if you don’t have to. We will be driving and I realized I could take a larger bag than my usual “must fit in smallest compartment” gear. I don’t like a bunch of bags to haul up to a room, but I also hate not having clean clothing and options for comfortable quick changes in weather, so I finally unpacked and started over. A quick rundown of what my bare minimum for a tournament weekend list looks like:

2 jerseys
2 pairs athletic capris
2 pairs of socks per day
2 changes of underwear per day 
compression Shirt
compression stockings 
2 finger whistles/1 lanyard whistle
skates/protective gear
first aid kit (with blister pads and ice pack)
Yoga socks for between games

Meds for 1 week (no matter how short the trip)
Sweatshirt/light jacket for inside venue (indoor winter is a thing)
Plain black shirt (it works for going out or emergency NSOing)
Jeans and 1-2 shirts for between games appropriate to location and weather
Comfortable walking shoes
Plain black shoes

It seems like a lot but I can get all of this into one nice Ikea backpack and an old carry on. Weekends that are less than 5 games (2 days) are pretty light. This weekend is 6+ games and a lot of time away from home so I am definitely packing heavier and taking more creature comforts. I brought along my DnD manuals, some embroidery projects, my therapy homework, and journals. It’s a lot. Which reminds me I need to go rearrange a bag.

I’m a huge fan of packing cubes and little bags and I utilize those a lot so it doesn’t feel like I’m taking too much because it’s tightly packed. My favorite purchase this year has been this bathroom organizer which hangs on the back of a door so when I am sharing a hotel room, my bathroom stuff isn’t monopolizing the counter. I can fit so much stuff in here. There are full sized bottles of facial cleanser and dry shampoo in there. It’s pretty leak proof so far too. Right now it is packed inside my suitcase, which speaks to it’s overall size/shape.img_0124

Other wee bags I had laying around to do other sorting:

I feel pretty good for the trip and plan to touch base each day of travel (that will be a first, let’s see how it goes!) Thanks to everyone who has purchased a fundraiser shirt so far! I have a tank of gas, and that goes a long way (pun intended).  How do you get ready for a long trip? Does it make a difference if  you know you are going to be driving or flying? I would love to hear new tips and tricks so drop a comment below!



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