|Arctic Footwear (top right: -60 degree boots)|
After covering the floor of my studio with all the items I wanted to bring, I began placing things into my two suitcases. At first it seemed possible that everything might fit, and I felt relieved. Then I got out the scale. Um... about 20 pounds more than my weight allowance. Yikes!
Next followed a good 8-or-so hours of executive decisions about what could possibly be left behind. Sunhat and multiple tubes of sunscreen? Come on... how often is it really going to be sunny up there? It's autumn, which means we'll be rapidly
loosing daylight as the trip progresses. Furthermore, how much bare skin am I even going to haveexposed in Spitsbergen's freezing temperatures?! OK- out! Leisure items, like books to read for fun,
Still, I had too much weight and, not wanting to leave any of my audio gear behind, eventually I began resorting to more desperate mountaineering "cut-the-handle-off-your-toothbrush" packing techniques. I took my duct tape off its "heavy" cardboard center and wrapped it around an empty film canister instead. I ditched boxes and stuff sacks. I pondered the minimum number of socks I could get by with for 5 weeks. I peeled off labels. And finally, I got my bags to exactly 50 pounds each. In fact, the guy working at the check-in counter was impressed at my precision.
With two flights still to go, now I just have to hope that no one checks the weight of my carry-on bags!