Having lived in London for most of my life, I’ve never been that enthusiastic about snow. Although the first fall looks picturesque enough, it only takes a few hours of trampling feet and car tyres to turn that lovely whiteness into channels of grey slush. And the accompanying ice, snow’s completely unwelcome cousin, also manages to bring the country’s transport to a total standstill.
Last year’s winter reached its peak when I was in Norwich, and the student body was to due to head home for Christmas. The sudden snow fell so alarmingly quickly that my dad’s plans to drive up and collect me were scuppered; cue an interesting eight hours of cancelled trains, heavily delayed buses and a misbehaving wheelie suitcase. It was not the most enjoyable trip. Still, once I reached London and the comfort of my house, I was happy to let the snow do its jolly old thang, making everyone’s festive season just that little bit more magical with sprinklings of the white stuff.
But when the snow doesn’t arrive in time for Christmas, people tend to give it a lot less encouragement. And belatedly making an appearance at the start of February? That’s not helping anybody out. Particularly when it arrives on the specific February weekend that involves me boarding a flight to Asia, where snow is definitely not part of my travel plans. After last year’s snowy meltdown at Heathrow, our trusty airport decided the best way to cope with England’s one day of snow fall was to cancel about a third of their Sunday’s flights. Guess whose flight was among the fallen?
So now, instead of wandering the echoing halls of Terminal 4, I’m sat here with Friends on repeat (god bless my trusty boxset) and my cat snoring peacefully beside me (recovering from the twitching fit he enjoyed a few minutes ago) while I try to determine – for the umpteenth time – how many clothes I really need to be packing for four months in Asia. I’ve narrowed it down to:
2 long thin shirts, a vest, standard black strap top, one long sleeved stripy top (makes me look a tad like a wannabe sailor), 2 tees and a terribly exciting North Face fleece in the attractive shade of plum. I’m wearing it on the plane and honestly can’t wait to see the UAE businessmen realising how cool and ‘travelly’ I am. This is definitely going to happen.
Total – 5 tops, 2 shirts, 1 fleece
Black floaty trousers I found in Turkey (that serve two purposes in looking like a skirt and being insanely breezy), spotty harem pants (any friends from uni will remember that I got them from H&M last summer and then wore them all the time pretending to be a hippy), my trusty black legging/trousers – also part of my comfy flying outfit, thin shorts for when I finally make it to a beach, a long patterned skirt which was a last minute impulse, and, on the advice of my dad who pointed out the potential lack of ease in obtaining them in India, I’ve got long black leggings and shorter grey leggings. One of these will also double as pjs so I don’t feel quite so bad.
Total – 3 x trousers, 2 x leggings, 1 x skirt, 1 x shorts
2 x strapless bras, 2 x tshirt bras, 1 x bikini, 4 pairs socks (I’m in Nepal for three weeks which is a little chillier)
leather flipflops from American Eagle, which are very comfy and worn in, red Toms (which almost didn’t arrive, thanks to Toms’ online screwups) which are not worn in yet but are exceedingly comfy on normal use, and hiking shoes.
Total – 3 pairs
All in all this stuff is really rather light packing, for me anyway (despite this, I am not going to take a photo as it looks more than it actually is). I‘ve tried to be very stingy with clothing, despite opposing views from a friend who’s done India, who claimed I should probably take more than I think. But the positive is I won’t mind abandoning any of it on the way – which is more than likely when you think just how much shopping I’ll be inclined to do. Luckily buying tons of jewellery won’t weigh as much as clothes… hopefully.
With my unexpected day at home, I’ve gone over everything a few more times than necessary, and feel as sorted as I can with all my preparations. Now all that remains is to get an averagely early night (probably not going to happen as I left myself a hundred pages of the epic ‘Shantaram’ to get through before I leave), slather myself in moisturiser to combat a great many hours in aeroplane aircon, drive to Heathrow in one piece, and get going on this big ol’ journey. See you on the other side…