The Case of the Missing Luggage

I’ve travelled on quite a few planes in my lifetime yet I’ve always been spared from the travel horror stories of delayed flights, planes being turned around or rerouted, and the dreaded feeling of being the last person at the carousel with no bag.

While dropping our latest visitor at SFO this past week, I remarked at how smooth her travels had been through seven states of the US over the month and we chatted about how lucky we’d been to never miss a plane or lose a bag. But as life tends to do, just 12 hours later I found myself at Las Vegas airport, that last person waiting hopefully at the baggage carousel. It was 12.30am on Saturday morning and my very generic black carry-on bag was nowhere to be seen.

After filing a report with the Southwest team, I walked away confident that someone had simply taken my bag in place of theirs or that it just didn’t make it onto my flight and we’d be reunited in the morning. But then it began to hit me: how would I brush my teeth that night? How would I take my make-up off? What would I wear to bed? What would I wear the next day visiting the Grand Canyon from 7 am in the morning?! Thankfully in a city whose bright neon lights keeps everyone up all hours of the day, I was able to run around our hotel and get some toiletries to carry me over until morning.

But then morning came and my bag didn’t.

As it became more and more apparent that my bag likely wouldn’t show up at all, I began making a mental list of all the things I packed into that bag – and boy does this girl plan for EVERY possible mood and occasion.

Not one but TWO dresses for Saturday night (because who knows if I’ll be in an orange or black mood?!), three pairs of shoes because I definitely need to be ready for every situation, my favourite Kate Spade clutch,  two necklaces, four outfit options for Sunday and not to mention my entire make-up bag filled with a collection large enough to make me a Sephora VIB Rouge member.

My list grew bigger as my anxiety kicked in, thinking of all the treasured things I’d brought and possibly never seen again. But then another thought hit me – it is just stuff. Temporary, breakable, and eventually worn-out stuff. Sure it would be annoying replacing shoes for my ginormous size 11 feet, or figuring out my shades of foundation and bronzer again but at the end of the day it was a huge reminder that I have way too much stuff and things here on earth are so temporary – whether they be broken, worn out or even lost.  In fact, it was just the reminder I needed to start a new year as I realized about 90% of the bag’s contents had been bought in the last year alone when I already had perfectly good clothes in my wardrobe!

This year I’m hoping to be much more intentional about my stuff ­– only replacing something when it’s truly broken, worn or lost and going through my wardrobe much more regularly to give anything I don’t need away. I can count numerous times in the last year when I bought something to replace a perfectly functional or wearable possession – and I know this is part of our consumeristic culture I so often give in to – but if the case of the missing luggage has taught me anything, I want to ensure I make 2016 the year of less stuff!

What about you? I’d love to hear if you have an approach to being less about stuff – do you have a limit on new clothes for the year or do you participate in clothes swaps to get a new wardrobe? I hope you’ll make 2016 a year of less stuff with me.

Blog update: I still haven’t been reunited with my bag but I’m working with the friendly folk at Southwest to reimburse what I lost!

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