When I'm getting ready for a trip, the first thing I think about is, which pens do I bring? And how many? Do I need petit pens for easy transport, high-capacity ink tanks for long writing sessions, a variety of colors for coding or outlining? Do I bring my favorite fancy pens or stick to the mid-range ones? Do I need something durable, or will something delicate be okay? There's so much to consider. And sometimes, once the variables are weighed, the answer is...none. I don't need any pens on this trip. No pens will be safe on this trip. I won't have time for pens on this trip. And sometimes that's a great thing. No, really.
Usually, I'm traveling for work or to visit family. For conferences, I need lots and lots of pens. All the pens, even! I don't hold back. Visiting family, I know I might have a little extra time to write while relatives entertain the kids. But last week, I went on my first ever family vacation. Just me, my hubby, and our two kiddos (ages 10 and 3) on a real just-for-fun trip to Clearwater Beach, Florida, courtesy of my husband's employer. No work allowed.
Traveling with kids is difficult. Especially young kids who need tons of gear--diapers and car seats and strollers and spare clothes and things to keep them from shrieking like banshees. I was not going to have room in my bag for all the pens or even a big notebook. I knew my own carry was going to have to be bare bones. I knew I wasn't going to have time to write or even sit, probably, and I was never going to have my hands free.
But I don't need a pen to sit on the beach, or at the pool, or watching dolphins at the aquarium. I don't need a pen to sip cocktails on a boat at sunset, or collect seashells. No pens for teaching my kids how to do a cannonball or snorkel or pet stingrays.
But I'm also a pen addict, so I couldn't bring NO pens. I let myself bring one, and I went for sheer practicality. I picked the Schon DSGN pocket pen with a Fisher Space Pen refill. Having taken the measure of my entire collection--this pen is apparently my desert island pen. It fits in a pocket, writes on anything, anywhere, and is indestructible. All important criteria when hopping from busses to trains to planes to boats all while loaded out like an alpaca in the Andes.
For notebooks, I brought a Doane Paper Grid + Lines where I'd done all of our trip planning. It's also where I stuffed all our receipts and tickets, and thought (hoped) I might have time to journal (I didn't).
I missed my pens. I missed writing. But not ALL the time, because we were having too much fun, and my kids were the number one focus for this trip. And I was happy with my carry choice. I only wrote two things the entire trip--our room service order on the back of a receipt and a thank you note to leave with the housekeeping tip. I never even wrote in the notebook, and the second thing I wrote with the hotel's freebie Bic pen.
We had the time of our lives. And we did it all without pens. Who would have thought that was possible, right? And it's good, when leaving paradise, to return to something you love. If I hadn't left my pens here on my desk, who knows if I'd have come back at all.
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