My Essential Packing vs. Nellie Bly’s

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​Prompt: Author, Matthew Goodman was asked this by Random House in the interview about his book, Ninety Days….

How would you answer the question?

RHRC: Nellie Bly carried only a single handbag for her trip around the world. How would you pack for such a trip? What would you consider the essentials to be brought along?
My answer follows, and as with many of my writings, it veered off the very specific topic of what essentials should be considered to bring along. I may give this a go as part of my summer writing. It would be nice to see if I can stick to a limited topic and a deadline, so lets’s give it a deadline of July 10th. Sound good? It must be; I just felt my anxiety do a little somersault.

I’ve traveled alone only a handful of times, and in those times, only once was I not meeting someone else or staying in somewhat familiar surroundings. That one time was the adventure of a lifetime, and I learned a lot about myself and my abilities. Unfortunately, packing was not one of those things that improved over time. I always take more than I need and more than I should.
Since that first whirlwind solo trip across the Atlantic to meet my college roommate, I continue to keep a list during and after each trip of all the things I brought that I did not use as well as all of the things I forgot. The former list is always much longer than the latter.

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Prompt – Pack a Bag

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I’ve been going to town reading a ton of library books. Most recently I finished Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World by Matthew Goodman.

I’m sorry to say that I had never heard of Elizabeth Bisland, whose birthday was a few days ago. It sounds like, as unexpected as her voyage was, she had a much better time.

One of the jabs against Nellie Bly going around the world was that it was impossible for a woman to travel lightly, carrying all kinds of steamer trunks and hat boxes. However Nellie Bly did it, in not only less than eight days, but carrying ONE BAG, a sturdy gripsack (pictured below).

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Photo of Nellie Bly, public domain

Today’s prompt is just that:

you’re traveling around the world, and can only carry one bag*. What would you bring?

*I’ll be as generous as the airlines: one bag (any size but you have to be able to carry and lift it for storage) and one personal bag.