The Psychology of the Suitcase by Rebecca Willis

There is less analysis of what makes packing so stressful in the first place. It seems to me that the combination of rigid constraints—the deadlines, weight- and size-limits on luggage—and the 
unknown variables of different climates and unfamiliar dress codes is tailor-made to induce anxiety.

Travelling light to faraway places is a result of the democratisation of travel, which began in the late 19th century, and the ascendancy of the aeroplane. In the days when only rich people travelled for leisure it was a process more akin to moving house, with porters and staff to do the carrying and the packing, and dozens of pieces of luggage each with a specific function, from vast trunks to hat boxes. The suit case, then two separate words, was simply the one dedicated to holding men’s dress suits.

Coincidentally, one of the few times I envy men the simplicity of their uniform is when faced with an empty suitcase (one word). Men don’t, as a rule, need to pack tights as well as socks, or different underwear for different outfits, or make-up and heels for evening. Women don’t actually need these, we just feel we do. Because clothes are a kind of camouflage, they are about fitting in. When we travel—indeed one of the reasons we do it—our routines are broken. So we can’t know exactly what we’ll have to fit in with. The trauma of packing is about squeezing the infinite possibilities of elsewhere into a couple of pieces of luggage.


Despre Claudiu Degeratu
Expert in securitate nationala, internationala, NATO, UE, aparare si studii strategice

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