Too Much Luggage

As I mentioned previously, I recently went to Italy and the tour paid for my mom to come along. Since neither of my parents had ever been to Europe, we bought my dad a plane ticket and the three of us got to spend two weeks together in my new favorite-place-in-the-world.

It was such an amazing experience and the three of us had so much fun! However, my parents have never really traveled much and…well…they don’t exactly know how to pack light. They showed up in Italy with a two huge bags and a rolling carry-on each. By the looks of it you’d think they were going to the moon! Oh, bless their little hearts!

For the first 12 days of the trip, all our travel was arranged and provided for by the festivals. Every time a new driver would come to take us to the next city I’d come out with my single bag followed closely by Mamma and Pappa Stirling as they struggled with their six. It was like traveling with the Queen Mother. The drivers’ eyes would widen as we approached and then we’d play a game of Tetris to get the bags in the car. These moments were actually quite endearing—watching my cute parents bustle about with all their bags. However this picture I have painted is NOTHING compared to what I am about to tell you.

After my last show we had several days to do touristy things, but we were on our own as far as transportation. Our first stop was Rome, and we happily opted to take the train. Little did we know this particular train was meant to carry gnomes lol, or perhaps just light-weigh travelers—in every sense of the word. I can’t help but smile as I write this because just thinking about it makes me feel embarrassed all over again, so all I can do is laugh!

We excitedly boarded the train and made our way to our seats in the middle of the car. It took two trips to get all our bags down the aisle, and then we realized that they wouldn’t fit in the tiny luggage spots provided. What was this, a train for ants? I mean…yes we had too much stuff, but…really? As we struggled, a large line of Annoyed Italians filled the isle behind us. We immediately began a fruitless attempt to put a bowling ball in a golf hole. We were using all our strength to try to hoist these monstrous bags into the overhead bins or maneuver them to squeeze under the seat. It wasn’t like a plane where we could just step aside and let people pass. No, unless someone had a pole-vaulting stick in one of their thrifty little parcels, our luggage had created the Berlin wall on the air train!

The train car was now packed with frustrated Italians who were all stuck behind us in the isle. Some were rolling their eyes, others did the over exaggerated, look at the watch and sigh, and there were a few who just looked embarrassed for us. Others seated nearby avoided eye contact and tried to mask the smiles of amusement as they watched us—the world’s most un-savvy travelers.

My Mom and I managed to get a couple bags stowed, but there were still the two large ones that would not fit anywhere. Finally in an act of desperation, we piled the remaining bags onto two of our seats and we all crammed into the other so people could at least pass by the “stupid Americans.”

Once the commotion was over, we all looked at each other and took a huge sigh of relief. We were so embarrassed by the circus act we’d just created but after a long pause my mom burst into laughter. It’s nearly impossible to remain serious when my mom laughs, and despite our humiliation my dad and I started to laugh as well.

Moral of the story? When you go to Italy, pack light. And if you don’t pack light, avoid the air train! Oh yeah…and always take someone you can laugh with when you do something utterly stupid.

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