Invariably, Mr. HalfFull and I will end up in a fight before trip. This is our pattern, and we know it.

napping in the park

Mr. HalfFull is an expert chillaxilizer wherever he goes.

HalfFull vs. HalfEmpty Prep

I think this unfortunate routine stems from our HalfFull and HalfEmpty tendencies. I am a planner, who likes to optimize for all contingencies. On the other hand, Mr. HalfFull likes to relax and figure it out as he goes (or not…no biggie).

For me, it’s stressful to think of and strategize for all possibilities. It’s even more taxing when I feel like I am the only responsible party with the entire burden.

I think Mr. HalfFull’s lack of stress makes me doubly stressed. Even though I know it’s not his modus operandi, I try to spur him into action. This exercise in futility further irritates me. Rinse, repeat.

The To-Do List

Going on vacation for a week isn’t such a big deal, but planning for two months abroad can be daunting. Who will water the plants and check the mail? Who will suspend cable and phone service? Who will remember to turn the water heater to vacation mode and set the thermostat? Who will turn off the water valves to the washing machine (after Mr. HalfFull does 10 loads of laundry with about two items each in the days before our trip)? Who will contact credit card companies and banks to let them know we’ll be in foreign countries? Who will make travel arrangements? Who will clear out the refrigerator? Who will send emergency contact info?

It just seems like a lot to do with many failure points. Plus, it all takes time…and we haven’t even talked about packing yet!

stack of suitcases

At least we did’t pack this much luggage! (Gideon/


Packing for the 30/40 World Tour was a challenge. In 2011, we only took two carry-on bags for 10 weeks in vastly different climates from snow in Australia to temperatures over 100 degrees in Dubai. This strategy allowed us more mobility since we planned to change locales often. But for this 2015 trip, the plan was to be more stationary.

The other factor greatly influencing our luggage selection is that we are visiting South America during their winter season and plan to ski. Ski gear is not very compact, and ski boots are heavy! So we knew carry-ons would not cut it. Plus, our flights included two free checked bags per person.

Our initial plan was to take the two carry-on duffels from our 2011 trip and add a large suitcase. In terms of space, this worked fine. But the problem was that the suitcase was so big that we were over the 50 lb weight limit. I did see one South American country allowed 70 lbs, but it wasn’t Argentina.

Of course, we discovered our weight limit overage the night before our flight. This prompted a trip to my parents’ house to borrow two smaller suitcases. Repacking ensued.

Including our backpack, we ended up traveling with five bags! It’s a stark contrast from our minimalist days in 2011.

Best Laid Plans


I hope to make some tracks on the slopes of Portillo in August.

After bringing my ski gear all this way, we discovered that the South American ski season was in jeopardy. Due to weather, none of the ski resorts opened on time. Plus, ski resorts in Argentina had so much rain that mudslides buried a lift!

It was quite disheartening for a few weeks, but ski season is back on. El Niño brought the snow to open the ski resorts in one fell swoop!

On the Road

Despite my plans to blog more regularly on the road, I haven’t. Like I said, travel is stressful. Plus, it’s a constant state of competing priorities between sharing online and actually experiencing the journey in person.

Lest I sound like a big complainer, I’m excited to travel and experience new cultures. I’m realizing a dream! So please indulge my musings on stress and the minutiae of the process of travel. Here’s hoping that next time will be be less stressful and not end in a fight.

  • Do you find travel stressful?
  • How do you prepare for a trip?
  • How do you approach packing? Do you create a packing list or just throw everything in a bag?
  • Does travel preparation create fights in your household? How do you avoid them?

Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!