Lost Luggage & How to Make Peace with Your Past in 2020

Lost Luggage & How to Make Peace with Your Past in 2020

I pulled up to the curb as I had done so many times before. Eyeing all the skycaps, I was hoping one would scoop up my baggage, so I wouldn’t have to think about it for the next few hours. It was such a busy morning at the terminal; I had no choice but to make peace with it and lug my suitcase to the nearest “line forms here.” I waited patiently for the dreaded weigh-in. I’m usually a few pounds under but scales make me nervous.

Unless it’s a weekender, I’m not the lightest traveler. It’s usually an extra pair of shoes. I often contemplate hauling my stuff carry-on style. But it just becomes a nuisance. It’s too hard to lift it overhead, three aisles away from my seat, and retrieve it again. As one First Class attendant announced, “You brought it on yourself–now you have to store it yourself.” So much for flying with perks–real people travel coach anyway.

Lost Luggage & How to Make Peace with Your Past in 2020

Make Peace with Excess Baggage

What I’m really talking about here is excess baggage. Not the kind on wheels, with signature patterns or glow-in-the-dark identification tags. Rather, the kind we carry with us from a time almost too long ago to remember. Too bad we can’t just tip someone like the skycap to take the baggage off our hands. If only it were that easy. Whether it’s stowed overhead or in some remote place on the aircraft, when you hit your destination, there it is…circling the carousel with your name on it. The luggage is all yours. It’s baggage that belongs solely to you.

I’m pretty certain that when we don’t make peace with our past, it becomes lost luggage. Our valuables are out there somewhere (will someone please help find them?) and it becomes difficult to place a price tag on everything that’s missing. There’s no guarantee that the bundle is going to show up, on time, intact or at all. Some things are just out of our control.

Lost Luggage & How to Make Peace with Your Past in 2020

Let go to Make Peace

Still, there are things that we do have control over. We teach people how to treat us. Although we may not be able to prevent bad behavior it’s our choice whether we allow someone to hurt us, speak to us in an unforgiving way, ruin our day, and sabotage our plans. We carry around so much baggage that our past can begin to haunt us. That’s why it’s so freeing to let it go and move on. The bonus is that when we let go, we make room for something much better.

Letting go is easier for some than others. It takes a bit of practice and eventually becomes a benchmark for the emotionally healthy. Long ago, I had one of those “she got me again” conversations with my daughter. Reminding her how inconsiderate a friend of hers had been–I urged her to remember and not be blindsided again. She quickly retorted, “Why would I want to surround myself with such negative energy? Why do I have to keep remembering the incident–why not just let it go and think of my friend’s positive traits?”

Well done! Making your way back to inner peace is a real gift. The value is immeasurable and you can travel anywhere with it. It’s a different kind of flying high–when you find inner peace; you’ve given yourself a new set of wings.

Lost Luggage & How to Make Peace with Your Past in 2020

Tips to Beat Travel Overwhelm

Sure, we all know that travel has many beneficial aspects to it, but for most of us, the pre-trip planning period and actual journey can be quite stressful. Just as I experienced some anxiety at that busy terminal while waiting for the weigh-in and my dilemma with deciding what to pack, travel can send people into a panic. Add in the stress and overall chaos of the holiday season and you have the recipe for travel overwhelm.

Seasoned travelers know that the solution to this problem lies in preparation and organization. As an Organizing Professional, I completely agree with this strategy. Yes, you may still feel stressed; especially during festive season travel, but being organized will help the situation immensely. Make peace with the unpredictable nature of travel, be flexible, plan for what you can and let go of any expectations.

To help you beat overwhelm, I’m sharing some of my top travel tips!

Packing Tips
  • Use zippered packing containers which are great for organizing different items. I like that you can pull them in and out of your suitcase and on a two -three-day trip you don’t have to unpack.
  • I fold almost everything I can into packing cubes. If you have clothes that need to be folded, use tissue paper to keep them from wrinkling. You can also roll clothes, instead of folding, to save tons of baggage space.
  • Try packing hanging items on hangers. You can also pack hanging items on hangers by putting them in thin garment bags and folding them into a suitcase.
  • Get leak-proof travel tubes that come 1 oz to 3 oz for carry on liquids, creams, and pills and label them. Use a quart size zip lock bag with the pleat on the bottom so you have extra space for liquid toiletries.
  • Pack disposable lint remover sheets, bounce sheets (to remove static and keep clothes smelling fresh), clothing tape (if your hem falls or your shirt opens, etc).
  • Put pre-moistened makeup remover towelettes in one zip lock and baby wipes or personal female wipes in another zip lock – good to freshen up on the plane, between meetings and it doesn’t count as a liquid.
  • Use a pill container to keep jewelry organized. Snaking a necklace chain through a cut-up straw will keep it from tangling.
  • Put socks and underwear inside your shoes when you pack to save space.
  • A shower cap is an easy way to cover the bottoms of your shoes if needed.
  • Pack a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss/picks for the plane and between meetings or appointments.
  • Use sample size beauty creams that come with your purchases as they are perfect travel-size. Tip: prick the packet with a pin so only a very small amount is released at a time.
  • Make use of a binder clip to protect the head of shaving razors.
  • Keep hair clips in place with an empty Tic Tac container.
  • You can keep loose chargers and cables organized in a glass case or zip lock bag.
Travel Planning & Purchasing Tips
  • Register for global entry to speed up getting through customs and it comes with a TSA pre-check; truly life-changing!
  • If you visit Europe or other continents regularly that have different plugs or electrical voltages buy a travel size hair dryer or flat iron because they don’t convert easily.
  • Also, make sure to invest in a universal converter – I just got one with room for 2 electrical plugs and 2 USB slots. AC adaptors with changeable plugs are also useful. Having one really long cord to go from the adaptor to the device is super helpful so you can keep your phone by the bed even if the outlet is far.
  • Use a private window when booking flights and hotels online. Travel sites often track your visits and will raise the price simply because you’ve visited before.
  • If you have a credit card, make sure that you can earn miles for your purchases and then use these miles when buying plane tickets – or maybe even score an upgrade.
Tips for the Journey
  • Purchase boxes of alcohol pads at the drugstore or even use wet wipes to wipe down all surfaces on the airplane you might touch – the only thing shown to cut down on getting sick from being on the plane.
  • Make sure to take some vitamins before any flights to boost your immune system. Take some with you on your trip too.
  • Invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones for flights or even train travel. You don’t even need to listen to anything it just helps to block out the world around you. Keep your headphones from tangling by winding them around a binder clip.

Why is it so Hard to Let go?

Whether it’s lost luggage missing somewhere in the world or excess emotional baggage holding you back, letting go is hard. The wounds of our past created by hurt, heartache, and grief seem to leave lasting marks on us all. But, just like how owning too many physical possessions can create stress and clutter, the accumulation of emotional baggage can be detrimental to our well-being.

None of our life journeys look the same and that includes what’s hidden within the suitcases that hold our emotional baggage. It’s one thing to dig into your physical possessions and get rid of the excess but peeling back the layers of your memories and emotions is a unique challenge. For most, it’s easier to pretend they don’t exist, rather than confront them and face them head-on. But, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, your baggage is there waiting for you. So, why not use the last few weeks of the year to dig in and lighten your load for the brand-new decade ahead of us?

Make Peace with Your Past in 2020

I want you to give yourself the gift of peace as we start a new year. Therefore, I have compiled some ideas on how you (and I) can make peace with our past in 2020:

  • Don’t suppress your emotions; they are there for a reason. Feel them, accept them for what they are (internal guidance) and then let them go.
  • Learn from your past experiences by looking at them objectively as though through someone else’s eyes. This allows you to separate the experience from your emotions and let go of the heaviness attached to your past.
  • Give yourself a break. I mean it; don’t pressure yourself. There is no timeline on how long it takes to release emotional baggage. So, leave the judgment behind you too.
  • Create calming rituals to help to replace the anxiety or distress you feel when dealing with your baggage. Breathing exercises or writing in a journal are great choices.
  • Use imagery. Think of what’s weighing you down and imagine it peeling off your back. Observe as it lets go.
  • Be patient with yourself, as long as you are putting in some effort to make peace with your past and let go of your baggage, it will happen – at the right time.

Do you have travel plans or plans to make peace with your past this festive season?


Comments 8

  1. Ronnie, I’m partial to organizing posts that combine the practical with the philosophical, and you’ve done exactly that here. I love how you’ve approached the topic. Stay healthy and keep things light in 2020!

  2. Hi Julie!

    Happy Holidays! This has certainly been a year of reflection. When my experiences hit a nerve with me, I’m hoping they do the same with my readers.
    Thank you!

  3. Ronni,
    Interesting distinction between luggage and metaphorical baggage, and great segue from one to the other.
    Thanks for your clear-eyed, gentle suggestions for dealing with both.
    Love your packing tips, especially the uses for binder clips! So simple, yet who would have thunk it?

    My resolution for 2020? I’m breaking my tradition of not making resolutions to resolve to regularly read your blog.

    Happy New Year!
    Caryn XO

    1. Caryn,

      Thank you, thank you, thank you! What an absolutely lovely comment.

      I hope you do read my blog 🙂


  4. Love the analogy of making peace with excess baggage – as someone who tries to always travel with just a carry-on (sometimes more successfully than others!) it’s revelatory to think about it being a CHOICE. There’s lots to “unpack” here! 😉 Great post, and great tips too!

  5. Thank you, Sara!

    This is the perfect time of year for reflection….. I should also start to reflect on how to do carry-on. It’s a big time saver!


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