Packing #2: Turning Data into Dress

As reported in Packing #1, Doris and Louis collaborated on a data-based packing plan for traveling around the world in 180 days. What we each did with the data is proof perfect that identical information in different hands does not produce identical results.

Once Louis knew the burn rate on his toiletries and the weather he was most likely to encounter, his most urgent question was, “How fast does laundry come back?” 

The Laundry Angle

That’s because one of the many perks of our RTW cruise on Oceania Cruises is free unlimited laundry and pressing. For Louis, the revelation that laundry comes back overnight produced the happy conclusion he needed no more than three sets of clothing for each climate zone: one to wear, one to have in the laundry, one to hold in reserve. Who needs more, right? (Eye roll from Doris.)

Confident he could be clean at all times, albeit monotonous, Louis began pulling clothing and shoes out of closets and drawers and spreading them across the bed and other bedroom furniture to visualize his wardrobe. 

When the bedroom proved insufficient for his visions, he moved on to the living room. Louis is a retired cameraman. A visual guy. He needed to visualize his three-piece wardrobes for cold, average and hot, and visualize them he did. 

Back at the Computer

Meanwhile, Doris – more motivated by novelty than overnight laundry service – was at her laptop madly typing up spreadsheets with combinations of tops, bottoms and accessories, the goal being to conjure the greatest possible number of outfits for every contingency without exceeding the 50-pound bag limit. Instead of visualizing, she digitized. 

Once satisfied with what she had Exceled, Doris pulled the chosen items out of closets and drawers, assembled them into neat stacks by category (e.g., tops, bottoms, pool wear), photographed them for insurance purposes and (completely surrendering to obsessive tendencies) compressed them into neat little Eagle Creek packing cubes. 

Her result looked like this. 

Processed with MOLDIV

Packing It In

Though we took different routes, we ended up at the same destination: One duffel each packed with everyday clothing, Louis’s folded and rolled, Doris’s compressed and cubed, all of it coming to less than 50 free pounds per duffel. 

The military camo bag was dedicated to the toiletries (which get shockingly heavy for two people for six months), books, shoes that didn’t make it into our rolling duffels and bulky items for the coldest cold – down jackets and vests, gloves and scarves and hats. Into the suitcase went miscellaneous items experienced cruisers (including The Points Guy, whose tips were invaluable) had alerted us to bring: extra hangers because ships never give you enough; magnetic hooks, to create extra storage space on the metal walls; rechargeable handheld fans to carry for the most torrid locations; a laundry bag, because the ship doesn’t provide one. Okay, plus a few overflow articles of Doris’s wardrobe because (let the record be clear!) her duffel contained six fewer cubic feet of storage than Louis’s did!

And then, more than two weeks before our own departure, we hauled our luggage to a nearby UPS store and said goodbye to the next six months of dressing ourselves. The scene in the store was not entirely confidence-inspiring.

Despite our last glimpse of the bags, UPS tracking tells us all four are, at this very minute, stashed at the dock in San Francisco, waiting to be delivered to our personal 215 square feet of stateroom on Sunday. Ta-da!?

All’s Well That Ends Well – But Will It?

Our Oceania Cruises fare includes an overnight stay at the snazzy Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill the night before sailing so we are ticketed to San Francisco on Saturday. Because the luggage handler forbade packing medications, “medical devices” (e.g., covid tests), batteries, jewelry and anything edible or drinkable, among other essentials, we will carry those on the flight along with electronics and other personal items.

All that will remain is embarking.

Will our shipped luggage be awaiting us as promised? Will our unpacked bags fit under the bed? More critically, as we anxiously follow the news, will the atmospheric river currently inundating California interfere with our flight or our boarding? Will rough seas trigger Doris’s seasickness before we even leave port?

All those answers and more in our first report from the high seas.


Anchors Aweigh

24 thoughts on “Packing #2: Turning Data into Dress

  1. Louis/Doris,

    Michelle is with us here in Sarasota for the next week, and after describing your upcoming “Around the World in a lot of days” she gave me your address, so I have joined your other many followers, being one who a t this stage in life enjoy vicarious adventure and narration of same.

    Bon voyage et bon retour!!!

    Ed Bernier (Geraldine’s husband and Mickey’s papa)


  2. I love your blog!!! You make me laugh and excited for your adventure(s). Thanks for letting me almost be a fly on the wall. What fun, good for you. I’m looking forward to hearing more in your wonderfully open, descriptive and sharing way. Might be one of my best reads in 2023. Love, Carol


  3. Bonjour Doris et Louis Fantastique. Merci de nous faire partager votre belle aventure. Nous voyons que nous avons encore beaucoup à apprendre pour l’organisation de nos futurs voyages… Vos commentaires sont très drôles . Nous allons vous suivre avec joie tout au long de votre expédition. Nous vous souhaitons le meilleur pour votre fabuleux Tour du monde.. Bien à vous Christian et Hélène de Marseille.



  4. Bonjour de Rome
    Fantastique. Merci Doris et Louis de nous faire partager votre aventure. Nous voyons que nous avons encore beaucoup à apprendre pour l’organisation de nos futurs voyage. Vos descriptions sont très drôles.Nous allons vous suivre avec plaisir.
    Nous vous souhaitons le meilleur pour cette belle aventure.
    Bien à vous.
    Helene et christian de Marseille


  5. Hi Sisty,

    It’s me again! It’s been a wonderful experience watching your packing efforts! I’m in awe of your thoroughness (a.k.a. OCD) but know that you came by it honestly. It makes one long for the days of the steamer trunk, right?

    We hope that your efforts work out well and we can’t wait to get progress reports along the way! If you begin to get anxious about your inventory, keep in mind that toothpaste, deodorant and even shaving cream are used all over the world and in most cases, won’t cost you your yak or camel. Baking soda is also a very versatile fallback!

    We wish you and Louis a wonderful trip!

    Bon Voyage!
    Lb and Suzie


    1. I’m glad someone has told them there are everyday items available everywhere. But we can excuse them for not knowing, they haven’t traveled much.


      1. Hi Rob,
        It’s Doris’ brother Rick. We should keep in touch. I figure with Doris bring virtually incommunicado for six months and unable to defend herself, I’ll be able to share lots of embarrassing stories 😃! You know, the childhood and teenage kind! (I envision Doris running around now trying to find out if the ship has satellite Internet).
        We’ll chat soon!
        Take Care,


      2. NOW I know why my kids always refused to be my friend on Facebook! Dear Little Brother, NEVER count on me being unable to defend myself. Surely you remember how long I could brace myself against the bedroom door to lock you out????


      3. Although Doris is quite capable of defending herself, I suspect the quality of her defense-though written with aplomb and literary flare–targeting any perceived indiscretion but offered in the face of indisputable truths, may not withstand scrutiny. I will happily participate with great joy. I’ve always been pretty good with a stirring spoon.



  6. Holy *#%~ Doris!
    How can you make packing bags so fascinating and hilarious? Also: informative, although I never plan to take advantage of your guide to packing for an around-the-world cruise. It’s all coming up very fast and I wish you both the most wonderful adventure. love, Karen


  7. What a great packing story Doris! Seeing the yellow packing cubes I can imagine going myself back on the road again; I have exactly the same packing cubes.
    We keep ours fingers crossed for your successful sailing out!


  8. Now two weeks of anticipation…. A great stance! How truly wonderful. I’m “sitting” in same stance as well just that yours is of this grand viyage and mine not knowing what’s next.

    Can’t wait to see you on your return. Save me a spot on your dance card!!


  9. Awesome packing. Looking forward to the next segment. Getting to the ship from home is usually the last major hurdle left.


  10. Whee! I’m as excited as you are to have the opportunity to follow along with you. So far, so good! Wishing you a fabulous journey and so happy you will chronicle your adventure so beautifully. Bon voyage you two!! 🥰


  11. Perhaps a little clarification Doris. Cameramen never “retire.” Have fun on Knob Hill where one can see the harbour. – rgh


  12. You guys are both amazing in your own unique ways. Have a blast! This level of preparation gives me a panic attack just watching you so I’m happy to just be observing and cheering you on as you voyage partout dans le monde!! Bisous!!


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