Getting the Picture

With special thanks to Slice of Life for inspiring writers, and for giving us space and voice

Slice of Life Day 2 of 31: Journeys (my theme for the month)

I put off packing for my flying solo trip to San Antonio, Texas until the evening before the trip and gave it little to no thought – perhaps because I was afraid that if I had, I may have chosen to back out of this non-refundable excursion and take the loss. My fiercely independent spirit was afraid to admit that maybe – just maybe – I had a weaker side that might crack and stay home if I gave it any place to sit down and bend my ear with its persuasive wisdom of safety and caution about women traveling alone. My woman power free-spirit hippie voice was goading me You can do this! You can do this! on one shoulder, and on the opposite, sitting angel-and-devil-Fred-Flintstone-style, my grandmother gently whispered, “You can never be too careful.”

And so I’d put it off as long as I could. The time came to prepare. Five pairs of black underwear (I have a paranoid fear that my luggage will be searched in security and that they will hold up my big underwear for everyone from all over the world in the crowded TSA checkpoint to see, so that is why I always travel with brand new black underwear), a single pair of shoes: non-tie tidewater blue On Clouds, jeans and black slacks, three shirts, a lightweight jacket, the necessary mini umbrella and paper-thin rain parka, and a sealed bag of 2-ounce liquids and basic toiletries. Done. I zipped my suitcase shut. But something was gnawing at me. I felt like I was forgetting something – – not more underwear, but something that was signature black and equally flashy: a camera.

On our trip to Gloucester to watch whales last fall, a single phone charge hadn’t lasted long enough, and even with a power pack it didn’t buy much more video time.  Plus, the pictures just weren’t all that great.  My camera from my digital photography class at the University of West Georgia several years prior was not working any longer, and I missed having spectacular photos with dazzling colors and clean, sharp focus.  

Whale’s tail off the coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts, taken with an Iphone, October 2021

So the evening before I was to leave, I went camera shopping for a new DSLR camera that would be my substitute travel companion to help share my trip and preserve my memories. The first store was wiped out of all cameras except pastel-colored Polaroids that looked like Easter eggs lined up for some five year olds to find, but the second store had a Canon Rebel T-100 that I snapped right up. I put it on the charger overnight and realized the next morning that I would have to make a few sacrifices from my personal bag to avoid checking my luggage – something I avoid at all costs, whether I’m spending two weeks in Europe or five days in Texas. I reluctantly pulled out a couple of books and my extra journal and packed the camera where they had been. There. Done.

Canon Rebel T 100

The one book I kept packed was 100 Things to Do in San Antonio Before You Die by Denise Richter. I planned to make careful notes in the book and then pass it along to a friend who will be traveling to San Antonio this summer. I was packed and ready – new black underwear neatly tucked into a semi-secret suitcase pocket, new camera fully charged – my eyes and camera lens wide open, my ears ready to listen for lessons awaiting me on this journey.

Annotating a travel book to pass along to a friend planning to visit San Antonio is my attempt to keep my footprints helpful and handy!

Deuteronomy 31:8 The LORD is the one who is going ahead of you. He will be with you. He won’t abandon you or leave you. So don’t be afraid or terrified.

8 Replies to “Getting the Picture”

  1. Kim…you precious, conflicted hippie-spirit, wise and guarded soul…you KILLED me with the black underwear story! I swear we are related! Like, closely! You are a freer spirit than am, however, and it is one of the things I love most about you. Once I went with my son on a school band trip to NYC. We had to go through security to board the ferry for the Stature of Liberty and my backpack was the only one chosen for a full search. The grim-faced, colossal female guard seemed to make a show of dumping everything out for all to see…no underwear stashed in there, fortunately, but there were a few unmentionables as one can never be too sure when the Visitor will arrive without warning…I was left scrambling to shove it all back in while my group had already boarded. And… I. NEED. A. GOOD. CAMERA. What do you suggest?? I love living in your mind as you live – and relive! – your journeys.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Fran! Oh, that must have been so embarrassing, and yet I’m sure that every teenage girl in that band was so secretly thanking you for being the one whose bag was searched so it wasn’t them – and you have such a great spirit about taking one for the team.
      Camera suggestion – I love the Rebel T100 because it’s a basic DSLR that is priced reasonably. It has WiFi for easy photo transfer to a phone or tablet and takes more photos per fully charged battery than some similar cameras. I wanted a rechargeable battery since that’s the reason my other camera stopped working – I forgot to take out the batteries and they corroded, plus I was having to buy them frequently. I need to try the Coca Cola trick to see if I can get it working again. Since I really like to include pictures on my blog, I wanted a WiFi feature to make it easier. So far, I’m happy with it. I didn’t need more but didn’t want less. Before my previous trip in October, I purchased an Elph but ended up taking it back because it was too small and didn’t have all the features I wanted. Hope this helps!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your insights! I am determined to take my own good photos for my blog as much as possible. Not to mention capturing my beautiful granddaughters, who are growing SO fast.


  2. Kim,
    I expected a TSA horror story, but you gave me a packing list and some excellent reminders. I don’t check luggage either. My greatest fear when traveling is getting patted down and searched, which happens to me all the time. I have had my underwear and bras on full display (Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix after 9-11).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glenda, travel has changed so much since that day. I’m grateful for the added security and squeamish with the feeling of personal privacy invasion and the very public protocols. Oh, I’m embarrassed for you just thinking about it.


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