I just got back from my 5th Laser Masters Worlds with Doug and I’ve drawn a line in the sand. Never again!! Not ever, no way, no exceptions!! Something has to change.
Every year, Doug leaves a week early and I join him a day or two before the event starts. I plan my packing so that everything (all my stuff, all the
team shirts, and Doug’s last minute forgotten items) easily fits into my
luggage, which is all wheeled so that I can handle it unassisted. On the return trip, Doug and I travel together and I
am punished for my efficiency.
Doug travels with this massive, 50”, soft-sided, duffel bag that could easily fit a grown man inside. The reason - it is the only luggage he has been able to find that his 47” hiking stick will fit into. For years I have tried to get him to switch to something else and for years I end up getting all of my luggage with one hand while dragging half of his with the other.
This year, while hurriedly dragging his body bag off the train the middle of
ITA, I just started laughing hysterically and almost wet myself right then and
there. Remember, he is recovering from
two broken ribs. One train, one bus, two
shuttles, one hotel, and two planes, all of which all seemed to be connected with
lots of walking in between, not a lot of time to connect, and few carts or
porters available. We alternated between
dragging, tripping, swearing, dropping, and desperately hunting for carts or assistance
all the way home. Every single person
that helped us, or almost tripped over us, asked what was in the bag with Doug telling
them it was his cousin or grandmother.
By the time we got to the second to last airport, I was done. Broken ribs or not, my hands and muscles were trashed and he was going to get that damn bag himself. I went ahead with my luggage and when I looked back, there was this helpless looking, old man, with both hands behind his back dragging one side of this massive bag and his knees were literally buckling as he struggled to take each step. I struggled not to laugh out loud but let this go one for about 100 yards then finally stopped him and asked if he was finally ready to burn the dang bag when we got home. He agreed and I pointed to the carts that were lined up outside that he had not yet seen. When we finally arrived home, Doug could not understand why his ribs hurt more now than they did the entire time he was competing.
So … for all his talent on the race course, he has not solved this issue and it would appear that everyone else already has. How do you travel with your hiking stick?