In moments like these, I wish I were an ascetic packer, traveling with hardly any accessories. No muss, no fuss. No excess. The sort of person who takes five minutes to get ready for the day and is done with the primping and preening. An early morning person. Uncomplicated… or, at least, less complex.
This is not the case. It cannot be. If that, then this. At very least, I’d have to cut my hair short to achieve at least a bit of that über-minimalism I’m talking about. A Natalie Portman cut—less V for Vendetta, more Hotel Chevalier. And, the times I want this the most – at least when it comes to the packing – are when I’m on the road.
I contemplate the dream, weighing the potential and practicality of a new, simpler mode as I head through the security screening, and then to the gate, and ultimately nestle into my window seat, where I am so crowded by my multiple carry-ons that I feel both muffled and somewhat buoyed as we’re set for takeoff. All I thought I might need surrounds me. And chokes me. Where is Marie Kondo now, when I most need her? Perhaps my multiple sleep masks, with different levels of plush, are marring my sight. I toss them into my seat pocket, gazing out at the landscape. It quickly drops away from me, houses and neighborhoods becoming tiny and poetic. Little Boxes plays in my head.
But wait, this is not that kind of story, a precious, sentimental tome that will soon be acquired to be made into a film starring Julia Roberts “finding herself” across three countries starting with the letter “I”. And it won’t be Juliette Binoche operating a sweet shop and having a dalliance with Johnny Depp either, nor Diane Lane fixing up a ramshackle villa in Tuscany. Object of intrigue, the leading lady falls in love with the neighbor and decides to stay. No. While my luggage is excessive, the story is both more realistic and vividly outrageous all in one. Less Disney, more Ghibli. Pan’s Labyrinth meets National Geographic, how about that?
In any case, my late arrival in Dublin (Ryanair!) means I have less than an hour between landing and train departure from the station downtown. There’s public transport but it will take too long… So, off to Heuston I head in a taxi, enjoying the cheerful brogued storytelling from the driver and the feeling of riding on the “wrong” side of the road.
I’m happily on time for the train, and the train is late, to boot, so there’s even enough time to pick up a travel drink (chai tea) and a snack (Galaxy Minstrels!) from M&S. All fine. The ride is beautiful, with views of Irish wild landscape, sun illuminating a green unlike any other. Arrivals in Killarney in the dark. Full moon. The beams of our headlamps surprise several deer on the way to the lodge, their bright obsidian eyes catching the light for a few instants before they bound away into the thicket. I consider these deer a sign of luck, especially given what waits to be discovered.