Back to Work (aka What I’m Packing for the Next 4 Months)

I’m stepping away from my usual running chit-chats to let you know what’s going on over here in “Water” World.

I fully admit. I am a very lucky person. I have a job which enables me to travel while I do what I love (comedy, friends!).

This week is probably one of the more stressful weeks I ever have doing this job, however. We are preparing to head to Chicago for a two week rehearsal period, and then off to our next ship for about four months. Once we get to Chicago, it’s easy to give ourselves over to the process when surrounded by our fellow actors, and wonderfully supportive producers and directors, but getting there is always a ride.

This means packing, learning lines, studying DVDs and then more packing.

This is how you're SUPPOSED to do it photo credit: 917press via photopin cc
This is how you’re SUPPOSED to do it
photo credit: 917press via photopin cc

So much packing.

We are getting pretty good at it, but there are facts like this: we’ll be packing for 3 seasons. That’s right. Two weeks of this craptacular polar insanity (Winter) in Chicago, Sundays in New York City from late March (Spring) onwards, and then Caribbean-ish temperatures until late July (Summer).

Regular Clothes:

  • Coat
  • Hat
  • Scarf
  • Gloves
  • Jeans
  • Boots
  • Sweater
  • Shirts
  • Shorts
  • Tank tops
  • Dress
  • Shoes (dress, casual, sandals)

The trick is, how much of everything. Inevitably, we end up coming home with clothes that we didn’t wear once the whole time we were at sea, so I’m going to work hard at packing “outfits” rather than piles of pieces.

This is pretty typical cruise wear. photo credit: Darkain Multimedia via photopin cc
This is pretty typical cruise wear.
photo credit: Darkain Multimedia via photopin cc

Show Stuff:

  • Three Show outfits + improv clothes
  • Show shoes
  • Tights
  • Jewelry and accessories
  • Make Up
  • Hair Dryer
  • Product

The trick to show stuff is to buy quality pieces (with a little stretch) that will last, even if they cost a little more. You don’t want to bust a seam during a show and whatever you buy has to stand up to the ship’s laundry. We’ll be doing our shopping when we get to Chicago, where the prices are better than in Toronto. This, of course, means we have to leave that much more extra room in our suitcases when we leave home.

Then there’s the gym stuff:

  • Resistance bands
  • Foam Roller
  • Yoga Mats
  • Yoga Blocks
  • Workout Clothes
  • Running Shoes
  • Gym Shoes
  • Weight Gloves

The gym is our true refuge on some of these contracts. Ship food is fattier and saltier than the food you’d make at home, and so you need a place to work off the excess calories you’re inadvertently taking in. The trick is to bring your own yoga mats because – well, lord knows how many people have downward dogged on those ship’s mats. Second trick, bring a few more pieces of gym clothes than you think you might need so your excuse can never be “I can’t work out, I’m out of shirts”.

Multiple pairs of shoes are key. photo credit: eccampbell via photopin cc
Multiple pairs of shoes are key.
photo credit: eccampbell via photopin cc

And of course our “stay sane” stuff:

  • Mini-blender (NutriBullet)
  • Measuring cups
  • Sound Machine
  • Hard Drives full of TV and Movies
  • X-Box & Games
  • Computers
  • Power Cords

There is inevitably going to be a day (or night) when we just want some quiet time. The trick is to balance work and play in a healthy way.

We usually travel with one big suitcase each, plus a large duffel bag and a garment bag. This time around, because of our ports of call, we are tempted to pack a golf bag with a partial set of each of our clubs. This, of course, means that we have to cut back on of our usual bags (2 suitcases, 1 duffel, 1 garment bag, plus carry-ons).

That’s making my head swim.

Sounds like it’s time to go study some scripts…

Do you have any great packing tips?


tabethawells View All →

I am an actor/writer/director based in Chicago, IL.

3 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Roll everything and leave extra space should you find something great in your travels to bring home. Also, pack extra zip lock bags. You never know when you will need them for toiletries, wet/soiled clothes, etc. Put plastic wrap on the tops of shampoo bottles, then put the caps on over the plastic–seals in any potential spills. I think that is it. lol. Safe travels!


    • These are great tips! You can never have to many zip lock bags on hand.

      Rolling is a great space saver (especially when coupled with a ziplock bag to get all the air out), but you have to be careful when rolling things, too. You can get so many things crammed in your suitcase you can easily end up going over your 50 lb bag allowance at the airport.
      We have one of those portable travel scales to weigh our bags as we go, and spread the joy between suitcases as much as possible.

      • You are absolutely correct on the rolling! I did that once going to Disneyland and I had to wear my Tink wings through LAX and everyone was joking with me, asking why I was at the airport, when I could fly home. lol.

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