Send Your Excess Baggage Packing

By , SparkPeople Blogger
By Drew Newbold
aka TubbyHubby340

This is your captain speaking. This blog will be cruising at an altitude of 40,000 feet. Skies are sunny, and we should be reaching our destination right on schedule. Once the seat belt signs are off, please feel free to move about the cabin and the flight attendants will be coming by to get your drink orders soon. So sit back, relax, have a pleasant read, and thank you for flying with the dailySpark.

Ahhhh, travel. Some people prefer planes, others trains; the wife and I just love a good road trip. No matter what your preferred mode of transit, great trips start with two simple steps I like to refer to as the yin and yang of travel. Planning and packing. How well you plan and what you pack, can make the difference between time well spent or a hellish nightmare. The kind of nightmare that would make any sane person give up on the idea of travel all together.

Planning may have the most impact on the success or failure of a trip, but packing the right things is crucial. Flip flops and a two piece will not bode well in the bone-chilling weather of the Alaskan Wilderness. Conversely, a fur-lined parka and snowshoes may be a tad out of place on the big island of Hawaii. Taking the right things is really a no brainer as long as common sense is employed. Itís the things you don't take with you that sometimes make the difference between a great trip and one thatís hindered by superfluous baggage. Hereís an example.

When backpacking in the Himalayas, the bare essentials are all you need. After all, you have to carry your life around on your back for the next week or so. Your Starbucks home edition espresso machine and your laptop arenít gonna fly with the local Sherpas. Creature comforts are the first to go. I think itís funny that all those things you rely on to make life easier at home, can make it that much harder to get to where youíre going when you travel.

When I recently embarked on a journey, and I had to leave behind several things to make sure that it was a successful one. When I started this road trip to health a couple months ago, there were things about it that I had to accept right out of the gate. I realized that the journey I was making would be about as easy as the Donner Party crossing the Sierras. My will would be tested and hunger would most likely be inevitable at certain points along the way. There was no room on my proverbial pack mule for all the comforting excuses and rationalizations I usually had along for the ride. This wasnít gonna be a leisurely coastal drive with four star hotels and valet parking. This was the fast and furious, pee-in-a-bottle-cause-we-ainít-gonna stop kind of a road trip.

The planning part was easy. is like AAA when it comes to these kinds of trips. I told them where I wanted to go and they helped me figure out how long it would take and the best way to get there. They armed me with an arsenal of maps and travel guides that gave me stuff to check out along the way. All the fluids were checked and I made sure things were mechanically sound. That part was easy for sure. It was my careless packing that almost took me out of the race for the umpteenth time.

The things I would need to take with me were all pretty straightforward: Better eating habits, a positive outlook, some serious determination, consistent regular exercise and brutally realistic expectations. The stuff I didn't need to take wasnít even on my radar. Anxious to get going, I just tore through my closet and threw some stuff in a duffle bag, not noticing the skeletons that decided to ride shotgun.

As I started to ease on down the road, things went pretty smoothly. But the first hill I encountered proved to be a beast. It wreaked havoc on my mental gas mileage and almost caused my intestinal fortitude to seize up on me. During past trips I would just ignore it and push forward, not wanting to deal. A dangerous line of thinking. This time I knew I had to stop and find out what was causing the problem. Digging through the trunk, I was amazed at what had been blindly packed in the bowels of my baggage.

The time I had to ask for a seat belt extension on a plane to Chicago was in there. The entire cheesecake I ate just because I was bored. The stress of never being good enough was omnipresent. The incessant need to please others and neglecting my own happiness, neatly tucked under a stack of underwear. My childhood struggles of going without, and the subsequent binge eating that would occur when I did have it, popped up in some pocket I never knew existed. And that was just the duffel bag!

In my shaving kit, I found all sorts of excuses I had used to sabotage previous trips. I usually pulled those out when I felt like things weren't going according to plan. "I am just a big guy." "It must be genetic." "My knees are bad." "I just need to accept who I am." "I am too heavy to do this thing right." "I am not losing it fast enough." "We don't have the time or money to do this." ďItís all or nothing. If it isnít perfect whatís the point!Ē The rationalizations and excuses I used my crutch and my comfort, sounded like whiney backseat brats on the way to Grandma's, riding their parents' last nerve. I honestly donít know how that all fit in such a small space.

Kicking my ballast to the curb that day has made all the difference in my success this time around. My trip is far from over, but I know that I will have enough gas to make it to the end finally. Sure there will be times along the way where the skies get gray and start to rain on my wonderful parade, and thatís OK. Itís still better than being a passenger on the couch as life passes by outside the window. Iím in the driverís seat now, and it feels good!

Drew (aka TubbyHubby340) joined SparkPeople in September 2009 and has become obsessed with blogging despite no experience with it. A graphic designer, he has really taken a liking to writing and, based on the positive response, may consider a career change in the near future.

Drew hails from Northern California, where he has been married to his high school sweetheart Erin (aka SweetErina71) for 20 years. They have two very creative and hard-headed children, Taylor, 20, and Abbey Road, 17.

When Drew is not blogging or at the gym, he is a bass player and vocalist in a Dirty Punk Blues band in his hometown. Along with being a movie and art nut, he has a passion for music, pop culture and trivia.

What excess baggage have you shed during your journey to a healthier you?

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Thank you for naming what was preventing you from moving forward and for going deeper than the cliches we all use. Hearing the specifics was helpful...and took courage. Thank you. Report
Great blog here, I love the humor in your writing. Report
This was a great read, and very timely as well. I have just come to the realization that one of the main reasons that have kept me from managing my weight is emotional baggage. I am determined to deal with these now and lead a healthy life with a clean slate! Report
So much fun to read, thank you! Report
Great blog! I like the metaphores. Thank you Report
Great blog.. love the writing,and nice to know i am not the only one.
happy Traveling. Report
Yep. Dump the excess baggage. Can't fly like an eagle when one is loaded down like a pack mule (or a**).
This is one of your better blogs...focused and ideas tie in well together.

I've shed the baggage called "eating a ton of food will make things better". Report
Wonderful blog. I'm going to print this to take on my road trip next week. I've been so afraid that it was going to ruin everything I've overcome. Thanks! Report
What a great read, your writing took me to new heights. All the best with your planned career change, you can fly! Report
I have read several of your blogs. You are truly talented and amazing at expressing yourself. I will keep this blog close as it really hit home for me.

Keep writing,

Doe Report
This was a great blog entry. I never thought of it from this point of view. But it is amazing how true the comparisons are. Thanks. Great writing. Report
This is good! Report
Great job on this blog!! u are awesome! Report
Thank you very much for this great blog. I absolutly understand your plans to a career change, because your writing skills are a flame! Go for it! Report
"I was amazed at what had been blindly packed in the bowels of my baggage." Holy crap, I almost spit coffee all over my computer!!! HILARIOUS!!!

Good luck to you, man!
Awesome blog-I love your sense of humour! Keep up the good work : ) Report
This was an incredible blog. One of my favorite things to do is travel and i am always the "planner girl" with a list for everything, so why should this fitness change be any different....what a fantastic way to look at things! Report
Great blog, Drew. I recognized some of my own baggage as duplicates of yours. Report
Great Blog. I would have written it myself had I thought of it. Keep you travel going on you AAA (SP) journey. Report
What a wonderful analogy! In the last couple of years, I have really learned to travel light. I hope I can learn your tips for traveling light in terms of my health. Thanks for the inspiration! Report
Love the analogy that Sparkpeople is like AAA! Report
Awesome blog! Totally makes sense, so much truth and with such a sense of humor, I loved it!!
Charlotte Report
Great blog. I thought it was going to give travel tips, but I liked this better. Made me think... I've been going thru my own baggage for a couple of years now but hadn't really made the connection to using it for my journey here. Report
Timely indeed - I almost talked myself out of a swim because I am on "the girl thing." I decided to talk myself into it, though. No more curled up in a ball feeling crappy Shu. Time for gonna swim through it Shu. Report
What a creative writer!!! Very interesting!!! Congratulations on all counts!!! Report
Great blog, Drew!!! Report
I enjoyed your creative way of describing your journey. It's interesting how new doors open for us! Keep blogging!
Karen Report
Totally enjoyed the blog. Boy, did it hit home. (VBG) Report
Awesome blog! Makes me want to re-assess my travel plans! I am sure I can find plenty of things to unload and still have enough to sustane me up and down through the hills, woods and clouds. Thanks CaptainDrew! Report
I've saved this blog because I'll need to re-read it many times - what a gem you've created. Thanks so much - I think you've pushed all the right buttons for me to get going!! Report
Gosh I enjoy your writing, mostly the analogies you come up with, such as..."The rationalizations and excuses I used my crutch and my comfort, sounded like whiney backseat brats on the way to Grandma's, riding their parents' last nerve." --I could totally picture it in my head and completely identify with it.

Thanks for the interesting read and the strong message you leave behind in every story shared. Report
You are such a G! Report
Hi Drew, well I'm nearly a month on the road to health and fitness now - a couple of months behind you and just completed a goal I made last week - to exercise every day for at least 20-30 minutes! Well, I had a large backpack full of excuses, including a rather stuffed sleeping bag. Know what I did? I left it by the roadside and hitched a ride with Spark - that got me all the way to my destination this week and I am going to contribute some fuel money and continue the trip! Report
I was totally sucked in by this one. I started to read it because I thought, "oh, they're giving some travel tips now". LOL But that being said, it was a wonderful article and it really made me think. Obviously this guy has made a commitment and he's on this trip for real. I guess I need to decide if I'm really on this trip or still just thinking about it?! Thanks. Report
You caused me to contemplate the contents of my backpack. Here I thought it was the high altitiude hiking that caused my breathlessness! When did I pack the nachos?
Good luck on your life journey. Janet Report
Great blog! Like my quote, I too think about excess baggage a lot. We need to clean out the old, bad stuff and replenish with quality new "stuff". Once you find out what you have to let go of, the trip gets so much easier! Report
You described me perfectly. I started to tear up actually! Report
Drew - Congrats on your guest blog. Excellent as always. Report

Excellent blog, as usual. But seriously, become a writer already! :-D

Your comparison was awesome! This road we travel is so very much like packing to go on a trip. Baggage we bring can help or hinder. I really enjoyed your blog. BTW: I live on the Big Island of Hawaii and sometimes you DO need a parka and snowshoes - especially the last couple of days, when we had a light dusting of snow on Mauna Kea... Brrrrr!!!! ;-P Report
Now I'm scared to open up my suitcase or shaving kit!!! I don't want all that stuff to get out and beat me! I guess it IS scary to travel, but the destination is so worth it that we keep moving forward on our journey. Great blog - thanks sparkfriend. Report
I seriously enjoyed this blog. The way u carried it into the weight loss was just priceless. Love surprises and this was a great read. U really SHOULD be writing professionally.
Kudos on the weight loss so far and have a wonderful journey.
As for your comment on your sparkpage "I have been here before and I hope I will not be here again. I can't be here again. I don't think I could handle one more time of reaching a goal and then completely losing it!" I totally get what u meant to say but I must add one thing: WE are all in it for LIFE. This isn't a part time journey anymore. You don't reach your goals and then get pardoned. You continue your "healthy" journey from here on. It's like a wonderful vacation that goes on forever. It's a new lifestyle and therefor, u have nothing to fear about "being here again" cuz this is where u live NOW. It's our personal "heaven". We've all found it and want to stay. Iris. Report
Drew, you are a rock star! I gobble up everything you write, and it resonates so strongly! Great post. Very real, and very familiar. I'm with you on the journey! Report
Wow! Great blog. It is great to see people put into words some of the things I am feeling. You are a talented writer, keep it up. Report
What a GREAT blog!!!!!! Thank you for sharing you ROCK! Report
This was a delightful blog, I love the analogy of a trip to this journey. Yes excess baggage is something to get rid of at the earlies time in the journey. Keep writing you have a knack for it, its fun and makes you think. :D Report
The extra baggage I often carry is the thought that I need to be "perfect" to be successful. That slows me down from really making progress because if I can't be perfect I feel like why should I try? I'm learning, slowly, to live in a state of grace... allowing myself to mess up and forgiving myself and giving myself a second chance. As I heard at a meeting recently... if you stumble while climbing up a staircase you don't then throw yourself down the rest of the stairs, do you? So why do I get tempted to throw in the towel every time I get off track with my eating? Grr... Report
great blog Report
I absolutely love the way you use metaphor when you write. It makes your blogs some of the most enjoyable things I will read in a day. It's awesome to read you on the daily Spark now, too! Keep up the great work. Report
Great blog Drew!! Keep on writing! You are really good at it! :-D
Thanks for helping by pulling out all of those things that are hidden in our baggage. Report
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