NMC080 Traveling Family Packing

Daphine Mbithuka


Dealing with the chaos that comes when packing for a traveling family plus guests.

Whether you are a full-time traveler or not, you must know how overwhelming it can be when it comes to packing for travel. Especially, when you have to pack for the entire family. And as a full-time traveling family, Rosa Linda Román admits this stress happens every time.

Luckily, as she shares in this episode that having learned about KonMari, the process of organizing things in a minimalist approach has helped her so much. And how she does it so perfectly has become her signature even though they keep on struggling with things like having too much luggage. As you follow along this week’s episode of New Mexi-Castaways, you will get to learn more about the KonMari process, how to pack effectively,  and get a hearty laugh about how Rosa Linda had to struggle with moving their suitcases out of their hotel room alone. Enjoy!

P.S. If you liked this episode check out our most recent episode:

NMC078 Portland Oregon

Recorded: July 12, 2018

Location: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

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Episode Transcript:

Rosa Linda Román (00:28): Hello and welcome to New Mexi-Castaways. I'm Rosa Linda Román and I am recording this from the DoubleTree Hotel off of Palm Beach Gardens, Boulevard. I can see from here the pool where Ziva is swimming with her two cousins, Gabriel and Christina who just got in from Chicago yesterday. My dad is sitting there at the pool near them, and he's fully dressed. He just got in from the airport and rather than inconvenience me to go to the car to get his suitcase so he could actually change, he's like, "No, no, no, don't worry, I'm fine." And that's my dad summed up in a minute. He is an incredibly awesome, hardworking, wonderful guy, he's very unassuming, he's a very tiny guy. If you ever see a picture of him he's petite. He's Puerto Rican. He's from Puerto Rico, as many of you know, having listened to my broadcast and he's maybe 4' 10 in height. Rosa Linda Román (01:31): But he packs a punch. He's powerful and strong, but just small. And he's very dark-skinned. So, it's pretty funny when people see me with my dad. I think a lot of times people think he's not my full dad, but he is my full dad, just like my siblings and I. There's five of us. We have a variety of skin tones, which in my opinion makes it a beautiful family. But anyway, he's sitting there and he would never want me to actually be inconvenient to go get his suitcase because we got in from the airport. I picked him up because my sister works for the airline. And so, because of that, my family members often fly standby. My parents fly free. Sarah and her family fly free, which is why my niece and nephew are here. Rosa Linda Román (02:27): All of it is because today is Thursday, so Sunday is my brother Jose's wedding. He and Anna will be getting married after being together for quite some time. I'm not sure what the number of years that they've been together is, but yeah, it's a very exciting time for our family because they're tying the knot. They're actually getting married on a boat in Clearwater, Florida. So, all of our family and many of their friends are coming in for this happy occasion. And because so many people will be going standby, I said, why don't you send some of them in advance because we came a little early so we could throw in some Disney time. Of course, because we love Walt Disney World and we're annual pass holders, so we're trying to make the most out of our passes. Rosa Linda Román (03:21): And so, my family, my immediate family, and I came in on, I don't know, about a week ago. And a big part of why we came in early is because my daughter Ahava, as I've mentioned, she's a competitive gymnast. And in order to keep her training going and be the traveling family that we are, oftentimes she needs to train at other gyms. And so, she came to train at a gym that she actually had never been at before. And that is a gym in Jupiter, Florida. And the reason she picked to train there, I actually wanted her to train in Orlando so we could spend the whole week that she was training going to Disney at our leisure. But she wanted to come to this gym, hang on one second, I'm reaching under a table. Anyway, she wanted to come here because this is where her former coach and some of her former teammates are now at this gym in Jupiter. Rosa Linda Román (04:25): She used to be at Palm Beach Gymnastics, and there were a lot of changes with that gym, including her coach leaving the gym. And so, since we were coming to Florida, she said, "I'd love to train with Coach Bridget again." And I said, "Okay." So, we looked up and talked to Coach Bridget and she said, yeah, she can come and practice. And then, while Ahava went to her first day of gymnastics, Samuel was with me and he saw all the camp kids because it's summertime. And so, they had gymnastics camp and he said, "I want to do that. Please, please, please, please, please." So, we put Samuel in it as well. And so, he's had three full days of gymnastics camp while we've been here so that Ahava can do her training. So, that was nice. And he's been overjoyed. Rosa Linda Román (05:12): And the other part that has been fantastic and everybody's been excited about is that we have been going to the beach every single day, which I love so much, I can't even tell you. We went to Jupiter Beach, which the waves were crazy, crazy, crazy wild. But that did not stop my little boat kids. They were jumping in the waves and acting like, you know, it was going out of style. I mean, these kids were swimming and giving me a heart attack every five minutes. But they love it. And I even went in and got pummeled a few times by the waves. But you know, if you don't know our story, we lived on a boat for the past two years and we just sold the boat about two months ago now. The boat was called the Dawn Treader. And we do miss her. And I think being in Florida makes us all miss being on the boat all the more. Rosa Linda Román (06:07): But it's been nice because we were able to get to the beach and give us a little fix of the ocean while we were here. After I pack up this room today, and then, go pick up Ahava and Samuel from gymnastics, then we will drive up to Orlando, actually, the Kissimmee area because we have several, basically, when we moved off the boat, we didn't know where we were going to go. We had a lot of vague ideas, but we knew we had a camper trip planned with my brother-in-law to Sequim, Washington, which we did take, but because of that, we didn't want to bring all of our stuff off the boat and pack it, you know, put it in a truck or something when we didn't even know where we were going to be going next. Rosa Linda Román (06:55): And so, what we did is we put it in storage in Kissimmee which is near Walt Disney World. So, we did that, put it in storage in Kissimmee. And then, that's where it's been sitting. Well, part of the challenge is we did that kind of in a hurry. And so, some of the things that we did not want in storage ended up getting packed in storage. And so, today we're driving up to Orlando. We're going to go to the storage unit to get a few things before we head to Clearwater tomorrow night to begin the weekend of wedding festivities. The challenge is going to be that we have a rented minivan with seven people in it, my dad, my niece, and nephew, and then, my three kids, and myself takes up every seat. Plus because we're a full-time traveling family, our suitcases will take up every inch of space that we might have. Rosa Linda Román (07:55): So, it's going to be tight to get everything to fit. And that's why I'm enjoying my Zen of going through all of our stuff and consolidating as much as I can because we will not have any extra space for things that, you know, we just have to be very careful. In fact, I was just thinking, we have a cooler that some other family had left by the garbage. And we had seen them packing it up and we knew they were leaving, we had talked to them and they left it because they, you could tell they were trying to fit all their stuff after vacation at Disney, trying to fit it in the car. Oh no, no, it was not Disney, it was here in West Palm Beach. Anyways, so bottom line is we now have a cooler that I would like to hang onto because we're heading from here, you know, to the beach in in Treasure Island, which is Clearwater area or St. Rosa Linda Román (08:50): Pete area. And then, also, after that we're going to Disney and it would be nice to have that just to be able to transport things that are like right now I have a half gallon of milk in the fridge, which I would rather not waste. So, the cooler would be really cool to hang onto. It's a little rolling cooler. It's not super huge, but I'm not sure that's going to fit because that's just one more thing that, you know, how do you fit it all. So, that's what I'm going to be working on for the next hour and I will chat with you some more about what's going on in our lives and just some things on my mind. So, I'm going to go in the other room because we have a joining room and try to pull everything into this room so I can talk a little bit more consistently without going out of range and giving you a bad audio connection. So, please stand by. I will be right back. Rosa Linda Román (09:47): Okay, I'm back. So, I now have everything looking like a bomb hit, but only in one room. We had gotten adjoining rooms, which we don't usually do, but was wonderful because we were able to have the kids in one room and be in the other room with them nearby, but not like on top of us, And then, by the time we got the cousins, we had room for them because we have a king size pullout couch in our room. So, I'm glad we had these two rooms, but trying to get a handle on all the stuff to pack up, to get out the door can be challenging. So, we have a two o'clock checkout, which is awesome and I have to give this shout-out to this particular DoubleTree Hotel. I just feel like everyone has been super awesome, really nice people that work here, very accommodating, very kind, just generally made us feel welcome and wonderful. Rosa Linda Román (10:46): So, if you're ever in the West Palm Beach area and you need a hotel, DoubleTree on Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach Gardens, I don't know if that's PGA, but Palm Beach Gardens drive and military trail is a very nice hotel and I love that because my husband's a Hilton Diamond member because he travels so much for work. They had this separate lounge for us and a reception in the evenings where we could get grown-up beverages, and snacks, and whatnot. And then, nice breakfast every morning with very nice people. Anyway, so that's one of the things I'm thinking about is that thank goodness we are in a hotel where they're super accommodating and letting me check out at 2:00 PM because then I can drive after this after we get them from gymnastics. Rosa Linda Román (11:43): Hopefully, I will be ready to go to the next hotel. And then, I was also, let's see, so while I was on the little break moving stuff into this room to make the job a little easier, I was chuckling at myself thinking, "Well, what do I want to talk about?" Because as you know, if you've listened for any length of time, a lot of times it's just Rosa Linda's ramblings, which may or may not be of interest to every person listening, right? So, I tried to think, well who is listening? And I hopefully by the time this is published because that's like the thing I'm terrible at is actually publishing things. But by the time you're listening to this, hopefully, I will have already understood my audience and figured out who is listening. But let's just say if, since at this time of this recording I don't know who actually might be listening to my recordings and I was thinking about what might be of interest to you guys. Rosa Linda Román (12:38): And one of the things that I thought about is you probably found us because we lived on the boat, the Dawn Treader. And so, maybe some news of interest relating to boating would be good. Also, maybe because we're a full-time traveling family, that that might have brought you to my channel. So, I was sitting here folding and just kind of the way things are spread out in this room, I'll have to take a picture and post it. If you're interested in kind of getting more of the insider stuff, I post stuff in my Facebook group, New Mexi-Castaways, and that's where I share more of the pictures and the inside stuff relating to our travels. So, you can look for, it's facebook.com/newmexicast if you want to see that. But I'll take a picture and show you guys what this room looks like and it's hilarious. Rosa Linda Román (13:37): But I really do have a method to my madness and people who know me, who have listened for a while, they know that's just how it goes. It takes me a few hours to get us packed up, but then I can find things again. And specifically, what I was thinking about is I'm sitting here folding Samuel's underwear, which are adorable little boy briefs, which sorry if that offends you, but it made me smile thinking, here I am recording a podcast and folding little boy's underwear in a special KonMari way. If you are new to my channel, you may not know what that means. Basically, the way that we moved out of our house in New Mexico onto the boat and were able to downsize enough to do that was a system called KonMari, which is Marie Condo's Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book. That system taught me how to downsize enough to be able to, you know, to get rid of stuff to fit onto the boat. Rosa Linda Román (14:38): And so, part of that system is, it has to do with how you fold clothes. And I was sitting there folding my little boy's underwear so that they fit perfectly in his little suitcase. And it made me laugh because I thought, "Well, if I was new to traveling family I suppose that would be some good advice to share." So, if you're listening to this and you're new to family travel, I definitely recommend you get that book and do it to your house, but also, do the KonMari system for your traveling because that's what I use to fold the clothes and get everything neatly in order so that we can actually travel relatively lightly. A funny sidebar is we went on that camper trip with my brother-in-law, Ari, and I think the biggest part of this traveling lifestyle for me is the realization that it's all about relationships, everything, not just traveling, but life. Rosa Linda Román (15:40): For me, the most important thing is connecting with people we love. That informs my travel. A lot of my travel decisions are made to make sure we make connections with people we love. And we did that here in Jupiter with some of our dear friends from the gymnastics world. And we did that with my brother-in-law. We, you know, took the camper and went up to Sequim, Washington. And as we were having kind of a heart-to-heart talk between him and my husband, who is his brother, he made a comment about how he needs some extra time, like when we are about to change the plan or go somewhere because we're such last minute, you know, spontaneous people. He said he really needs a little bit of a heads up like to say, "Hey, it's going to be about 20 minutes and then we're going to be out the door." Which is totally valid and fair. Rosa Linda Román (16:31): And he said, "Because I can't do this thing with my clothes like Rosa does and…" The family calls me Rosa. And he said, "You know, I need time to be able to fold the stuff and put the stuff in the suitcase and stuff like that." And everybody laughed because that is my thing. I do the KonMari. It's almost like ninja packing or something and it's kind of my signature and the inside joke for anyone who knows me is I move slowly, but I do it in a very methodical thorough way and it works and we fit seven people plus all their full-time traveling luggage in a Chrysler minivan. Yeah, so there's a benefit. It's not super-efficient and fast, but I like it. The other thing I was thinking about that you might be interested in is I have this piece of luggage, it was a high Sierra rolling backpack that I always used as kind of our collective electronics carry-on. Rosa Linda Román (17:35): And it broke as we were trying to use public transportation to get around downtown Seattle. I was dragging my huge suitcase up these crazy hills. Who knew? I didn't think about the fact that Seattle has big hills and this long-time piece of luggage of mine broke and the handle just like severed, and flew, and was not fixable in terms of, like, I couldn't repair it. But I was able to buy some duct tape and salvage it for the rest of the trip, but I would have to duct tape it in place to hold it so that we could get onto the plane. But then standing there in the aisle, we'd have to uptake the duct tape off so that we could pack it up or, you know, collapse the handle so I could put the bag up in the overhead bin. Rosa Linda Román (18:27): And so, we had several flights to get here to Florida from Seattle and that was our process. We would, you know, duct tape the suitcase, and then, have to un-duct tape it, and re-duct tape it once the flight landed so that I could get off the plane with all of our stuff and all of that. So, it was very nice, this trip. We made a point to a nearby outlet mall and we got me a brand-new Samsonite Pro 4 DLX vertical spinner mobile office and it's so awesome. It has the wheels that spin all the way around. It's got four wheels instead of two like I'm used to and I love it. So, part of my KonMari process is thinking, okay, what's going to fit in this suitcase versus what's going to go in our normal suitcases. Rosa Linda Román (19:20): So, that's another thing that came out of our recent travel adventures. The other thing is, if you are listening because you are interested in both things, one of the things on my mind this week has to do with some of our, they're not really friends because I've never met them, but when you're cruising and living on a boat you tend to connect with people, fellow cruisers, especially, ones with kids near your kids' ages. And so, there's a family, their boat is named Totem and it's BM and Jamie Gifford, I believe is their last name. We've connected just privately through Messenger a few times. We had invited them to join us for Passover and that was in The Bahamas, I believe. But their schedule and ours didn't match. And then, we had another moment where they were coming into Puerto Penasco, Mexico and that's where they had their boat hauled out after circumnavigating. Rosa Linda Román (20:22): And I sent her a note and said, "Hey, we have a condo there. If you have any interest, you know, in kind of pampering yourselves for a few days to celebrate your circumnavigation let us know." And the timing didn't work out for that either, but, you know, we had a nice conversation and I I'm very fond of her based on her writing. And she wrote the book called Voyaging with Kids. Well, she was one of the co-authors of that book. So anyway, I got such a kick this week seeing, so they were moving from their boat to shore for a bit because their oldest son who has, I think he lived on the boat since he was maybe nine, I could be misquoting, but for a long time they've been doing it for almost 10 years, I think. And they just circumnavigated. Rosa Linda Román (21:08): Anyway, they were interviewed on the Today Show with Megyn Kelly, I think it was. And it was just so fun to watch this family that has been and they're much more like, I don't know, hardcore is maybe the wrong word, but very they are like real sailors. They have a mono haul and instead of having a washer and dryer or being at a marina, they, you know, wash their laundry in a bucket. And so, they're a little bit more, earthy is not the right word either. I can't think of the right word, but not as, we had a lot more luxuries as we were living on the boat than I think they had. But I loved the way that in the interview it was, you know, it's not about how you do it because there's a lot of people who say, "Well, I would love to do that." Rosa Linda Román (22:04): In fact, I was at Disney World this week and one of the guys from the vacation club, super, great, nice guy, you know, when he found out that we had been living on a boat, he goes, "Oh, that's my dream." And I said, "Oh well you got to pursue your dream." And it turns out he was. He actually has a lagoon of his own, oh no, he doesn't have a lagoon for yet, but he's sailing. And that's his dream is to have a lagoon, which is like what we had. Anyway, so, you know, I think sometimes there are those people, many people who think about their dream and think they can't do it. They think it's not possible. And one of the comments people make are, "Well, I I'm not a sailor so I could never live on a boat." Rosa Linda Román (22:50): Well, I was not a sailor when we started. I learned by being on the boat, granted I had the benefit of having a husband who is a sailor, and he could teach me, and I could, you know, keep us all safe, and we're a good partnership. I think we're a good team because we have different skill sets. You know, I'm all about communication, which served us very well I think in tight quarters as a family. And I'm always working on systems just like my folding KonMari system. I'm always working on those things. And he's really great with mechanical systems, and so, we are a good balance for that. But I'm just saying that there are a lot of people who have a lot of reasons that they can't live their dreams. And I loved the interview with BN and Jamie and their kids because it was just talking about how people can do it and just, you know, don't live for the future. Dream of living your dream, dream, live your dream. And that's really, really great advice. Rosa Linda Román (23:48): So, that is what's on my mind. I wanted to talk about some other things, but I can't think of it right this second. So, I'm going to pause, take another break, gather my thoughts, and kind of assess where I am because I'm starting to get nervous on time. I think I have about 40 minutes and about 30 minutes to get out the door. So, I'm going to pause and do some power-folding and packing, and then, I will come back to wrap it up in minutes. Rosa Linda Román (24:22): Okay. I am done packing up the room. It's about 20 minutes past when we were supposed to be out and I have a crazy dilemma right now of having everything packed up. But the kids and my dad are still downstairs at the pool and I can't carry everything by myself. So, I'm lining stuff up in the hallway so I can get out of the housekeeping people's way. And well, at the same time, trying to gather our stuff little by little. You cannot believe the amount of stuff we have. And when we get to the car, I don't know how I'm going to get it all in there. Yeah, it's all our stuff. I'm trying to move it by myself. The kids are down at the pool. Speaker 1 (25:22): Why don't you [indiscernible 25:20]. Rosa Linda Román (25:22): I know. And I kept yelling their names and they don't answer their phone. So, I'm doing it in a creative way. So, those were some people that were at the pool that just came by and I was laughing. I was like, "Oh, my gosh." Anyway, so yeah. So, I got everything packed up, but how I'm going to get it from the hallway down to our actual car and once I get down to the car how I'm hit it all is a mystery. But hopefully, I will pull it up. I'll keep the [indiscernible 26:00]. For now, I'm going to get out of the room, do one last check of everything and that's it. But I just wanted you to listen to the chaos of what happens when you try to pack a traveling family plus guests, plus, plus, plus in the middle of the just busy time of year. We're busy, busy in and around, going from different times, I mean, from different climates. So, we've got a lot more stuff than we need, but you know, we took some stuff that was definitely not needed for Florida from, just because it's been in our suitcases. So, now all of our stuff is in the hallway with nobody watching it. I'm going to do a quick once over to make sure that we're not forgetting cables, cords, wires, chargers, these usual suspects, and that's all I'm doing, and then, I'm out of here. Hopefully, we got everything. That's all I can say. I'm going to leave this open until I get this stuff moved. I wish my family would get back here. Rosa Linda Román (27:19): The glamorous life of a traveling family. All I'm doing now is just moving it out of the main hallway. I have it against the walls. Actually, let me take a picture for you guys, and then, I'll try to move it all into the elevator, and then, move it from the elevator to the car. Yeah, so I am going to pause again. Rosa Linda Román (27:45): All right. My dad just finally answered his phone. So, he is going to come up and help me move all this stuff, which is pretty funny that I have all this stuff and he's going to have a heart attack when he sees how much stuff we have. So, yeah, I just wanted to let you guys hear the chaos. That is our traveling life sometimes. But in the end, I think it's worth it because we get to connect with so many people we love, but sometimes, especially, when my sweetheart has a business trip like he left for this morning and we have guests coming in, it makes it interesting, to say the least. But never a dull moment. And I hope you guys are having adventures, wonderful adventures wherever you are. I'm going to let you guys go and hopefully, have some more coherent recordings coming soon. If you like Rosa Linda's Ramblings aka New Mexi-Castaways, please let know by either sending me a note at rlr@newmexicast.com or you can also put a review on your favorite podcast app, whether it's iTunes, or Google Play, or whatever. And yeah, so I hope you guys take care and I'll talk to in the near future. Bye.

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