Few things induce the kind of anxiety that travel does. Not the actual travel, mind you, but the suitcase-packing that precedes it. My wife wants to travel light, I want to get representatives from each of our rooms, from the kitchen to the bedroom accommodated in the suitcase.

Years ago whenever we were preparing for a vacation, someone (usually my son) would shout, "Dad’s packing." Two simple words, but it got the household into a frenzy of activity. My wife would come rushing in and ask me to leave the room and relax (or the other way round). My son would overturn the suitcase I had just been filling up with essentials like books and basketballs and my favourite pillow. My reputation as a packer would take another nose dive.

The family rules were: travel light, pack early, ensure dad doesn’t do it. I was reminded of that when my wife and I set about packing recently for our first trip in two years. Traditionally, I read somewhere, men tend to start packing five minutes before leaving home while women plan for at least a month and might have been packing for longer. Not in our household. Both of us begin packing early, one to keep adding to what is already there, the other to keep removing.

Not only do I pack too many things, I am told, I pack too many unnecessary things. But what if you had a sudden urge to play basketball, or an uncontrollable craving for eating cookies baked by my mother? And if my wife suddenly said, "Wish we had a tajine," I could dig into the suitcase and come up with the pot.

I remind my wife of Robert Scott, the British explorer who lost the race to the South Pole. He didn’t travel light on that trip. In fact, travelling light is a modern fad.

Scott and his men carried gramophones, Russian novels, a study of the Napoleonic wars, and more. When a search party finally found their corpses, they found on Scott’s sled 35 pounds of rocks containing late Paleozoic fossils which the men had dragged 400 miles. Had they dumped the rocks, Scott and his men might have survived.

Scott is my hero – I can just imagine Mrs Scott telling him to pack light for a trip to the South Pole and the adventurer ignoring her. I don’t have that kind of strength. I whine a bit and then give in.

But this travelling light fad is getting out of hand. Travel light, arrive quickly is a cliché. I once travelled abroad with just the clothes on my back. The flight was delayed by two hours. I rest my case.

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