Next week, I’m heading to Orlando for the ADDA conference (you can still register HERE), where I’ll be presenting on “The Secret Lives of Women with ADHD.”
It’s an exciting time to re-connect with old friends, make new friends, network, but most of all, to be with my “tribe”- adults with ADHD. This is the only place in the world where we can be with hundreds of other adults, forgetting names, losing keys, wallets and phones, stumbling and knocking into things…without a single person batting an eye or saying something hurtful. It’s a time to rejuvenate, to laugh (and sometimes cry), sharing our ADHD stories- good and bad.
Of course, it’s also a time to learn all about the latest research and treatment and there are tons and tons of sessions that offer tremendous resources and tips for everyday issues of living with ADHD.
Though you may not be able to attend this year, I do hope you start saving for next year, because it truly is a life altering experience.
ADHD doesn’t go away, but it can be tamed. In fact, my ADHD comes out in full force when I plan my ADDA trip or traveling in general. It can take me a solid week to get everything together: materials for my session, papers printed, child care, pet sitting, etc., but…the hardest thing for me to manage is the dreaded packing.
It makes sense, doesn’t it?
It taps into all of our ADHD challenges: planning, procrastinating, prioritizing, making decisions, and all the rest. As an ADDA family “member” (I was on the board for years and still serve on the professional advisory board), I’m involved in many activities. That calls for oh, about 100 outfits to figure out and pack.
I wish I had a simple solution to offer you– it’s rarely an easy task for us- but here are some tips that have helped me; maybe they will help you, as well, as you head out for a summer vacation.
- Keep Records of Past Outfits
For every travel excursion, I keep a record of what I wore, what the occasion was, location and season. This way, I can go back and get ideas for future outfits without having to start from square one. You can even take a photo of each outfit- or even you in the outfit.
Keep a file on your computer of essentials you need to bring with you, ie medications, toiletries, etc. If you tend to travel a lot, keep a small bag already packed with duplicate items so you can just toss it– or even keep- in your suitcase.
- First Things First
Pack items you cannot travel without: eyeglasses/contacts, medications, travel documents.
- Choosing Outfits
Open a computer file (or jot down on paper, if you prefer), listing your itinerary, leaving space to write in your outfits. Yours might look like this:
– Friday night dinner
Navy suit/white blouse/red flats/pearl necklace
– Saturday daytime sightseeing
Jeans/white tshirt/long sleeve white blouse
– Saturday night wedding
Black chiffon dress/patent heels/silver purse/silver necklace
Start with the most important outfit. For example, in this case, it’s probably the dress for the wedding. By starting with the most important (or stressful) outfit choice, you will immediately begin to calm down once that decision is off your plate. As you go through your closet and your outfit files, begin to write in the other various outfits you need to pack. Remember to write down everything: shoes, purse, accessories. Be sure to try on everything, to make sure it’s clean and not in need of any mending or alterations.
Try to simplify. In my case, I’m all about black and white. So I tend to pack one or two black/white or other neutral outfits, then add different colored blouses to go with them, trying to find tops that can work with each outfit.
- Stop Agonizing
Remind yourself that in most cases, if you forget something, you can find what you need at your destination.
– Upon your return, analyze what you would have done differently and add that to your notes. Did you pack too many things? Not enough? Wrong shoes?
– I’m finding that a lot of people have the same laptop computer as me and during airport screening, it’s easy for someone to accidentally take your computer off the conveyer belt. Purchase a removable decal to identify your computer.
– What is it with black/ugly luggage? To make yours stand out so it’s easy to find, apply a strip of brightly colored duct tape on each side.
How about you? What tips can you share for your fellow ADD travelers? Please share in the Comment section below.