Be prepared — that’s the Boy Scout motto. Luckily, I only made it through Cub Scouts. Being prepared means different things to different people. Remember Captain Lone Starr in Spaceballs? “I said to bring only what you need to survive!” To which Princess Vespa responds: “It’s my industrial-strength hair-dryer, and I can’t live without it!” Luckily, Lisa’s not a Princess Vespa.
The Boy Scout motto, as I was taught, was very much a Lewis and Clark type approach to travel — bring the stuff you’ll need. Going to fish? Bring a pole. Going to rain? Bring a jacket. Going to fell some trees? Bring an axe. I understand this theory when it comes to wilderness exploration, I’m a little off on it when it comes to general wilderness vacations, and I totally disagree with it when it comes to most travel. Bring what you need? No way. Improvise when you need it.
Have you see Lewis and Clark’s packing list? 400 lbs. of lead ammo, a microscope, 30 yards of flannel fabric, 35 axes, 6 copper kettles … and 4 pewter penis syringes. Christ.
The way I slice it, preparedness cuts two ways: 1) bring everything you’ll possibly need, 2) be ready to not need anything you didn’t bring. We’re going to fall in with the second option. We’ll have plenty of time to procure things on the road, and unlike in Lewis and Clark’s day, we’ll have the advantages of Target, Wal-Mart, and other big-box monstrosities. We’ll have enough room for things we’ll use everyday, but we’ll still over-pack, I’m sure. We are, it should be noted, bringing an axe. Everything else we’ll improvise. Adventure starts when things stop going as planned.