In honor of those fabulous athletes headed to Beijing, I'm taking on a training challenge of my own:

The PackLympics.

You see, there's this tour coming up? In Canada? That involves knitting and looking at yarn and textile museums and meeting with designers... A trip that I'm VERY excited about?

That requires one to restrict one's luggage to ONE suitcase, no larger than 53" in total dimensions.
Dudes – that's a 22" carry-on. Max.

So rather than kvetch and waste a lot of breath figuring out how to get around those restrictions (shipping boxes to myself at the hotels? altering the time-space continuum? inventing teleportation?), I am being very grown up and embracing it as a personal challenge.

If a 35-year-old woman can run 130-150 miles a week to train for the Olympic marathon, hell, I can get my toiletry kit to something under 5 pounds.

I've been making lists, and paring and defining the essentials (coffee; coffeemaker; double-points …) (oh yeah, and underwear), and I give you my successful PackLympic Trial:

A 20" Tumi rolling carry-on, with expansion capability that has NOT been expanded. (Thus cleverly leaving me room to add some yarn purchases along the way.)

Total dimensions: 48".

(I feel like a pole-vaulter who's just cleared the bar by 5". That's a lot in the pole vaulting world.)

What's in it, you ask?

•  Jeans, black pants, printed skirt, black dress.
• Long-sleeved T-shirt, 2 short-sleeved T-shirts.
• 2 cardigans, one cashmere wrap.
• Toiletry kit, electronics accessory kit, electric kettle & fantastic little espresso maker, one pound coffee.
• Running shoes, T-shirt, shorts, and 2 pair socks.
• Undergarments, nightgown, socks.

If I do say so myself, this is the most gloriously coordinated set of clothing I've ever packed to take anywhere. I think I'm ready for just about any weather, any formal dress occasion, and absolutely EVERY SINGLE PIECE goes with every other piece.

My carry-on day bag will have to house my laptop and my rain jacket, but other than that it all fits.

Oh, and if you're concerned at the lack of knitting content, it's all going in my day bag: one (ONE!) project - Wendy Bernards' "Something Cowl" with Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca & Silk that my Mom got me for my birthday.

I keep myself from hyperventilating about the single solitary project by reminding myself: "It's a KNITTING TOUR. Every DAY you'll be in a yarn shop or mill or something. Dear god – on Day 3 you'll be at KOIGU, for *@&%'s sake. Pull yourself together. There will be more yarn around." (I'm taking my set of sock needles as backup.)

Where's the awards podum? And can you play "O Canada" instead of the U.S. anthem? I'd be more in the mood for that, at least until November.

Happy trails, everyone!

Can you think of anything I might have forgotten? or do you have some packing triumphs of your own to share with all of us in the comments?