The old travel adage of, if you can’t carry it, you don’t need it, has been running through our heads for the past couple of days as we packed and repacked our suitcases trying to maintain the twenty-three kilo limit and allowing for how much the kids can comfortably carry.
We caught the train to Brisbane a day early to make our 6:30 a.m. check-in more bearable. Catching the train also gave us a chance to test our mobility. The plan was to stay with my brother (the Brisbane Harpers) for the night so he could drive us to the airport at dawn. It sounds simple enough. However most of my family members have some sort of vegetable patch in their backyard. Any family gathering is akin to a Farmer’s Market where passionfruit is exchanged for pumpkins and spinach is traded for lettuces.
My mother’s corn crop loves all the rain we’ve been getting and this morning, while we were having a quiet farewell morning tea, she asked if we could take some corn to the Brisbane Harpers. Sure, why not? How hard can if be to take luggage for a year overseas and a few kilos of corn?
Talluah’s parents drove us to the train station and we began our train trip which we had affectionately called Operation: Dry Run. Train rides are rare for us and still very exciting for the girls.
To any parents who are reading this, you can skip the next part, you’ve experienced it before.
6 minutes into the trip: Indiana says, “I’m hungry.” We just had lunch twenty minutes ago.
16 minutes: “I stood on some chewing gum.”
28 minutes: Truce asks, “Are you allowed to dance on trains?” I nod.
42 minutes: “I’m still hungry” Crisps come out of the bag.
50 minutes: “I need to go to the toilet,” says Indiana.
53 minutes: “Where’s Indiana?” asks Talluah. “She went to the toilet,” I reply.
“She’s been gone a while.”
I stand, “Maybe she’s having troubles with the door.” I walk to the toilet and knock on the door. “Are you OK Indy?”
Her voice comes muffled through the door. “The lock is stuck. I turned it towards unlock but it won’t work.”
“Try turning it the other way.”
The door slides open.
We had to change trains and with the inbuilt directional gene that all men carry I told my family that we had to cross the tracks to the platform on the other side. We sized up the overhead walkway with its antiskid red painted steps and began our ascent.
Truce and Indiana pulled their little rolley suitcases, I lumbered with two rolley suitcases and a backpack. Talluah heaved our two lots of carry on luggage plus the corn for my brother and a separate bag for the clothes that we were going to wear for the flight.
At the top of the overpass I told the kids to wait with the bags then ran down to the bottom to help Talluah with her burden. Once she was at the top I ran down the other side, dropped our bags at the bottom, kept the backpack on and ran back up the stairs to help Talluah and the kids with their things. For a three year old, Truce carries her fair share.
Once we were all safely on the other side I realised that the as an English teacher, swinging a whiteboard marker around is not considered suitable training for carrying 60kg of luggage on the Railway Stairmaster. I puffed over to a conductor and asked when the next train to Petrie was.
“The Petire line is on the other platform,” he said. “You’ll have to cross over.”
With 90% humidity and 32 degree heat we repeated our tag team effort to get the children and luggage up and over to the other side of the station. As I joined my family at the bottom of the steps I felt like I was a contestant on some weight-loss reality TV show.
I think there’s time for one more repack to cull some more clothes.