The trip to Mexico was a new experience for me (besides being my first visit to Mexico) in that it was the first time I’d decided to take a doll with me on a trip where we had to go by plane. Sure, I’d had experiences before with taking someone “along for the ride” (Coolspring, Fort Necessity, etc) but those were day trips, in a car, and I didn’t have any planning ahead involved as far as props and such since they were just single day adventures. This was definitely a whole different experience!
First I had to run it by my husband since it was a work related trip. I didn’t know how he was going to take this idea, but he was actually pretty open minded about it. All he said was “nothing embarrassing”. I can handle that.
Then I had to decide who was going to go with me. When you’ve got as many 18″ girls hanging around as I do, it can get a little tricky. However, one factor narrowed it down very quickly to two girls: hair. I wanted a hairstyle that didn’t easily tangle and required minimal upkeep. That brought me to either Kit or Cassandra. Unfortunately Kit had taken that nasty fall and her eye was messed up, so that narrowed it down to Cassandra. Cassandra is older too, so I thought it seemed more realistic (seriously, I’m using the word realistic in a post about dolls?!?!) to take her along. Here is her reaction the day I told her:
Now it was time to do some planning. I needed to figure out what to take for various shoot ideas I had. And just like when you travel yourself, I did end up taking a couple of things that I didn’t use. Oh well, better to have them with me than not. And this trip really wasn’t planned to death, we left a lot of what we did to chance, we just had basic ideas about things we wanted to do. Overall though, I think it turned out well and I came up with a cute story to go with her photos. I decided early on that this was going to be a trip where she wore her contacts because I didn’t want to have to constantly worry about losing her glasses. Shoes were also a big decision because I wanted to be sure that they were ones that didn’t come off easily but fit in with what we were doing. I did a little digging around in the shoe drawer and the minute I saw the trekking sandals, I knew they would be perfect.
The biggest issue I had was WHAT to take her in. I wanted something that she could be transported in safely as well as easy to carry. My first idea was a tote bag, but I was concerned about her getting squished in it and possibly damaged. One day while in TJMaxx, I came across a backpack that was on clearance, and on close inspection discovered that not only was it well padded but also had numerous compartments that I could stash an assortment of stuff in. For $15 I couldn’t pass it up, even if it hadn’t worked out for this, I could have used it for something else or passed it on to a family member. It looks like this:
(It is still available at Amazon) What is nice about it is it is 18 inches tall and the way it is shaped on the top makes it possible to have the doll standing, plus you can get her far enough back that catching her hair in the zipper isn’t a big problem. I did do that once, I felt so bad, it had to have hurt! I also had plenty of room to put her clothes and accessories in as well as some snacks and a few other things I was taking along.
Her clothing all went into Ziploc bags where I pressed as much air out of as possible so they would take up very little space. Her small accessories all went into her own backpack, and then all of that went into the bag with her. I also tossed in a comb I use for the dolls and her snorkeling gear. She was ready to go!
Throughout the trip she alternated between the backpack and a tote bag I took along, it just depended on what we were doing and how loaded down I wanted to be. I only ran into one problem with this at the Museo Maya: NO BIG BAGS ALLOWED! As this nice Mexican security guy is showing me the lockers and explaining what the issue was as best he could, I was kind of panicked. I wish you all could have seen me juggling my wallet, my camera and Cassandra around the museum and the grounds. Plus it was hot as all get out, so I’m sure she was as sweaty as I was by the time it was over with. And yes, I did get a few odd looks from people as I carried her around, but remember, this is also where I met two fellow doll lovers. I survived though, but my arms felt like I’d been carrying around a 10 pound bowling ball by the time we were done. Ugh. Now I kind of understand why dolls loved by little girls end up looking like they do…
Overall though, the backpack worked out well and she made it to Mexico and back with no injuries. In fact, her sombrero and other goodies came back in the same bag with her, the padding worked as expected. The bag was small enough that if I had needed to, I could have put it on the floor in front of me, but I didn’t need to, she went into the overhead compartments on every flight.
The drawback: weight. I don’t know why, but it seemed by the time I put her in the backpack with a few other items, it weighed a ton. Maybe it’s just me, I don’t do well with heavy bags due to a shoulder/neck injury. I even took most of the stuff out once we arrived at the resort that I wasn’t going to need, but it still seemed heavier than I expected. That was kind of disappointing as I was hoping this bag would be a good travel bag for any doll photo shoots, now I’m not so sure. Perhaps I need to play around with it a bit.
So, the big question…would I do this again? I’ll be honest, I don’t know. If it was just a trip in a car, I probably would but I’m not 100% sure about taking someone on a plane again. I’m very much a bare bones air traveler, and it was perhaps more of a sacrifice of space than I’m willing to do again. We’ll see. We don’t have any plane trips planned anytime soon, so maybe by the time I have to make up my mind, I’ll have come up with a better system. It was a fun experience though, and how many dolls do you know that have been to Cancun????