Editor's note: Sarah McLellan is covering the Wild during the NHL postseason in her birthplace of Edmonton, but first must spend 14 days confined to her hotel room. She'll write regularly to her father, who now lives in Arizona, with an update on life with limited freedom.
Hockey is on the horizon.
The Wild is traveling to Edmonton today, along with 11 other Western Conference teams while the 12 Eastern clubs descend on Toronto, and the games will restart next Saturday. This is really happening. It still feels a bit surreal, but my excitement is only growing by the day.
Although we both flew from Minnesota to Canada, the Wild will not have the same experience as I did settling into Edmonton. Players will not have to quarantine for 14 days like I’m doing. The NHL received an exception from the Canadian government, with players kept away from the public in the bubble and screened regularly. Still, they’re being instructed to stay mostly in their hotel rooms for the first five days. They can, for example, leave for training.
What is similar for both of us is that we don’t know how long we’ll be here in Edmonton, a trip that had a definite start but no clear end.
With a best-of-five series against Vancouver on deck, the Wild will at least be here through Aug.6 to play the minimum three games. But if it advances and keeps moving on, the team could be living out of the bubble into October.
That would also mean I’ll be here into October.
So, how did I pack for such an unpredictable stay?
It actually took quite a bit of planning.
The essentials are easy to identify, like toothpaste, shampoo and deodorant, but I wanted to make sure I had enough to last me potentially a few months. Since I usually use travel sizes when I’m on the road, that meant doubling up in some instances or bringing normal-sized bottles. Add in other hair products, makeup and extraneous items like nail polish and polish remover, and one half of my suitcase filled up quickly.
Figuring out the clothing situation was by far the toughest part, although addressing quarantine wasn’t hard. I loaded up on comfy pairs of pants, shorts and T-shirts since I knew I’d be in my hotel room for the first two weeks. But the challenge was what to wear once I got out of isolation.
For the games, I selected four dresses, one skirt and five pairs of dress pants. The key was picking tops that could mix and match with the bottoms, a tactic I later learned Jared Spurgeon of the Wild also used when packing. In the end, I decided on quite a bit of black, white and pink with some red and blue – basics that I could alternate to create new outfits if needed. I also threw in a few pairs of jeans and some more casual options for once I was out of quarantine but able to leave my hotel.
I had the same strategy for shoes, identifying pairs in neutral colors like black and white that I could match to different looks. Once I added some sandals and runners, I had 10 pairs in my luggage – a very manageable number for a shoe-lover like me!
Toiletries and clothes are obviously mainstays for any road trip, but I did include a few new items for a unique journey like this – extra novels, workout equipment and the puzzle, which I still haven’t started. Maybe this week? I also had a few containers of disinfecting wipes, sanitizing spray, hand sanitizer, gloves, air freshener and fabric spray. And I don’t usually travel with big bags of snacks, Styrofoam plates, a roll of paper towel and a box of cutlery, but those additions have been clutch since not all of my takeout orders have had utensils with them.
Now you know how I arrived at two 50ish pound suitcases and a hefty duffel bag.
But don’t think if this trip extends deeper into August or September I won’t be tempted to buy new clothes. I hear there’s a pretty big mall here.
You think one of my aunts will let me use their washer and dryer when I’m out of quarantine?