My bags are packed…

…and I’m ready to go.  But…theres no jetplane just yet! Only… 30 days to go until India!  I guess I jumped the gun a little, but at least I’ll be prepared!  As the last 2 weeks of teaching lie ahead and the next 4 weekends booked, all I can think about is having a pack on my back and a map in my hands.  I had saved up a chunk of money to buy myself a brand spanking new travel pack as my Christmas gift to myself and researched for days to find the perfect one.  But, as I was rummaging through my closet for Christmas decorations to properly get myself into the holiday spirit, my good ol’ EMS, grey and black backpack, fell on to the floor in front of me.  I stood there for a minute about to stuff it back into my closet, like a grown up child does to his beloved first stuffed animal, but all of the sudden felt a gravitational pull towards the dirty, ugly, worn out, malodorous bag.  How could I have left him on the shelf, alone and abandoned after so many memories together?  I felt awful and…guilty.

He was given to my brother as a Christmas gift in 2003.  His early years and adolescent time was spent with my brother who stuck by his side all through out New Zealand, Australia and Fiji and god knows where else he took him on that trip.  My brother kindly passed him on to me for my trip to Costa Rica in the summer of 2005.  This was where it all started.  When I returned, my brother never asked for him back, thinking that maybe they had spent too much time together and needed a break from each other, so I kept him with me through the packing and moving from house to house in college.

Our second trip together brought us closer as we were inseparable through rocky boat rides in Guatemala, hikes in Honduras and long, crowded, bumpy bus rides through Nicaragua.  We had visited beautiful Belize together and even taken his small counterpart (the attachable day pack) with me on a 4 day hike through the Sierra Nevada mountains in Colombia.  On this hike, he got a little dismantled, but I repaired him with care and now they are happily reunited as an impeccable duo.

He always was there for me when I left him in an unfamiliar hostel for the day.  He never complained, just waited patiently and was always ready and willing to get up and go when it was time.  Although, sometimes when he wanted to rest, he would refuse to zip up leaving me frustrated and distressed.  Maybe this was due to my inattentiveness to recognize his efforts and hardships he put on himself as a sacrifice for my happiness while traveling.  When I was getting ready to make the move to Korea, there was no doubt in my mind that we would do the journey together.  I stuffed him to the brim, even put a yoga pad on his side in case he needed an extra pad for the long journey.  He had a great space in the closet when I settled in, and rested for a couple of months before his next adventure to the Philippines for my winter vacation.

His trip to the Philippines was quite stressful.  Somehow, along the way, he didn’t make our connecting flight from Guangzhou to Manila.   I waited for him hopelessly at the terminal.  The conveyor belt went round and round, but my buddy never came ’round.  We were separated for almost 6 days.  I can only imagine the way he felt.  Scared.  Lonely.  Lost.  At least I had my family with me.  He had no one. We had no way of communicating either so, it would only be though positive forces and manifesting that we would back together again.  After calling the airports day after day to check up on his status, we were reunited, but he had been violated.  Some of my goods were stolen out of him while we were separated.  He must have felt so vulnerable.  But, we enjoyed the rest of our time together with no hard feelings (This was actually the second time this happened, so I was extra sensitive this time around).

He aged a bit in the past couple of years, no major cuts or wounds, just faded color and some permanent bruises which left him quite unattractive and unappealing.  So, I slowly forgot about him.  He collected dust and became stiff from his sedative lifestlye and lack of strenuous, physical activity.  After my selfish thought of ditching him and wasting my money on some beauty who only looked good on the outside, but had no character, personality or wisdom, I decided there is no way I could venture to India (our dream) for four weeks without him.  The thought depressed me.  I dusted him off and took him to the shower for a makeover.  I scrubbed him clean, even pampered him with some lavender and lemongrass shampoo, and left him out to dry, of course with his counterpart by his side.  Three days later, all dried and wind-blown from the fan and he was looking better than ever!  I have already packed him half way, so he can rest assured that he won’t be left behind.  Although in his old age, he forgets a lot, so I’m sure that he has forgotten already where we are going next month.  But, he has been a great friend, companion and buddy throughout my travels around the world and hope that he sticks around for many more adventures.  India here we come!

“To get away from one’s working environment is, in a sense, to get away from one’s self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change.”    -Charles Horton Cooley

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Donna Stewart
    Dec 09, 2011 @ 03:16:32

    Glad to hear! haha! I purchased a bag at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. I, now, buy stickers of everywhere I go and stick them on the bag. I have two Amsterdam and one Paris. I hope to fill up the exterior with stickers from all over. Maybe, you could buy him a sticker from India and Korea while you are at it.! Enjoy the Trip! I love you for the wanderlust that is within you. (I once had a boss tell me I was wanderlust then paid for my first trip to Paris! I will be watching for your updates. God Bless and Be Safe! Love, Donna

    Reply

  2. adormidesigns
    Dec 09, 2011 @ 16:11:47

    only to imagine how he felt when you pampered him with lavender lemongrass! this is so funny!!!! i love it! cant wait to see him again so soon, but whats his name? you are an amazing writer ms wooden xoxo

    Reply

  3. Mom
    Dec 10, 2011 @ 13:29:50

    Love it! I’m sure HE is so glad to be going with you and not left behind.
    Good going girl.

    Reply

  4. Cush
    Dec 14, 2011 @ 01:42:28

    That is a great story about a backpack. Thats fools been all over, shouldn’t he have a name?

    Reply

  5. Your Dad
    Dec 17, 2011 @ 02:06:31

    A great satire and He can surely serve you for trips to come. And you have more money in your pocket. Will miss you dearly again at Christmas and remember “The Reason for the Season”….the birth of our Savior.

    Love you, your Dad

    Reply

  6. janet
    Dec 17, 2011 @ 09:01:59

    loved the story, and we know exactly what you mean, a well traveled pack knows exactly where you keep your stuff from year to year. There is something really
    special about taking the pack out of the closet getting ready for a new adventure.
    We are hoping to head to India ourselves in mid january, just waiting on visas!

    Reply

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