30 Days of Indie Travel Project: Baggage

I laughed a little when I read the prompt for Day 16 of the 30 Days of Indie Travel Project* – Baggage.

Mental baggage can weigh us down as much as physical baggage when we travel. How do you travel lightly – either emotionally or physically?

The short answer is – I don’t.

Sure, for my current trip I had to squeeze everything into a 55-liter backpack and a 25-liter daypack, but that is not my preferred way of traveling.

I make no apologies for the fact that I do not like to travel light.

I know, I know – I can hear you all telling me I don’t need to pack everything for every situation – I can buy what I need on the road.

True, but I still need somewhere to put it.

And yes, while you can find just about anything anywhere, it often just isn’t the same – and it can take time to find.  I have been searching for a couple new (warmer) long sleeve shirts in Russia for over a month now. I can’t find anything on which I can justify spending money. The cuts are different and nothing seems to fit right. I am bemoaning the fact that I couldn’t squeeze in a couple more of my own tops when I left.

I would much prefer to have  large suitcase with me right now.

One in which I can easily see everything I have packed.

One that holds multiple outfits suitable for various occasions so I never feel like I don’t have something appropriate to wear and so I do not get completely bored with my wardrobe after two months.

One that rolls nicely behind me (yes, even over cobblestone or dirt roads) instead of having to be hoisted up onto my back every time I need to move from hostel to airport or train station to hostel.

One that isn’t completely awkward, continuously tipping over as I try to stand with it on a local bus or Metro.

One that I don’t have to worry about hitting people with every time I turn around.

Before my current trip, I had traveled with a backpack twice – once to Norway and once to Peru. I hated it both times.

I swore I would never travel with a backpack again.

But then, as I planned for my current  travels through the former Soviet Union and realized how much time I would be spending in hostels and on trains or buses, I became convinced that a backpack was the way to go.

So far, the only time I was glad I had a backpack was on the Trans-Siberian because a large suitcase would not have fit in the storage bin under the bunk. In just about every other situation, I long for my suitcase – especially when it comes to re-packing and I have to tug, pull, sit, squeeze and do everything imaginable to get the zippers on my backpack to close together.

I keep telling myself I actually will appreciate my backpack eventually – like when I get into the Caucasus or Central Asia.

But I have a feeling that once this trip is over, the backpack will go in the trash and never be replaced.

*Throughout the month of November, BootsnAll is inviting bloggers from around the world to join them in a daily blogging effort – the 30 Days of Indie Travel Project –  designed to reflect on how our travel experiences over the last year – or whenever – have shaped us and our view of the world. Bloggers can follow the prompts as strictly or loosely as they like, interpreting them in various ways and responding via text, photos or video posted on their own blogs.

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4 thoughts on “30 Days of Indie Travel Project: Baggage”

  1. After having so much in common, you had to go and write this! 🙂 Here I was thinking we were so much alike and then you state that you hate to travel light. If I could, I would always wear a backpack! Honestly, I tend to overpack as well – I just tend to fit it all in my backpack!

    1. Haha! Seriously, it is a struggle every time I have to pack up and move to my next destination – and I don’t even feel like I have that much! I am sooooo sick of my clothes already and I am dying for my regular shampoo and conditioner – my hair never feels completely clean with the shampoo bar I got. I’m not even that much of a girly-girl but it would be nice to feel like I actually look decent every once in a while. 🙂

  2. Fair enough! I love my pack, and have had the same one since I was 20. I’ve got a thing about having my hands free.

    But as we know, it all comes down to what works for you. Screw the ol’ iconic image of the traveler and their backpack—if a suitcase works for you, then do what works for you.

    I’ll have to keep this post in mind though… in the travel fantasy novels I’m working on, backpacks play a pretty major role—it’d be a fun counterpoint to have a character who doesn’t like backpacks or traveling with a backpack… hmmm…

    1. Yeah, I kinda think I gave in too much to the perception that all long-term travelers should carry backpacks. Although I do think when I get to Central Asia, a backpack will be preferable to a roller suitcase…

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