Thursday, March 4, 2010

"Backpacking"

So yah.  When I quit my job and sold all of my furniture and clothes, I had to really minimize what I would need for traveling.  I would be gone for a year or more hopefully, visiting warm-climate countries and therefore needing only summer clothes.  Easy, right?  Not really.

Even when you cut your wardrobe down into what you consider to be nothing you have too much.

I didn't really pack my bag until the day I left, and so I ended up bringing WAY too much stuff.  I couldn't get my bag zipped, and brought an unexpected additional carry-on bag.  I flew to Samoa with a backpack filled to capacity, a tote bag brimming with heavy books and my purse/laptop bag stuffed with everything that couldn't fit in the other bags.  "I'll just trim the fat along the way," I thought.  Try as I might, I couldn't imagine my life without each and every item in all three bags.  "I'll just make sure to use the same dental floss each time, and then I can throw one of the three out, and that will make more space," I reasoned, as my clothing expanded in the humidity, making it harder and harder to zip the bag shut.  "I threw away some receipts today!" I gleamed, believing that surely now I could illiminate the tote bag. 

Since February 2nd, I have strapped my backpack onto my back a total of three times, and that only mostly on principal.  Otherwise, the cab driver grabs it and throws it onto a wheeled cart, and I push it around.  I have carried it like an awkward, heavy, handle-less suitcase back and forth from hotel lobbies to rooms, lifting it's 19 kilograms with my low back and not my knees.  Every time someone else hefts my backpack into the trunk of a cab, Teri laughs at the idea of me "backpacking" Australia, never actually putting the "pack" on my "back".

As far as 'trimming the fat' goes, in Sydney, I finished The Thorn Birds, and parted with a skirt and a sweater.  In Airlie Beach, I tossed that old embarrassing straw hat that Melissa Kasprowicz loved so much and a paper-thin white shirt that had become stained from sunblock.  However, I bought pajama pants, a pair of shorts, and a new hat.  Every time I think I'm making weight/space headway, I buy a T-shirt or acquire some new "needed" toiletry. 

The point of this whole story is that I finally broke down yesterday in Melbourne and bought a suitcase.  It's a lovely forest green hardcase number by the makers of CATERPILLAR truck and tractor accessories.  I'm terribly angry about it because at home, I have an AWESOME hardcase suitcase that my aunties Julie and Debbie bought for me for my graduation 15 years ago and another smaller suitcase that works for a nice carry-on.  I should have scrapped the backpack and just brought those two.  After all, Teri has been easily and without effort wheeling around her two suitcases for five weeks and doesn't have to spend 6 minutes on the zipper, trying to force them shut like me and my ol' backpack.

So, new suitcase.  $200.  Yah, everything is way more expensive here.  Aveda face cleanser, travel-sized?  $25. 

And then I threw all caution to the wind and went fancy girl shopping.  Made me feel like a real traveler --more than a stupid backpack ever could.  And I spent money, wooo DOGGEY.  Coulda lived in Thailand for a month on what I spent.  But it felt goooooooooooood.  So good.  Take that, backpack!



5 comments:

Anonymous said...

You always did clean up nice :0)

I must add that although I've been backpacking for years, I've never actually carried my 5600 liter Osprey on my back. I wheel it around and use it like a suitcase. I carry my day pack on my back but it is only 10 lbs, loaded. If backpacking meant truly backpacking... well, I would travel a lot lighter, that much I know.

Love the pics.

mark

Josette said...

Phew! what a load off. I feel more relaxed just reading this blog now.

Sarah Lindahl said...

backpacking without actually ever putting the "pack" on your "back." I like it.

Cory the Tiger said...

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Anonymous said...

This same thing happened to me last week in Nicaragua - I brought my "backpack" - and struggled to carry it everywhere...while my friend easily wheeled her suitcase around - k8

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