A Love Letter to My Backpack

This post originally appeared on Medium.

Dear Backpack (or “This F*cking Thing” which I so rudely called you when we were sprinting to catch that train in San Sebastián. You’re not the one who’d woken up with a sangria hangover),

A love letter to my backpack, which made me the traveler I am today.

Image Credit: Chad Madden (Text Overlay: Backpacking Brunette)

Love at First Sight

I’ll never forget the moment we met.

Before my post-graduation trip to Europe, I spent months looking for a backpack online. Researching for just the right size and style.

How many liters? Top or front loading? Color? Brand?

When you came out of that big, brown Amazon box, I knew it was meant to be. With your smooth zippers and “Hoodoo Red” exterior, you were beautiful.

More importantly though, your durability was obvious. My flimsy JanSport had nothing on you.

I could (and still) foresee us having many adventures together.

A love letter to my backpack, which made me the traveler I am today.
Image Credit: Holly Mandarich

The Ultimate Travel Buddy

I’m not the only person with whom you’ve seen the world. You also spent a month in Europe with that girl from my book club.

I was nervous to let you go but knew you were up to the task.

Kelly didn’t believe you could hold everything she needed for five weeks abroad, but that was nothing. Earlier that year, you’d carried three months worth of clothes when we went to Madrid!

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes.

In your case, it’s the 46-liter Porter style from Osprey. God bless your padded shoulder straps and front panel organization.

It never fails to put smile on my face when I think about all the money we’ve saved on baggage fees. You’re the maximum carry-on size.

Suck on that, Ryanair.

A love letter to my backpack, which made me the traveler I am today.
A quick pic before we boarded our flight to Mexico City!

Perfect in Every Way

Do you remember the first hostel we ever stayed in? It was the Flying Pig in Amsterdam.

We were in line to check in behind some travelers with the biggest backpacks I’d ever seen. You and a pal could have fit inside one of them!

They say size matters, and while it definitely does, bigger is not always better.

Before we met, I was a serial over-packer. Spring break my sophomore year, the airline almost charged me extra for the 50-lb duffel I’d packed for one week in Florida!

Your 46 liters have changed me.

When I learned how to pack light, I realized how little I actually need to be happy. I relish the simplicity. It’s so liberating to narrow down all my belongings to a single backpack — one I can manage to carry without wanting to die.

The only thing you could never possibly hold is all them memories we’ve made.

A love letter to my backpack, which made me the traveler I am today.
Image Credit: Lukas Robertson

All Our Adventures

From Madrid to Mexico and all those cities in between, you’ve been a constant in my life as a traveler. It’s hard to believe there was ever a time I used a rolling suitcase.

You’ve opened my eyes to the wonders of backpacking. Because of you, I’ve learned that travel is more than just a vacation. It’s a means of education.

With you by my side (or on my back), I’ve learned how to be independent. I embrace spontaneity and seek adventure.

The day we met, my life changed forever.

For everything we’ve seen and done, I’ll always be grateful to you. The best way I can think to honor you is by hitting the road again.

How does South America sound?

Love your backpacker,

Alex

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