What I’ve Got: Backpack Edition

I’ve got my
backpack.. While it might not be the sexiest or trendiest item that will be
written about, that doesn’t make its design any less noteworthy. This backpack
was designed with someone like me in mind. It was destined to do more then just
carry books and laptops around. In fact, as I empty out my backpack item by
item, I find bits and pieces of my life from the last 3 and a half years that
only it knows of. There’s the carabiner from my roommate in Buenos Aires.
There’s the friendship bracelet that someone made me at a summer camp I worked
at. There’s the tiny toothbrush I used for 2 weeks last July. There’s the 50
Ghanan dollars that mysteriously appeared in my backpack when leaving Budapest
in July (still a mystery – never in my life have I been to Africa). There’s random coins and bus
tickets from foreign countries. This backpack remembers things that I forget,
and in moments like this, reminds me of them. While some might think I’m a slob
for not cleaning out my backpack, I couldn’t do that without throwing away
precious memories. After all this backpack has been everywhere with me.
Practically everywhere I go, my backpack comes with me. When I fly back to
school from home I leave my family behind – but my backpack comes with me. When
I had to take a year off of school after a sports injury and I needed to make
money coaching, in to the backpack went a clipboard, whistle, balls, and cones.
When I decided to use that money to travel, my backpack came along for the
ride. It rested next to me when I slept on the roof of a Uruguayan hostel and
held everything I owned for a week riding on my back through Chile. It quite
literally was my lifeline –  holding my
food, water, money, identity, and means of communication. Its tough yet
adaptable design is what makes it so valuable to me. While it comes with all
the standard features you’d expect from a backpack these days: a main
compartment, a laptop sleeve, and various side compartments, there are a few
things that make it special. It has a secret compartment that I used to store
my valuables while traveling. Looking past the utility, I just think its really
cool to have a secret compartment. I also have my backpack rigged up with 2
carabiners, one on each side to allow me to carry more stuff if need be. This
has come in handy more than a couple times, especially when pushing the
envelope on the TSA 2-bag carry-on rule. But what really makes it special is
everywhere its been with me. No matter where I go, I have always had a need for
it. While we might overlook and take for granted that backpacks exist as they
do, it wasn’t until the mid 20th century that the backpack we know and love
came into existence and not until much later that it was popularized. Steve
Drummond, an editor for NPR who graduated high school in 1979 said, “When
I was in school, no one had a backpack! You just carried your books in your
arms.” So today, I’m thankful for my backpack.

image

My backpack pictured with some of the thing-a-ma-jigs, doodads, and whatchamacallits that live in my backpack.

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