Saturday, 21 June 2014

Eulogy to a Backpack

The backpack is dead, long live the backpack!
My new pack above, the old one below.
It's a sad day.

Not only has my old passport been cancelled while I await the arrival of a new one, but my old High Sierra backpack has also given way to a brand-new upstart.

I'm glad of the new pack of course, and it was necessary to supplant the old one because it was starting to malfunction.

One of the straps was fraying at the shoulder, and in Oman last month I had problems with the zips.

It was, frankly, time for a replacement.

But it is a sad day. That backpack has been with me since 2005.

It's flown across the Pacific, to New Zealand, Tahiti, Easter Island and Chile.

It's cruised between Patagonian glaciers inaccessible by land.

It's become intimately knowledgeable with towns and cities across Poland, especially the luggage racks of its trains.

It's taken a night bus to Lithuania; crossed the Slovenia-Hungary border by rail; entered Slovakia on my back, as I walked across the border from Poland; dropped into Stockholm and spent time in Moravia and eastern Germany.

It's travelled the entire length of Canada by train, from Vancouver in the west to Halifax in the east.

It's seen Montana, North Dakota, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Honolulu in the USA; and it's ridden in a bus past the enigmatic Area 51 in rural Nevada.

It's reclined in posh resort rooms in Jordan, Fiji and Oman. It's seen Shanghai, and floated down the Yangtze River from Chongqing to Wuhan.

It's been to Delhi, visited Kuala Lumpur and Borneo, spent time in Seoul, and travelled twice to Thailand.

It's fetched up in Norwich, Belfast and Dublin.

It's been to London more times than I can easily remember.

It's been all over Australia, including twice by rail from Sydney to Perth, and once from Darwin to Adelaide.

And now its travels are done.

I'm not going to throw the pack away. It's been an intimate travelling companion for so many years, I can't bring myself to do it.

Like my dog-eared, cancelled passport with the clipped-off cover and the colourful entry stamps, it'll take its place in my personal Travel Hall of Fame.

Though in reality it'll be up in a cupboard behind the new backpack, slowly being forgotten.

But it'll be indelibly ingrained with the residue of its days of the road. Just like me.

Disclosure: I was supplied with my new Access backpack for review purposes by High Sierra. A review will follow when I've had a chance to break it in.