The Backpack

02 Jun

I’m in my room ,listening to Phantom of the Opera and doing cleaning I should have done two weeks ago, when I see it. Flattened on the floor in a corner, blue and forgotten already. I pick up my hiking backpack and shake it out, straightening the straps before I set it on my bed and just look. It’s completely empty, has been for almost a month now. It’s been a while since I pulled the last odds and ends out of the bottom and asked where I should store it. Now I’m glad I haven’t put it away just yet, because it sits here, daring me. A woven bracelet hangs from one of the straps. The day pack is dusty with African dirt still. I suddenly see the appeal of having dirt from places you’ve been. The dirt on my bag reminds me of Stellenbosch, walking about barefoot everywhere, getting covered in dust and paint in Kayamandi, going to bed with dirty feet and legs and waking up with a dusty sleeping bag and red dirt on the mattress. I loved it there.
As I pick up a shirt to re-fold it, I’m tempted for just a second to pull my clothes out again and roll them tightly and stuff my bag full again. My first aid kit is still intact – I carry it in my purse now in case of emergencies. My toiletries could be packed in seconds, my sleeping bag in a minute, maybe. I could grab a journal and just go. The lure of moving again, of heading somewhere I’ve never seen before, not knowing what to expect, is strong. Practicalities hold me back: my family, money for school next year, nobody to go with. Besides, I know I like where I live. Southern Alberta is definitely a part of me, and it holds all the treasures of home: friends and family, my books, old haunts. But part of me itches to do something, to move and learn and see new things. I know where I would go.
I’m tempted to sort through my clothes, to take ones I don’t need every day and pack them up again, to set my bag by my door just in case I get the chance.
But I won’t. I’ll find a place to keep it that isn’t too inaccessible, but I won’t pack up just yet. I’ll look at it and remember the value of every day I had travelling Canada and South Africa, and I’ll remember to find adventures that don’t require backpacks for now. One day I’ll pack it up again.

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Posted by on June 2, 2015 in Little Adventures


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