In Memorandum – Saying goodbye to a dear friend
My throat immediately tightened and my swallowing became slow and laborious. I could feel the familiar sting in my eyes and my abdominal muscles contracting into a knot. I was going to cry; dammit, I was going to cry! I tried to hold back the tears, but somehow it made it hurt more. I took one last look at my dear friend, gently ran my fingers down the back remembering all of the fond memories, and turned around and left; knowing I’d never see my friend again.
After 4 years of living out of my Eagle Creek suitcase, our relationship was over.
Sure, there were signs of it aging now for some time, but I chose to ignore them. The Eagle Creek label was the first thing to fall off, but I didn’t need to label to recognize my old, loyal friend. Next it was scarred a few times, but the durable fabric never actually was punctured. It was tattooed with stickers from various customs and security agents, making it completely beautiful and unique in my eyes. The extractable pull-handle started sticking a year ago; but I knew how to wiggle it just right to make it work.
When the zipper that held the daypack on to the bigger backpack broke, I knew it wasn’t a good sign, but I still wasn’t willing to give up on it. There are always rough times in a relationship, and I knew we could get through this zipperless bump in the road. I simply used the nylon straps to secure the daypack instead.
Occasionally the other zipper would get off it’s track, but I was always able to fix it; a labor of love. However, the day when the one of the two wheels fell off – I knew it was the end. I had to put it out of its misery and put it down.
Down in the garbage room of my friend’s apartment.
I remember when I first got it. I must have talked to the REI salesperson for at least an hour trying to pick the exact right pack solution for my upcoming around the world travels in May of 2006. The salesman and I filled the pack with heavy weights and put it on my back to see if it would be comfortable. I walked around the store to test it out. I was nervous about the decision to let it into my life, but that was to be expected. This was my first big career break trip I was ever taking in my life. I was full of nervous excitement for the 6 months leading up to my career break departure.
When I brought it home and put it in my bedroom I would look at it every day trying to get my head around the idea that in 4 months I would be living out of this lovely aqua blue bag every day; this thought terrified me. How would I ever fit everything into it? How would I downsize my life enough to make this work?
I did my test packing a month before and realized it would never work. I had to downsize more. I did. It worked. Soon I found myself in Penn Station with my beautiful new bag ready to depart on my adventure of a lifetime…just me and my Eagle Creek bag.
At the beginning of this epic journey, I had no idea how much of a fixture this bag would become my life. This is why today, as I had to leave it, I felt like I was abandoning it. I thought about everything it carried for me, how it never got lost (a miracle!), how it always stood out in a crowd, and how when I asked and pleaded really nicely, it would fit one last impossible thing inside and still allow me to zip it up.
Oh – the memories.
Goodbye dear friend, I will remember you forever as you will always be my first around the world bag. Thanks for the memories.
You can find my more formal review of the Eagle Creek Switchback for extended travel on Briefcase to Backpack.
This means I’m in the market for a new bag – can anyone hook me up?! Help a nomad out!