Updated: Feb 29, 2020
"The mysticism of the road sustained us in weary times." Steve Parrish
From age 21-24, I lived mainly from this one back-bag. Seriously. This Jansport, now 24 years old, contained the 80% of my belongings I carried with me. The other 20% was stored in a couple totes left in my mom's garage. This is a perfect time to press play on a forever favorite...BAG LADY by ERYKAh BADU
Mostly, during those glory years, I meandered through tropical ecosystems around the globe, on a wild chase to see and taste grains + fruits that would soon be extinct or so heavily altered it would barely resemble the real thing.
Yes, I did have a personalized machete.
Such a thing had never occurred to me until one beloved soul, Kuwah I called him, though I believe his name was Trevor, passionately discussed varieties of bananas, avocados, citrus, soursops, papayas, rice and lentils as if they were sacred. If we only knew then how right we were in this belief!
Many of the rarest varieties are now truly gone, or slowly dying. Palm Oil (which I consider a continuation of the most evil in the world) is a huge culprit. There's lots of other complicated reasons these rare nutritious foods are dying, most have to do with greed, corruption and general lack of appreciation for the emerald orb we live on.
For a couple of years, way back when, I chased the last ripened bites, endured crazy circumstances because someone, somewhere said "Oh! My grandpa has one of those trees! You have to take this bus to that connection to that taxi to that horse to that trail to that ridge to that house next to that church then up the ridge and tell uncle so-so I sent you." Without fail, whether the mission was one afternoon or several sweaty days, Tio so-and-so welcomed us with open arms, a bowl of food, and rickety chair on a porch surrounded by jungle and stories about the time when a single tree or last remaining grove was planted. (And often, a tear with the tale of the demise, which was always palm-oil based).
This was way before cell phones. I definitely did not carry a camera. The pic above was sent to me years later.
Anyhow, during those years, I this sturdy pack as I started asking questions about ingredients, self-care, economics, responsibility...existing. But, even in this tiny limited space, I still carried an AM/PM beauty ritual, often used by a river, and a few accessories to turn something into an outfit! It was easier when "outfit" meant whether or not to throw on accessories and the "fancy" flip-flops.
Fast-forward a couple decades (and then some), this pack is still going! I haven't used it in a gazillion years, but it only has one rip. That's it. One rip. I'm not sure how many countries/continents this thing has been on, how many adventures it could tell, how many bus stations and truck beds and delayed flights, but I do know I finished one passport, added to a new one and had multiple life existences since the day it became part of "my things".
Nowadays, with lameness like Swiss Army selling their "name" to some even lamer manufacturer and their bags falling apart in 2 seconds (from experience!), North Face all over the lowest-end retail markets with low-end product to match, brands we considered "indie", "conscious" and beloved going all single-use, low-brain and stupid just 'cuz it makes more money, all the Big Boys who earned our trust to start with and now couldn't care less about the miles or the effect... it is such a joy to still have this one solid piece of quality manufacturing history; an iconic emblem.
I have no idea if #Jansport is still doing right by their reputation. It's been a minute since I've carried a Jansport rather than a #Chloe. I love a good bag, have solid Ebay skills,and have collected some real legacies. This was the only regular size back-bag.
I pulled the ol' beauty out of worn-out tote around 1am, when I realized my 10am flight charged a hefty penny for carry-on, but backpacks were allowed and considered "purses".
We'll see how the consolidation worked out. My vibe nowadays enjoys multiple outfit changes, shoe options, hair tools, lotions, potions, concoctions, snacks, reading materials and STUFF. But I packed just enough to keep skin luminous, hair tamed, and a few clothing items accessorized for whatever comes my way, and it started to feel more sophisticated, more graceful. Easier.
Will report back and include a list of must-haves and totally-missed.
In the meantime, accept typos. Learning to phone-post as I go.