Your life in a backpack


There’s a sense of security when your whole life is packed into a 45 litre backpack.

You start to realise a few things.

Among them – that you need so little to survive and to live. That you actually don’t need that many bags, shoes or clothes in the first place; they were varying desires, manipulated by marketing ploys and indecisiveness that made you buy them. That when your possessions don’t weigh you down, you are free to go wherever and whenever; after all, who cares if you wear the same shirt three days in a row? You have much better things to do than worry about your fashion sense. That possessions don’t cling to you, you cling to them – in slow, twirling manners that drown you even if you are not underwater. Your hoarding tendency, unwillingness to part with them is just proof of how deeply entrenched you are to the capitalistic lifestyle you grew up with. That you are a much freer person when you have so little. That once you allow yourself to live from a bag, you will have so much more to live for. The material fades and the immaterial becomes your entire world.

I am starting to miss my blueish-grey backpack. I was afraid of it for a while, after I returned from my trip. The cutting pain on my shoulders and the backache from half a day’s traveling was humbling. The red angry lines and dots that slashed across my shoulder blades were painful reminders of my incapabilities to pack right. I couldn’t tolerate that aching numbness much longer. You see, even then, I couldn’t live without my books. Half my bag’s contents were books (which explained the weight). I didn’t know how to part with them and that, remains a problem I will have to manage. After a while, I shipped my books and clothes, make up, and toiletries I didn’t need back to Asia. My backpack were a whopping 12kg lighter. I was at least 12 times more relieved. I thought I knew how to pack. I was wrong and my amateur attempts at it was laughable, even now.

I have been back for 10 months now. It’s been a while since I have spoken out loud about my dreams and secrets. Maybe secrets aren’t that good a thing after all. If I could tell you all that I have encountered on my trip, I would. For now though, those secrets will remain in the 45 litre backpack and in the people that I will never meet or speak to again.

3 thoughts on “Your life in a backpack

  1. It’s been ten months and you’re still thinking about your last trip? That’s a good sign, it means the wanderlust hasn’t been quenched! Also, this reminds me of how I felt in the days leading up to my own journey, when I wondered if the fact I was going to be living out of a 40L backpack rendered every possession I wasn’t taking with me meaningless. Do you have another trip planned soon?

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