A Little Confession… I Cheated on my Backpack

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On the Road

Leaving on my first RTW

For one brief glimmering moment it was great. There was this delightfully odd lightness to my shoulders that I hadn’t felt in two years and I was actually gliding along the sidewalk on my way into Orlando International Airport.

I glance down and step lightly over a crack in the sidewalk –a tiny crack to be honest; minor really. It blind-sided me; I had no idea it was coming. One minute I’m nonchalantly walking along and the next minute the handle of my trolley-wheeled-pull suitcase wrenches my wrist to the side as it flips over.

Within a split second it’s a mad house of pandemonium on the sidewalk–people tripping over my luggage, other bags colliding, grandmas feebly dodging out of my path. Small children screaming in horror.

Ok, no small children screaming in horror. But the other passengers were sending me that look. You know the look; you’re no doubt guilty of it too.

The “oh-my-god-why-are-they-traveling-with-so-much-luggage-if-they-can’t-handle-it-thank-god-I’m-a-backpacker-and-can-dodge-this-sidewalk-castasprophe” look.

And that was my all too brief foray into the land of pull suitcases.

I’m sorry I cheated on you backpack, I thought it would be easier for these week long mini trips all around the US for my new job with GWOB.org.

I was so, so wrong. It didn’t work out for me. Cheers to the many others who have gone before me and mastered the art of the pull suitcase—it seems like such a lovely concept but my horror at having been that person is too fresh to give it a second chance right now.


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31 Responses to A Little Confession… I Cheated on my Backpack

  1. location calella November 27, 2010 at 9:14 am #

    I can understand same thing happened with me on my first solo trip after that I realized what to take and not to take..

    • Anonymous November 27, 2010 at 1:20 pm #

      So true! Once you’ve been on the road for a while you learn how to skim down
      to just the basics and pack a lot lighter :)

  2. Angela October 15, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

    Yeah, it’s definitely an art, I can’t handle a backpack, maybe because I’m too small…or maybe it’s the backache the day after that I can’t handle, I’m not too sure ;)

    • Anonymous October 16, 2010 at 10:01 pm #

      I remember you mentioning before that you use a roll one and that’s part of
      the reason I gave it a shot! It really comes down to each one having pros
      and cons – I hate the shoulder ache but love the mobility :)

  3. Anonymous October 5, 2010 at 6:53 pm #

    Traitor!

    Only joking :P I find the actual carrying all your luggage around a small part of the travelling process, and thankfully so. A rolling suitcase is much nicer around airports and posh hotels, but when your climbing staircases in hostels and walking over uneven terrain, which is the majority of the asian country paths then a backpack is superior.

    • Anonymous October 6, 2010 at 8:12 pm #

      LOL! I swear I’m not a traitor ;-) I agree with you though, it just
      depends on how you’re traveling – if I am doing a single city then maybe
      I’ll try a rolly again, but I can’t imagine trying to get around India with
      it!

  4. Erica Kuschel October 5, 2010 at 10:18 am #

    I LOVE my rolly-suitcase! I HAVE to take it when we are on small trips. I found it at *insert mall store that I’m embarrassed to shop at* and its pretty with a design by a graff art artist. I love to haul it everywhere I go. While I am planning on taking a backpack when we leave on the big trip, I will secretly miss my luggage. :(

    • Anonymous October 6, 2010 at 8:10 pm #

      Lol! I love seeing how varied the response is – I haven’t really traveled
      much with a rolly one so it was really foreign to me – but I do like the
      idea and may try it out again – you make a compelling case for it! :)

  5. Claire October 4, 2010 at 9:46 pm #

    i have TOTALLY been guilty of giving the look! but the look is not so much intended for the non users of backpacks -it is reserved for the people with mountains of luggage and i try to convey the “what-can-you-possibly-be-doing with so much luggage aside from moving to another country and since you are clearly moving and i am just visiting, could you please step aside so i can catch my flight in a timely manner?” whew. there, that actually just turned into a little bit of a rant!

    • Anonymous October 4, 2010 at 10:22 pm #

      Your rant totally cracked me up! It’s so true, some people pack like they’re
      moving away even when you know they aren’t but I do think it’s gotten a
      little better now that there are really high baggage fees – that has made
      even me pack lighter! :)

  6. Candicewalsh October 4, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    Hussy! Haha.

    I actually hate the backpack. Hate hate hate. So I bought a pretty pull-suitcase. Guess I’m not a backpacker.

    • Anonymous October 4, 2010 at 10:16 pm #

      I had no idea you go sans backpack! And such vehement hatred, sheesh! You’re
      still a part of the club tho in my mind, it’s more a style of travel than
      anything else :)

  7. GlobalButterfly October 3, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    Haha, and I wish I could master the art of the backpack!!!

    • Anonymous October 3, 2010 at 9:57 pm #

      Lol! I guess each one has their benefits and drawbacks! Maybe we should
      share secret tips :)

  8. Anil October 3, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

    I like having my hands free, I can’t get used to the pull suitcases.

    • Anonymous October 3, 2010 at 9:57 pm #

      That’s very true, I am back to just carrying and it makes such a differences
      on trains and buses!

  9. Maria Staal October 3, 2010 at 6:33 am #

    For me travelling with a backpack instead of a suitcase is not so much because it’s easier. It’s more of an identity. I’m a backpacker, so I HAVE to travel with a backpack. Even though my last RTW trip is years ago, I still feel like a backpacker. So even on the shortest trips I will take my backpack from the top of the wardrobe, where it now lives.
    I don’t even have a suitcase… :)

    • Anonymous October 3, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

      That’s so funny, the people I am traveling with right now were floored when
      I showed up sans-backpack. It’s definitely a different feel – and you’re
      right sometimes it’s more about just identifying with the community!

  10. Nomadic Chick October 2, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

    A rolling suitcase works wonders on an airport floor, once you leave those safe confines the rest is splat! Cracks, holes.. pavement is unkind.

    Your vivid descriptions had me laughing out loud. That’ll teach you to stray ever again. :)

    • Anonymous October 3, 2010 at 12:08 am #

      I definitely learned my lesson and have solidly gone back to only
      backpack/ duffel style so that I can zip along when outside the airport! :)

  11. Kyle Crum October 2, 2010 at 4:42 am #

    I actually like the rolling suitcase, it’s just that most countries don’t have adequate sidewalks in which to use them. I used to use them all the time as a business traveler and in addition to being easy on the body, they also make nice seats when you need one.

    If anyone laughs at you for your luggage choice, I give you the go-ahead to give them a dirty glare.

    • Anonymous October 3, 2010 at 12:11 am #

      I like the seat idea! I’ve always tried to do that w/ my backpack and then
      failed horribly! Perhaps I just had a bad encounter…or I need a smaller
      pull – that might be the trick!

      Thanks for the permission, now I’ll walk through the airport w/my dirty
      glare on the ready! ;-)

  12. Ayngelina October 2, 2010 at 4:55 am #

    I like the rolling suitcase as well, so practice for cities that have good roads. Plus I prefer to only take carry on so it forces me to pack less.

    • Anonymous October 3, 2010 at 12:07 am #

      Perhaps I need to give it a second chance – mine was small, but still was
      too big – must go smaller. Is your backpack now carry-on size?! You’ll get
      mad props from me if that’s the case :)

  13. Earl October 1, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

    Haha! I would never even think to use a suitcase. That was a bold move!

    The more I travel the more I become attached to my backpack. I actually would prefer a smaller backpack as now that I’ve been traveling for so long, I’ve realized that I don’t need much at all. But I just can’t bring myself to part with the trusty pack I’ve been using all these years.

    • Anonymous October 3, 2010 at 12:00 am #

      Lol! Thanks Earl – it only occurred to me because the other GWOBorg ppl were
      using them. Like you though, I’ve realized that I can survive with so little
      that I abandoned the rolley to come back to my beloved backpack (tho, like
      you, I wonder if It’s too big now! :(

    • Anonymous October 3, 2010 at 12:03 am #

      Lol! Thanks Earl – it only occurred to me because the other GWOBorg ppl were
      using them. Like you though, I’ve realized that I can survive with so little
      that I abandoned the rolley to come back to my beloved backpack (tho, like
      you, I wonder if It’s too big now! :(

  14. Anonymous October 1, 2010 at 4:54 pm #

    We tried using a suitcase too this summer and it didn’t work. I like the backpack better. I like putting it on my back and walking through crowds without having to worry about stairs or yes, even a small crack. When we took the suitcases this summer, we brought way to much luggage and it was very stressful. We are back keeping things to a minimum. It is so much better that way.

    • Anonymous October 1, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

      Glad to know I’m not the only one who figured it’d be worth a try. I see the
      value for it in one-stop trips perhaps, but for what we’re still doing I
      think the backpack just can’t be beat – it really did have me stressed out!
      :)

  15. Gary Arndt October 1, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

    After 3+ years of the backpack I went in for the suitcase. I can care less what people think. The longer you travel (and especially if you work on the road) the more stuff you need.

    • Anonymous October 1, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

      I’d agree on the long-term aspect wanting more comfort, bet that has
      mitigated back problems too (I suffer from that, not sure abt you?!). I’m on
      mini trips right now tho so I figured it just doesn’t make sense for me to
      lose mobility over tiny rolling one since I can carry that easily enough!
      :-)

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