For the love of a backpack

It might be weird to feel love for something. Like, a thing. But loving a thing is real, I’m here to tell you. And not in a materialistic way. Real emotion.

I’ve already declared my undying love for a pair of Marc Jacobs shoes – little kitten heels that have sparkly stars on the toe. I remember the day I saw them and the wave of emotion that flooded, unexpectedly, over me.

We were destined, I knew it. They spoke to me, the minute we met, as if they were some sort of adult manifestation of my childhood obsession with Jem, which I demonstrated by wearing glittered, clip-on earrings just like that funky, animated rock star did – well beyond an age where it was socially acceptable.

Same thing for my Punky Brewster moon boots, but whatever. They made a cool imprint in the snow, so, they earned the right to live beyond their social expiration date.

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Wondering how they made these big enough for me to still wear them as long as I did. 

I most recently felt that love again, and low and behold, it was for a pair of shoes. Sneakers. Tie-dye running shoes that, when I slipped my foot inside, felt like I was lacing up two, perfectly-sized sleds of melted butter. Made just for me. And it was magical.

I’m also emotionally tethered to a pair of Under Armor sneaks, a set of shoes that took me through a ton of firsts – half marathons, 5Ks, OCR races, hikes and a sprint triathlon. When they suffered a tear near my pinky toe this fall, I gasped. It was while climbing one of the more challenging hikes we’ve done, scaling Superstition Mountain to reach Flat Iron.

The totally heartbreaking tear.

But, I’m not all about shoes, even though this sounds like I am. I’m not at all about shoes. Really. Hiking, running and OCR just require different treads, and I haven’t had a reason to wear those precious Marc Jacobs slippers in a while (“slippers” because I kind of feel like Cinderella in them).

Today, though, I’m super mushy for my backpack.  Well, both of them, actually.

The one that’s under my feet, given to me by one of the most selfless people I know. The other, one I bought myself about a year ago to much fanfare upon its arrival (seriously, Ron took pictures), is in a cold cargo hold underneath me, the lucky recipient of a “courtesy check” offered on full flights.

Both of them, both by Teton, totally rock my world because they always do EVERYTHING I need them to. So I love them. Real love.

Backpacks. Doing their jobs. LOVE. 

For this trip, a surprise birthday adventure from Ron, I needed the big one to hold a sleeping bag I couldn’t compress, some of our camping gear, a few changes of clothes, some cords and bug spray.

“Done,” it said, if it could speak.

And the little one? What an overachiever. I needed it to look skinny enough to be that “one personal item” you get on an airplane, even though I stuffed it with jerky, my bulkiest sweatshirt, a laptop (because, writing), a book, a notebook, lots of tiny do-dads, my taco hat, and a neck pillow.

So, I LOVE them for delivering. I know, it’s their jobs.  It’s also my car’s job to take us places, but we joke when that little four-cylinder tops out after a big incline, rubbing the dashboard with gratitude for getting us where we wanted to go.

And, I know, they’re backpacks. But you can feel love for a thing. They take care of me, whenever I need them to, and I’ll do the same for them. And the best way I know to take care of them is to show them as many destinations as possible.

Seems fair, for a backpack love affair.

plane drinks
Raising a glass to adventure. And the backpacks that take us to every single one.