Backpacking is something I’ve always done since I decided to travel constantly. I think it’s a fact of belonging. It’s a way of being. Being a backpacker means not planning too many things to not miss the beauty and the discovery of the trip, not filling up with superfluous things because so much is not needed, not creating too many commitments and leave to the journey itself the decision to make. Travelling with a suitcase or a backpack are two completely different things. When I talk about travel I do not mean a weekend in some European city, in that case sometimes it happened to me to get a small suitcase, at least until I bought the backpack 35 liters!
Switching from a suitcase to a backpack
Moving from a suitcase to a backpack is not something you do so quickly. Or rather, physically it is easy, but mentally it requires a different effort in terms of weight and space. You don’t just have to buy a backpack, you also have to change your mind and remember that it will no longer be a matter of dragging and dropping objects behind you, but of carrying them on your shoulders and with your legs.
In return there is a feeling of freedom accentuated, no more making noise while with the wheels as we whizz through the streets of the center and not having to be careful to lift the suitcase at each sidewalk without descent, not having to wait for the elevator while you are late and not to tip over while you run to catch the train. The backpack becomes a part of ourselves, a turtle shell, a pillow on which to sleep while waiting for the coincidence at the airport.
The first trip with a backpack
Backpacking for the first time will be heavy. I buy the big backpack because “I have a lot of things to carry around”.
If I think about my first backpack now, I put my hands on my eyes and try to forget it. It was my first trip, three months in Thailand, I think I left with a backpack that at most I could have won with the points of the white mill of 30 years ago that probably for old age was destroyed piece by piece, day by day. So after a few weeks I bought the biggest backpack I could find.
A fake 110 litre North Face that when I had to put it on my shoulders I needed someone to help me because it was so full and heavy that I couldn’t even lift it. I was sweating and moving slowly, but I didn’t want to throw anything away, everything seemed so indispensable to me!
The second backpack
Two years later, I still had the same backpack, but I’d fill it in half. Returning from my travels, I realized that most of the things I carried with me were not used, but I always needed something I didn’t have. So I decided to buy a 70 litre backpack, it seemed to me a good compromise and I still think so today. It’s a backpack with an excellent field if you want to travel to destinations a little colder. It’s all there, including ski pants. It’s still one of my travel backpacks, I brought it with me to Oceania, Asia and even Canada.
It takes time to discover that most of the things we have are unnecessary. We have 400 clothes in the closet and we always put on the usual 10, lots of makeup and we always make up the same way. But we want to have freedom of choice, but what could be better than choosing while you’re already traveling than something we really need? Because that’s what you have to do, abandon the superfluous and put what you really need in your backpack.
The 35 litre backpack
It took me many years and many trips to realize that all I really need are mutants, T-shirts, two leggings and a pair of flip-flops. The jeans, the K-way, the sneakers and the sweatshirt are all clothes that I will be wearing on the plane and that will stay with me for the whole trip. Especially if you travel to hot countries or even during the mid-seasons in America you don’t need many things. If during the trip I need something I will buy it and on the contrary I will abandon what I don’t need anymore or that maybe it broke.
Why have three pairs of shoes if your feet are only two?
So I decided to travel with a 35 litre backpack, with which I can really travel long distances without destroying my shoulders or weighing down my back. This is a perfect backpack to use also as hand luggage on planes, so that I don’t have to wait once I get off the airport with the hope that all my things are not lost, I can get on the bus and I can keep it on my legs because it is not heavy and it is not bulky, so that I always have it with me. I can walk along the dirt roads of Cambodia or on the beaches of Thailand while I’m looking for a bungalow and I can rent a scooter and travel all over northern Vietnam with my backpack on my shoulders or just docked behind.
Travelling with a light backpack makes you feel free to move, run and decide in a second. You no longer have to think for yourself and your wardrobe, because your things are part of you, rest on your back.
So backpack on your shoulder and go!