The Anatomy of a Suitcase

There comes a point in every traveler’s life where one of the foremost crucial lessons is finally mastered: the art of packing a suitcase.

Anatomy of Suitcase

The suitcase can literally make or break a trip. Just ask anyone who has ever tried to lug a large rolling suitcase through the trenches of a developing country to one’s room or anyone who has had to jump/throw/squeeze/navigate/repeat through public transportation during rush hour. At the same time, a well-packed suitcase with just the right items can make a trip effortless and familiar.

What a seasoned traveler decides to pack in his suitcase:

Just the right combination of shoes. Each traveler has to predict to a certain degree which path he is willing and able to take. What inferences can be made as to the type of terrain and elements that will be encountered? This delicate question must balance the anticipation with the surprise of the new as knowing what is ahead breaks the mysterious beauty of travel. But it is not the future that captures the mind. It is the past. Each traveler carefully considers the past performances of their shoes to see which reliable pair will make the grade. Each traveler understands that each new step into the world is not done independently, but rather on the footprints of those that came before. So he take the support and the wisdom given to him in the past and careful selects which ones are going to carry his steps the furthest to tuck into a pocket of his journey.

The warm embrace of a sweater. Every traveler knows that there is always a possibility for a chilly encounter, even in the sunniest and tropical of locations. That is why every well-packed suitcase needs a sweater and not just any old sweater. The right travel sweater will be light and compact, but warm and inviting. Moments of cold and lonely, chilled and tense, dreary and unpredictable can happen in any trip, any day, any time. A sweater provides the dearest embrace in an unforgivable moment or a shell to hide away in for a few hours. Each new trip has the potential to touch any area of the human experience and as humans crave comfort, a sweater is just that when far from home.

The connections for any electrical outlet. It is without question that technology has become a sacred companion on our adventures. Technology, while not being the focus of our trips, does aid in the reflection and post-interaction with our communities. Our anxiety prompts us to research hotels with good electrical options before we take note of which serve complimentary breakfast. A steady traveler is no different. They are prepared with the necessary equipment to plug in and charge in a variety of potential contexts. People, like their manufactured companions, also connect and recharge. Any trip done correctly will push a person to see, interact, and reflect. It will cause an internal overload of new stimulations and outputs. A steady traveler will bring small, personal connectors that allow him to digest and recharge from his experiences so that he may be fully energized for the next leg.

Camera. In a world where humans cannot even eat lunch without snapping some shot of their sandwich, it is only natural that a camera be packed for a journey. An experienced traveler brings only his best. He chooses his frame of mind as he would a lens and camera. He packs the one that is the most open and understanding, untainted by colors and words of others. He is fully prepared to capture whatever his destination has ready for him with the utmost open mind and analytical eye.

Enough products. Beauty and cleansing products do more than just take up Ziploc bags when traveling. They give the individual a sense of the familiar, a little bit of the comforts of home. While toting around everything including the sink is not the immediate goal, people are more confident with themselves when they have little hints of familiar routines, scents, and sensations. These pick-me-ups are always necessary when traveling. Like a grand pair of shoes or a ready sweater, products reach out to us in often overlooked ways. They bring us back to whom we are and where we’ve come from. Further, they offer us tools to put on our face for the day. And there are days in every traveler’s logs where the sights and the realizations are too much to take in. Days where we simply need to put on an acceptable face to go out and greet the world.

Passport. The passport is to the suitcase as the identity is to the person. We travel because that is our passion, our drive, our self-proclaimed identity. Our passport proves that we are here. We have rights. We have experience. We have pages to fill. Just like our stamps, our identity bears the faded markings of our past journeys as well as the vibrant splash of new adventures.

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In delving into the anatomy of a suitcase, a traveler has brought the necessities of the past into the promise of the future. He has prepared himself for the trials and triumphs that await him on the other side of his ticket. He has learned that no coordination point on a map is unreachable with a well-packed suitcase for the seasoned traveler takes deliberately chosen bundles of home and leaves just enough space for the collection of souvenirs of growth along the way.


Learn the secrets to packing your own bags in my new book: Skipping Baggage Claim

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