As I begin the usually error filled activity of packing my backpack, attempting to remember all things and forgetting many I got thinking about other people’s packing methods for this mad, monotonous but paramount stepping stone to travelling.
There are the Panicy Packers with thousands of different lists, with everything laid on the bed in categories prior to packing. The panicer will constantly check every minute detail, from where their passport is to how many tissues they might need. The most extreme example of a panicy packer was one of my friends who before his trip generated a computer diagram of where everything in his bag was to maximise the space.
Then we have the Business Trippers, an army of people with identical suits, identical wheelie cases and identical awful personalities. Those infuriating wheelie cases are the bane of all my travelling experiences. They trail behind them whipping around like a black and metal tail tripping people as the march on by. They pack their bags with clear and concise purpose packing only a spare shirt and tie, laptop and the newest generic ‘popular’ book aka a Dan Brown novel.
The most abundant species seen at airports are the Throw-it-all-in-iums. These teenagers and twenty-somethings can be identified by their bizarre bags that bulge in strange places like a female weightlifter’s body. They appear calm and cool as they check-in but you can smile in the knowledge that they will get to their hostel and discover they’ve packed no underwear, shoes or money.
The family fun bags are commonly seen during the summer season, surrounded by screaming kids and already tired parents. The bag may look planned and packed like the businessman’s (except for the Bob the Builder stickers), however, when opened it reveals a bag repacked by the children. Now instead of clothes it contains a plethora of toys, in the place of wash products there are now colouring books all tarred by play-do.
It is definitely one of my favourite spectator sports to watch people at they airport and compare their bags, like owners and their dogs, people too resemble their bags. The panicked packer wears carefully selected clothes, like the trousers with zip off bottoms to create shorts and obvious iron marks still in their t-shirts. He can be easily spotted as the most nervous when it comes to check-in with a plastic pouch full of documents and beads of sweat rolling down his face. The businessman is by far the easiest to identify with his overly groomed appearance and steel like treatment of the flight staff. The last minute packer most resembles his bag, with his messy hair, crumpled and slightly smelly clothes and different coloured socks. The family’s bags are representations of the families, calm and fun on the surface but underneath a storm is brewing, a child induced storm.
What kind of packer am I? Well I’ll describe my bag and let you judge….
My backpack is a true labour of love, adorned with patches and badges of where I’ve been. Like a girl scout’s sash it acts as a certificate of a well-worn traveller. I brought it five years ago and since then it has followed me everywhere I go, whether it be Nepal, Rome of just back to university. Its huge in size but always full to bursting, carefully planned yet never uniform in shape and still stained with mud and scuff marks from its many adventures.