My Favourite Travel Companion
My mind has always been on travel. As a kid, while my friends would talk about the cars and houses they’d own one day, I’d sit and dream about all the places I would go as soon as I was old enough to be the mistress of my own journeys. And I’m fortunate enough to have a mother who not only encouraged me to travel, but to do it as far and wide as I could.
When I was in high school, she bought me a desk for my room that had a huge map of the world on its surface, which often served more as a hindrance to my homework efforts than a help, since I spent most of the time daydreaming about a life filled with travelling.
Then the year I turned 18, she bought me the sleeping bag I’d long been coveting. It was a high-tech version that would keep me warm in below-freezing temperatures, and I’d envisioned that it would accompany me on all my wild adventures. Sadly I discovered that it was way too hot for anything but below-freezing, meaning I spent most trips sleeping on it rather than in it. And for my 21st birthday, Mum bought me my very first rucksack – a 30-litre Karimoor that ended up circling the globe many times on my own back (often so laden that I couldn’t stand up without assistance) as well as those of many of my friends.
By the time I turned 30, I’d already lived in several different countries and ticked off many of the destinations I’d spent so much time poring over at my desk instead of studying. The feeling of incessant wanderlust was just a normal part of living for me, and so it was fitting that for my birthday that year, my mum helped me buy what has become my favourite travel companion: a leather gladstone bag, embossed with my initials. With every new journey, it gains new marks and scratches – all souvenirs from my travels – and often acts as a seat or pillow during long layovers at airports and train stations. And I hope will continue to accompany me on my adventures for the rest of my life.