Think local. Act global. Learn more about the Peace Corps


9/13/09 The Saga of the Sack

Note for Americans and other aliens: The French word for "backpack" is "sac-a-dos", so the Darija word for backpack, adopted from the French, is "sac", which sounds exactly like the English "sack". I've therefore fallen into the habit of referring to my hiking pack as my "sack", when talking to Moroccans or Americans.

Once upon a time, some nice folks at Kelty(TM) sewed together nylon and rayon and other tough, water-resistant, synthetic fibers to make a backpack. It was a massive, internal-frame pack, with a heavily padded back and shoulder straps, dozens of places to attach water bottles, sleeping bags, hiking boots, and nearly anything else, plus more heavy-gauge straps than any three bags really need. This thing was built to last and to lead a rugged life.

And it did.

The sack bounced along in a shipping truck to St. Louis, which made it feel vaguely ashamed - surely sacks aren't meant to travel by truck?? - but it brightened right up when it moved into its new home at the outdoor gear store. It had lots of sacks to talk with and trade stories (though so far, none had a good story to tell), plus sleeping bags and other camping gear, who told some really high-quality campfire tales.

Eventually, the sack found a home, with a nice family. They took it to Costa Rica, which made the little sack swell with pride. It trekked up and down volcanic terrains and through rainforests. It returned to St. Louis stuffed with lovely memories of its adventures, plus all the new stories it had heard from the other backpacks piled into the oversized baggage section of the airplane, en route to Central America.

Not long thereafter, the sack got to walk part of the Appalachian Trail. This proved to be an *excellent* opportunity to trade gossip with other hiking packs, since most of the gear was stashed together each night, while the people sat around the fire and swapped stories of their own.

After that, the sack's life quieted down somewhat. Over time, quietly gathering dust, it began to feel a bit forlorn. Fortunately, its family had *lots* of members, and the sack found itself being transferred from the tallest one to the second tallest one, who promptly stuffed it swollen and flew it to Morocco.

In Morocco, it returned to the quiet life; its new little sister, a featherweight pack, got to go on all of their new person's trips.

Many, many months after it arrived in Morocco, it found itself lent to a friend of its tall person. This shorter person carried it to Ireland, where the sack polished up its story-telling skills (it didn't hurt that the new person took it to the Blarney Stone) and remembered its glory days of hiking and starlit nights near campfires.

The sack returned to Morocco for only a few days before being repacked. It felt a bit confused as to its new contents - there seemed to be an awful lot of hard, lumpy objects, and very little of anything that felt like clothing or food - but when its tall person carried it off to the airport, it felt very important indeed.

The sack bounced through several major European capitals before traveling to San Francisco, where all its lumpy contents - lanterns, instruments, jewelry, scarves, and woven objects - were displayed during a talk about Morocco. The sack leaned against a wall, listening to the presentation. It wanted to make a few points of its own, about the quality of storage spaces on buses and in transits, but decided to wait for a more opportune moment.

The sack soon found itself repacked, this time with what it found more suitable contents: clothing, food, polar fleeces, and other vital items. Some of these would stay with his person; others would be given to friends. The sack slipped into the baggage space under the 777, flying from San Francisco to Europe, feeling very important indeed.

Its person made two quick connections in Europe before ending up in Sevilla, Spain. The sack had a somewhat different itinerary.

Just how different, it is still keeping to itself. Someday, it may share the journey it took during its five days of freedom...but for now, all its person knows is that it found its way to Sevilla after she had left, and that despite protestations from the good people at Air Berlin that it would be shipped to her home in Berberville, it instead came to rest at the airport in Marrakesh, where it will sit until the floodwaters abate and her work level calms down to the point where she can take the cross-country trek to retrieve it.

So now, the sack sits quietly, in a dark room marked LOST BAGS, waiting for its person to bring it home in preparation for its next adventure...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Think local. Act global. Learn more about the Peace Corps