I stay up late. It is my time to get connected to people that inspire me. I watch PBS - Poldark, Independent Lens, Nature, Finding Your Roots, and more. The stories of creators in art, literature, music, social change, and film drive me to question myself and work inspiration into ideas into products that I love the most - bags that we carry.
I remember hearing "Pack Your Bag Something Small" on the radio one day and saying - this is it - "Take what you need and we disappear . . . "
Matthew's song captures part of the goal. Pack small. If you know the Kámen Road story, you know that figuring out the perfect size for carry-on only travelers was the goal. It is supporting the experience of connection that we get when we are free from stuff and attached to only what we love the most (a little Kondo creeping in here). I pay respect to the utility of the suitcase on wheels and the convenience of synthetic travel clothes, but I was never and am not now satisfied with the idea that we need luggage on wheels to travel and perfectly coordinating outfits.
I grew tired of watching my travel pants change after a few washings. They looked grubby now with white nylon threads disrupting the once smart, tailored look and promise of day-to-night styling for a packing light solution. Nylon was the source of that embarrassing "swishing" or "crunching" - whatever you want to call it - the noise that certain polyesters make (that windbreaker/raincoat rub).
My quest continues for the most personal travel wardrobe made of all natural materials that steps beyond the capsule wardrobe concept - I want prints and color - and more tailored cuts. I want more than three hues of the best is basics. How far can the basics carry you in travel really? Doesn't the navy during the day and same navy for the night just drain the joy out of self-expression? Do I have to match and coordinate every day of my travels? Give me six favorite things - and room enough for several new design finds - and I am "content on the open road." I argue more than content but feeling more alive this way.
Photo of Sophie Bergquist
I ask myself all the time - What is it that creates the "totally alive" feeling when we travel? A new street, new sounds, temperatures, greetings, sunlight, and the crossing of a place that trigger the senses, making the world around us sharper, brighter, closer . . . I can't think of the words that can truly describe it.
Have you ever noticed your energy change after you really settle into a place? How your thoughts change as if you are standing outside of yourself? I call that - feeling totally alive. Two major experiences in Guatemala and in the Czech Republic told me one bag is the way - the same bag for a weekend and a six-month trip. It can be done.
How many of you have stories about the totally alive feeling that changed you, revealed a different level of thinking, creating, understanding? You begin to see a new side of yourself that you might not have noticed without this new experience of place.
One night, I was watching Finding Your Roots and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is interviewing author Azar Nafisi about her life as a writer and her immigrant experience to Washington D.C. from Iran. She says, "I have a portable home that I always carry with me which is literature and memories." I sat up. That's it. A portable home. Our bag can be our portable home. I leave you to imagine it. I would love to know your thoughts.
Thank you always! Kathleen
Photo credits: me of Sophie Bergquist with the Weekender Bag and the amazing Ron Fernandez - https://www.ronfernandez.com