Packing My Life Into A Backpack

Photo by Michael Competielle

The Past

When the Communists entered my grandparent’s Austrian homestead, they were forced to pack up and leave. They were only allowed one truck amongst the family and were required to pack within the hour and head out onto the road. 

Often I try to imagine the feeling of being forced to pack within one hour everything that matters to me into a trunk and carry it away. The remainder of my belongings never to be seen again. 

What would I deem important? Are some of my worldly possessions not going to fit, easily replaceable or nonessential? For the most part yes. 

With the false sense of security feeling, this will never happen to me I can simply disregard the notion and not worry. But history has a tendency to repeat itself, and even if it will never happen, what do I really possess that could fill that trunk?

In war-torn 1940’s Europe, I’d say clothing, food, blankets and some photographs. Not much more would really matter. Discarded and left behind as I’m certain many felt lucky they were escaping with their lives.

Stuffing Your Life in a Backpack

So my experiment is what items are of essential importance to my daily needs? The backpack concept comes from a desire to travel to more remote destinations where I would need to minimize my packs. 

My passion to travel has never been stronger and my quest to document these experiences is the single most important objective. 

My pack will include a camera to capture the scenery and experience as I attempt to seize the moment and freeze it in time. 

The sound of environments has become my latest experiment and therefore I must bring along my audio recording gear. 

Recently I’ve come to the realization that I’m also a writer. Pen to paper not so much as I write on an iPad or laptop. Seems that also needs to go into the pack.

I’m looking into a lightweight Buddhist prayer rug so I can sit close to the earth and become connected to my environment.

Clothing, some snacks, and water I’m thinking the pack is full and going to be heavy.

Lightening the Load

My iPhone can actually handle most of the tasks mentioned above, photography and video, sound recording, writing, and even a few ebooks I would feel relatively complete. 

Any of the other equipment would need to improve the capabilities of my cellphone or else their value begins to fade after hours of humping the heavy pack through the paths of travel.

What about all we left behind

So now I begin to question everything I’ve left behind. Is anything essential? As a collective of physical content much of the things I own I’d say yes. However if I was forced to pack them into a trunk, never to see the items left behind could I survive? Am I willing to walk away from the clutter of life and feel complete and whole? 

One day I’m certain to find out. Be it my quest for enlightened travel or my placement into my eternal place of rest. 

Author: mtcwriter

Michael Competielle is a Creative Designer specializing in Sound, Brand and Experiential Design.

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