Monday, November 15, 2010

Luggage Lust

I went to the local mall last week to get a new watch battery and what should have been a 10-minute errand turned into and hour and a half visit. I took a new route to the watch kiosk and discovered a luggage store -- one of those "luggage and travel" retailers that reel me in and in which I could get lost for days. It carried backpacks, duffel bags, suitcases of all sizes and shapes, fanny packs, passport holders, currency converters, language pocket guides, maps, compasses, travel underwear, electrical adapters and so much more. (Who knew you could travel for months with just one pair of lightweight, dry-in-minutes underwear, according to the shelf-talker...?) The promise of future travel always lures me into these stores and I have to admit that I really am afflicted with luggage lust. Some suffer shoe and boot fetishes, others love kitchen gear or scarves but I’m definitely nuts for luggage. Mind you, you’d never guess it by the looks of the raggedy discount variety I haul on and off planes these days. That’s because what I have now is just for day-in, day-out business and routine travel. But when it comes to planning a special trip, or a once-in-a-lifetime getaway like our gap year, that’s when I get serious. When we got married, my husband and I bought a perfect matching set of green and tan bags for our honeymoon and used them lovingly until the handles split and the suitcase-on-wheels variety made them obsolete. 

So into retail travel nirvana I went, not only to browse all the cool gadgets, but to do some serious research on what we'll need next year. I've already sold all the backpacks we'd used for previous European trips on Craig's List because I know we're beyond wanting to (or more accurately, beyond being able to without serious, lasting muscle pulls) strap everything on our backs at this point. But we do want to travel relatively lightly and compactly and a full set of Samsonite just won't cut it. So, we've settled on each getting as large a duffel as possible, without being ridiculous, and of course, they'll have to be on wheels! We figure this'll allow us to carry a good amount of stuff but will also help label us as young-at-heart adventurers, and not stuffy, middle-aged travelers. There were far fewer duffel choices than I’d hoped, but there were several to consider. The pink paisley was definitely not me (in fact, I can't imagine that any luggage in a print would be me!) and I refuse to buy another ubiquitous black travel bag. The luggage store visit whet my appetite for doing more searching for the perfect bag, and as always happens with me and travel gear, I’m sure it’ll be love at first sight when I find my perfect match.