Sunday, June 20, 2010

Around the World in 80 Bags

In 8 years of criss-crossing the oceans between the United States and the South Pacific region, I have gone through 8 suitcases.

If only those suitcases could talk...they'd tell you about exotic tropical destinations like New Caledonia (Coral Sea), the northern tip of New Zealand (Wahihoihoi), the southern tip of Australia (Tasmania), the beaches of South Florida, the dunes of Oregon, and a trip or two to my all-time favorite destination, Vancouver, BC.

The two green suitcases I first took to Australia in 2003 are long gone. The two black bags I brought back from Tasmania were donated recently to the Goodwill store in Wilton Manors, Florida, where I picked up a cloth suit bag and a Sharper Image carry on bag for under $25.

I have bought a new suitcase every know and again, and buying a brand name does not always mean better than the no-name hand-me-downs from the Salvation Army stores that I frequent at every destination.

For instance, I bought a Kenneth Cole designer suit bag in bright orange in Manhattan for a pretty penny, swayed by the warranty (which was not honored a month after purchase for workmanship). It never made but one or two trips and I "donated" the unsuitable bag to the Muslim Charity Container in Sydney. Actually, the bag was too big to put into the bin, and I had a feeling it would be scarfed up overnight. Good riddance!

My hot pink-wheelie and designer pattern bag from New Zealand remains my all-time favorite. I almost didn't buy it in Rotorua, but glad now that I did. Worth every penny, it has traversed the Pacific Ocean 5 times so far. I have to watch carefully at baggage claim carrousels that someone doesn't grab it and run. It's so distinctive, I've never seen another like this Quicksilver-brand bag.

My latest additions are not long for the world tour. Maybe a dee-tour or two. But the $25 WalMart special is only designed for a few plane changes before it is replaced with one of those fancy new roller bags, and the tiny orange cosmetic bag - well that was an impulse buy for carry-on cosmetics.

I consider it a credit to claim my entire worldly possessions can be contained in about 8 suitcases (3 I leave in Australia, 3 I travel with, and 2 are in storage in Florida). I can't even count the number of golf bags and computer bags I have owned over the years and schlepped across continents. Many R.I.P., and many are living new lives ex Salvos, Goodwill, and the Charity Shops I have encountered across the miles.

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