A different kind of travelogue. As an avid young traveller I often wondered what would it would be like when I got older, gathered commitments, created children and accrued debt. This is what it's like.
Every now and again I fall impossibly in love with a small every day item. Today its a plastic bag. That’s inspired by an 8 day walk I completed recently with my father in New Zealand. He was bemused. The plastic bag in question is not unique. I hope you too can find similar love in your low cost, low impact, ultra-lightweight world. Admittedly I’m bordering on Plastic Polygamy or Polybagy as there were really a few bags. Bag One; A tiny little #Nanoblock bag. Tough, reusable, waterproof, all-but-weightless and it has character. Each time I pull it out of my #GossamerGear pack I’m tickled by its attributes. It holds my entire wash-kit on hikes/walks. In fact it has become my wash kit on most short breaks be they work or pleasure. One short toothbrush, one tiny toothpaste tube, one disposable razor, one minuscule sample size bottle of aftershave and one well chosen “disposable” shampoo bottle for multi function soap (Me, My clothes, My cook-kit). What I love most about it is that it reminds me of my kids for whom the nano-blocks were bought. I also love the fact that its supposed to be waste and yet the “American Shorthair” must have joined me on dozens of flights and even more nights out in the wilderness. Its going strong. And I have the “Meerkat” nano-blocks bag to step in when it meets its plasticky end. Bag Two; Coffee Works Coffee Bag. This is the 2kg Bag that I bought from the #Coffeeworks stall in #Rusty’s Market in Cairns, Far North Queensland in the Tropical end of Australia. This little beauty is perfectly sized for a printed A4 sheet of paper; that means cheapo Topographic map print outs. I tend to carry a pencil and can scribble notes, drawings, Hitching Desinations on the edges or backs of the maps. My Coffeeworks bag has similar miles to its name. It has contained an entire 4 day menu, it is a book saver and on at least one occasion it saved me from #hypothermia. (A cautious moment had me place my warmest inner layer of clothing in there before a simple looking river crossing. Ah….those simple looking river crossings. Well, one comedic moment later, everything was soaked in ice cold water. There followed a wardrobe change so swift Lady Gaga would have been proud and merino wool/polypropylene saved my day.) There are hundreds of little re-usable gems out there and after they have seeped into my ultralight backpacking life the same gems have creeped into my everyday life. Just have a little think about what you call waste. It could be a life-saver. And changing your attitude to waste could be a life-of-the-planet-saver. It reminds me of a book that a friend gave me years ago. “Cradle to Cradle” by McDonagh and Braungart, North Point Press. (ISBN-13: 978-0-86547-587-8) The book makes the reasonable point that shopping bags should be made of paper and books made from plastic, not the other way around. Find it. Get the library to get it for you. (They will.) Read it. All I ask for is a little more appreciation of the little things and possibly that Nanoblocks keep using that precious plastic for my precious little plastic bags.