Packing a suitcase. The mere act of packing a suitcase implies optimism. Surely we will arrive at our destination safely and require the various items we deemed necessary for for our visit to a new place and another way of life for a precious while. Items of necessity jostle for room with items that tell our story. The practical shoes we hope will carry us to secluded hidden corners of a city, so we become less tourist and more explorer. The sparkly dress that everyday hangs in the back of the closet, a wistful reminder of Big Band music, Mojito’s and moonlight. The items that reveal our intrepid selves get to come out and have a carefully allotted place in our suitcases. Our suitcases also tell our stories, the battered corners and the scratch from the taxi in Singapore. The half torn off luggage tag with MIA, and the wobbly wheel that has survived hot tarmac and cold airplane holds below us as we fly through the air.
I smile and shake my head when I see plastic wrapped status suitcases, carefully protected to look new, trip after trip. And even though I’m opposed to snap judgments about my fellow travelers, I feel there is a difference in philosophy. My suitcase has battle scars that I wouldn’t trade for new and shiny. New is wonderful, ripe with possibility, when it is new. I adore a new passport, the empty pages taunt me and speak to me. I imagine the stamps it will collect over the next decade and the soft worn feel in my hand it will acquire. It will be just right as it is about to expire. And then, the time will come for a new picture, a decade later, that will remind me that all the memories collected have added their texture and lines on me as well, not just my luggage, and I am grateful for every journey and every mark.