I start with my bigass canvas bag from Portland, into which goes all of my clothing and non-liquid toiletries and anything else I won’t need on the plane or which I’m not worried about losing. Liquids, my netbook, my Kindle, and my travel pillow (along with the usual purse stuff—chapstick and my wallet and phone) go in a tote along with my belt. I had been using a very large canvas tote my aunt sewed for me years ago, but it was getting pretty bedraggled from years of use and had an annoying tendency to flop over while I was carrying a lot of things in it.
I purchased its replacement while visiting that same aunt this weekend: it’s a Blue Q shoulder tote with a squirrel on it. In addition to the ethical warm-fuzzies that I am obligated to feel because the bag is made from recycled grain sacks and the company donates to charities of some kind, I enjoy the thing because it’s a totally rad travel bag. Because it’s made of a plastic-y material, it won’t be ruined by spilled water. It folds like an accordion, so when it’s packed full of things it stands straight up. It’s designed to be able to stay upright under airplane seat (I’m writing this on a plane—it totally does!). It’s got a large outer pocket for my cell phone and random other crap, and it zips on top so my shit doesn’t fall out when I’m flailing around like a defective person. It only cost me $15. Plus, it’s got a squirrel on it.
My security travel strategy involves a thoughtful allocation of material between my two bags. Because the awesome canvas bag is built like a tank, it’s hard to get in and out of. As a result, it does not get opened until I’m at my destination. Anything that needs to be moved around goes in the tote, where it is easily accessible.
You guys? I think it’s official. Squirrel bag and its bigass canvas cousin made me into a travel ninja. Screw college, I’m done. I have accomplished what I was sent here to do.