While my friend is trying to plan what to pack and anticipating conference sessions satirically yet accurately, I’ve been spiraling back to baggage. In particular, what bags do I bring along on a trip that involves plane, train, and automobile, professional conferencing, travel, and adventure?

It’s no secret that I love the things that strap to my back or are otherwise carried, especially when they have extra clips, zippers, pockets, and the like. Thinking about it, I realize that I’ve purchased four different backpacks (returning only one) in the past year, each for a different task. But do I bring any of these? Or a large suitcase to contain the backpack(s)? And what of my favorite leather satchel?

This is my continual challenge: How to carry along the materials for the variety of tasks. For this trip I think a solid piece of luggage would be best for the plane, but a flexible, large backpack best for throwing on the train. My leather satchel is ideal for walking between conference sessions in an urban landscape, but my low profile, water-carrying, cinched-and-buckled daypack is necessary when we are taking a break from writing in the desert.

There are worse problems to have. I could say that this is all a metaphor for my other lives, how to package, conceptually, what I’m working on. But really, right now, I’m just thinking about how to pack, which is intermixed with what to do, who to see, and how to write about it (which is actually a part of my research this time — not just some other extraneous hobby). I could try to describe all of this better, but I don’t think I’ll really understand all that I’m doing until I’m doing it. Each potential bag is just the container of other potential adventure.

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