A Texas Rose in a Spanish Garden

What Kind of Backpack Are You?

I have the good fortune of living in Spain right now, and it often serves as a jumping off point for a bit of frequent travel as my studies permit. While I could go into raptures about places I’ve been this year, I will dedicate this blog to an interesting phenomenon: the travelling backpack.

I see this item everywhere, but what makes this subject unique, is the way a given model seems to suit a specific type of person. It is kind of like the idea of one’s dog taking on the owner’s appearance. You’ve seen those photos where a bulldog is juxtaposed to a man with jowls, etc. In any case, I have noticed that backpacks reflect personality types. Maybe you will see yourself in one of the categories below.

Dapper Dan: this tourist has to look good, even while on the road. Hence the reason he stands out. Few travelers I know go to many extremes to match their clothing, not to mention their backpack color and style, to the season. Maybe this person has more than one. The most notable is the gorgeous brown leather job that is the perfect accessory for similar toned boots (yes they are hiking) and belt. It is a wonderful sight to behold given that it is so rare.

Subway Susie: this gal is a bit of a mess and you might mistake her for one of those beggars in the metro or underground who needs a handout. Her clothes are rumpled to match her hair. She slings a backpack over her shoulders, and it, too, looks a bit smashed and forlorn. She can’t have many possessions in it—it is rather small—so maybe just essentials. I hope there is a comb and a brush.

Toting Tim: this guy relies on his trusty backpack since he has no other luggage in tow. It is jam packed with a change of clothes, toiletries, books, and even an all-weather jacket. Tim is a dutiful traveler who has thought through every item. His choice of backpack is a sturdy heavy fabric double stitched and accented with rivets. This thing will last through the entire itinerary for sure. The straps are not flimsy and look like they can bear most any weight.

Fashionista: this individual, male or female, likes the latest thing. That goes for one’s backpack as well. Whether he or she is on a train to Madrid, a bus to Toledo, or a car to Granada, everyone will know who has taste and who does not. This person prides himself or herself on being on trend and in the know, and they always can be seen with the best backpacks. They are not afraid of color and ornamentation. They are thrilled about new models by Marc Jacobs, Chloe, and Moschino. It is a major point of pride to own one.

Jivin’ Jackson: this hipster has a backpack that screams “musician.” Even if he is not one, he wants to look cool. It is essential to create the right vibe. You never know who you will meet while wandering about the world. The surface of the tote bag he carries is laden with stickers that reveal his favorite pop and rock groups, and special venues where he has enjoyed them. There is even one for Burning Man, the new Woodstock. This fellow reeks cool, so let’s give him his due when you run across him.

Camping Carla: this practical miss likes to save money by traveling in the summer when the weather is nice. She won’t hesitate to camp out if necessary. Thus, her backpack serves her needs well. It is chock full of compartments inside so she can find things in a jiffy. If she needs utensils for a meal on the run, her cell phone, dark glasses, hair clips and the like, she knows where they reside. Nothing is ever amiss as she knows the art of packing quite well.

Jumbled Jim: last but not least we have an individual who could care less about backpack contents. He stuffs and stuffs things in as fast as he can. He is always on to the next stop. His model of choice is therefore expandable. The sides open up to accommodate pretty much any need. His clothes are soft, so his bag looks like a giant balloon made of denim. Where on earth did he find this monstrosity of a backpack? But it does its job in stride.

So do you recognize yourself in any of these stereotypes that I myself have encountered? If not, let me know if there is one I have missed and I will add you to the list.