We all have baggage that we’ll carry around forever – whether we are able to actually ever let go of it is another question.  However, if I’m going to accept and acknowledge my baggage I at least want something good and trustworthy to hold it all.


My trusty red North Face backpack has been just that –  my constant and reliable companion for the last nine years.  It accompanied me into my freshman year of highschool, supported me when I almost failed out of chemisty my sophmore year (an event so traumatizing I’ll probably never let go of it), carried my snacks to track meets and field hockey games, took me to my summer job as a camp counselor, carried my laptop to and from New York countless times for college breaks and holidays, kept me company during my all nighters, all the while never wearing or showing signs of weakness from my stuffing too many books or hiking gear into it.


And finally, it came with me on the 17-hour flight from Los Angeles to Bangkok as I made my debut in Asia.  Instead of holding the books I was studying, it held the books I was teaching.  It watched me change from adolescent to “adult,” student to teacher.

And then the strap gave out . . . only half way.  I could see the pack struggling to keep itself together before unraveling completely and giving out.  There is no way that this backpack, which has held all my books, adventures and secrets was going to be stranded here, leaving those contents to disintegrate.

However, surprises exist around every corner in Saigon, and the one I needed is just down the street.  With an old manual sewing machine parked right out on the street, this quirky woman (with the most charming smile) sat at the ready to tackle any tailoring need.  Backpacks included.

For $10,000 VND ($0.50 US cents) my backpack is mended and ready to accompany me on my adventures and mishaps.  I will always have baggage, but at least I have something reliable to keep it in.

About aweinfur

Learning and Organizational Change graduate student at Northwestern University. Yogi. Happy.
This entry was posted in Adventure, Saigon, Southeast Asia, Teaching, Travel, Vietnam and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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