“Against Travel Bags with Wheels” by Philip Dacey

I always get comments about my traveling light abilities, which has been shaped and crafted over the years through several lessons. It’s amazing how little you need in order to be comfortable, clean, and efficient.

With my new travel job, I’ve been contemplating getting a bag with wheels, the small size that can fit on a plane with all the rest of humanity. The other day, I was walking with my backpack, counting how many people had small bags on wheels and virtually, every person that passed me had one. Do I want to join that club? Of course, some of them were headed to baggage claim to pull off more bags. I wonder how much of that they really use?

I ran across this poem today and it made me smile because I too have an infatuation with my small backpack. With each trip, I challenge myself to see if it will be enough, can be enough, regardless of weather varieties, etc. I’ll also admit that my ocd kicks in at the end of a trip because I count how many things I brought that I never once used. It’s usually a very small amount, but either way, I always get this dorky sense of satisfaction by living off what’s on my back.

Happy travels everyone!

“Against Travel Bags with Wheels”

Let me bring with me
only what I can sling
over my shoulder
or lug in one hand.

Let people say, “Why is that old man
carrying his bag like that? Is he
simple-minded? Too poor or too cheap
to buy a bag with wheels?”

And let my belongings not skim
the walkways and ramps but bump
against my hip, reassuringly intimate,
whispering with the sound of cloth

rubbing on cloth about the lesson
of gravity, how the earth loves us,
and that without wheels my two legs
are enough, the rolling bag so close a cousin

to wheelchairs and rolling walkers
as to scare me into a scarcity
of carried items, only what’s necessary
for the journey, the extras jettisoned,

for this bag is my brother, the shoulder strap
his arm around my neck, the two of us
comrades for the road, this bag
my camerado, this bag I name Walt.

By Philip Dacey

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