Okay, so *technically* I am not a backpacker. I don’t sleep in dorm rooms if I can help it. I don’t include alcohol in my daily meals or consider drinking late into the night with strangers fun. Heck, I don’t even travel with all my stuff in a “backpack”. When I left on my overseas adventure, I packed all my stuff into a huge duffel and a smaller duffel and used my beat up old Jansport backpack for carry on and day use (though I did pack a smaller purse for work and stuff). I do travel with a backpack, it’s just not used how most people use theirs.

My backpack, pockets and all

My Jansport has been with me forever. I remember exactly when I got it. Costco. New Jersey. August. 2001. My sister, mom and I were back east over the summer for a wedding when my backpack broke. My aunt, who lives in this HUGE house had never been to Costco before. My mom has a card, so we went, just so I could get a backpack. I didn’t love the bag. In fact, I sort of kind of hated it. It was nothing special with a vinyl bottom (I wanted leather) and had about 600 pockets. It was $20. I assumed I would get it, use it for the rest of the trip and maybe the school year and it would break and I would finally get the one I really wanted.

11 years later, I am still using the same bag. I sort of forgot my hate for it after a while. I used it for school and all my trips. It’s my go-to carry-on bag. All those pockets turned out to be a godsend. If a bottle of water spills in one pocket, the rest of the stuff in the other pockets are saved. There are so many pockets and it’s so deep, it’s easy to hide money and passports in there, especially when it’s packed full. No one is going to waste their time digging threw my mess to get to my stuff. There is so much room in it that I managed to jam a weekends worth of clothes in it when I went to Chicago last year and didn’t want to pay for carry on on Spirit. It fit comfortably under my seat.

All the tags from the travels. I try not to take them off, if I can help it! I love them all!

Looking back, I can’t believe it’s lasted this long. The zippers are still in fine working order and there are no holes, but the insides are starting to fray and jam up the zippers sometimes, but so far I have always managed to pull everything loose. I love all the pockets and secret places inside. And I love that I bought it at Costco in New Jersey, on my travels. This bag has lasted the longest I have ever, even after constant use. Here’s to another 11 years with the best backpack ever.

Moral: I was inspired to write this piece after all the backpack posts over at Her Packing List. Since I don’t travel with a traditional backpack, I thought I would write about my pack that is near and dear to my heart here. Do you have a bag that means that much to you?