The Romance of Luggage

I don’t get excited about shopping for much, but two items do get the old heart racing: plastic containers (a story for another time) and luggage.luggage small

I love luggage. Suitcases, carry-on luggage, backpacks, laptop bags, duffle bags, multipurpose hold-alls. I get absorbed in details of hard-sided vs. soft-sided, construction materials, stitching, TSA locks, internal accommodation, handles top and side, robustness of wheels, stuff like that. I’m entranced by the subtleties of weight – ‘What? With the Travel-Meister I can fit in another pair of shoes and still avoid excess baggage payment? I’ll have one in mint green, please!’ I dwell on colours, because we all want something that will stand out on the baggage conveyor, which means that no-one has anything that stands out on the baggage conveyor.

I even like the smell of luggage, so similar but different from new car smell. I get all comparisony about the virtues of different sizes and systems and brands in a way that I probably wouldn’t even with a buying a car, where ‘Yeah, that’ll do’ is probably my usual strategy.

I think I know why I’m so caught up in the romance of luggage. It’s pretty obvious, really. Luggage is a means to an end. Luggage is an integral part of something delightful.

Luggage is part of travel.

I’ve always loved the glorious image of gorgeous, battered steamer trunks from the thirties, plastered with labels from distant, exotic ports – Alexandra, Buenos Aires, Bombay. I’ve dreamed of porters manhandling leather suitcases onto the Orient Express, the Trans-Siberian Railway, the Boat Train. I get all dreamy about travellers toting bags onto the Queen Mary, the Fairstar, or whatever the Women’s Weekly World Discovery Tour is offering this year.

It’s Pavlovian, really. When I see luggage I think of travel. I think of journeys undertaken in the past and the joys they’ve brought me. I think of holidays I’ve gone on and the special times, the very special times that they’ve enabled. When I see luggage I think of trips I’d like to take in the future and the anticipation gets me all a flutter. Yes, St Petersburg! Yes, the Galapagos! Yes, Montenegro! See people, see things, come home with a mind broader and more informed than it ever was before! Get out there, Michael, get out there!

With good luggage, of course, and whistling jauntily as I wheel it along, passport at the ready.