Fellow Brave Travelers,
While in Lithuania last week, my beloved Forecast wheeled suitcase of ten years succumbed to the stress of those attractive but treacherous cobblestone streets of the Old Town. The right wheel cracked and wore down to the size of a marble, and the bottom seams ripped open about an hour later. I dragged my bag, I yanked it up Soviet-style perehod walkways that were devoid of escalators, and I might have cursed a bit as I tried to pull it up yet another hill — wiling it along because the idea of having to abandon the bag, and buy a new one on the fly, really upset me. Ultimately, I ended up leaving the bag at the dumpster at the bus station in Riga, Latvia. There was just no way I could take it through the next three countries with me.
Was this hard to do? You bet. Journey thousands of miles away from home with only yourself, your loved ones (if you’re lucky) and the two-three pieces of luggage at your feet, and you won’t want to part with anything, even if everyone is staring at you as the wheels screech and the rubber starts to burn right off. So how do you move on when your big beautiful bag is a symbol of how you overcame so many emotional and psychological obstacles to go abroad? Here are some suggestions.
1. Face facts that your luggage is no longer useable — the earlier, the better. If you keep using broken luggage that is difficult to pull or lift, you risk injuring yourself (strained back, wrist, etc.) and dealing with a very stressful scenario of having to seek medical help in an unfamiliar area. You also risk creating a serious hazard if the bag collapses and items fall out in the middle of a pedestrian walkway or as you board a train or bus. Letting go of your baggage will save you trouble — literally and figuratively.
2. Take a piece of your old bag with you to make it easier to move on. In my case, I snipped off the front compartment of my bag and used it to provide some valuable cushioning for the souvenir books I brought home.
3. Make buying your new bag as enjoyable and interesting as possible. It’s an unexpected chance to shop for something practical at the nearest foreign mall or department store. Tell the shop manager where you’re from and what happened to you. They might not give you a discount, but they will certainly be sympathetic and wish you happy travels — and help you find a great new piece that will journey with you on many great adventures to come.