Obituary for a backpack

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Backpack was finally laid to rest today after struggle with an intensive period of travel and following more than a decade of service to Fiona McAlister.

Like many of its brethren, backpack’s date of birth is unknown but, significantly, it joined its owner Fiona in her sixth form year, 2001. Bred from the MacPac stable, it was destined to be a day pack, sold adjoined to a larger traveling pack that survives it, but only as a place to store ski gear under the stairs. At this time we make no comment on MacPac’s claim of a ‘lifetime guarantee’.

Backpack’s first adventure was a year’s exchange in Spain. Displaying characteristic loyalty to its owner it made no efforts to notify authorities responsible for the exchange of illegal side trips taken throughout Europe and to Morocco.

In the following years backpack endured many a night train ride between Hamilton and Wellington, spent ten weeks being schlepped around Central America, ten more in South Asia and Tibet, more still in South East Asia including a daring ascent of Mt Kinabalu, and countless ski trips in between.

Its owner considered backpack a natural choice when setting out on an indefinite period of travel beginning shortly before New Year 2014. Some detractors were concerned it had an inadequate harness and may not be up for the rigors of ongoing travel. But overwhelming nostalgia won out and it boarded a plane for South America.

Though its fabric faded its functionality remained intact almost to the end. Only when medical tape and sticking plasters raided from the travel first aid kit were not enough to plug the holes in its fraying bottom was a replacement sought.

Backpack was laid to rest in La Paz, Bolivia. Local customs of burning llama fetuses purchased from the witches market were considered, but discounted, to recognise its demise. Instead the heart shaped map of Wellington pin sported by backpack in recent years will be ceremoniously adorned on its successor.

Backpack is survived by a Kathmandu travel-lite, a red Deuter women’s pack and a colourful Ecuadorian handbag.

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