Backpacking Home

Featured image: backpacking in the rain

By Caroline Beit

A series of backpacks

Possess everything dear

Carrying home with me, holding me back, pushing me to explore

Sometimes my whole life seems to fit: the tiny house, in the tiny town, can all fit into the tiny backpack placed upon my tiny back

As childhood curiosities stretched and grew, the backpack of home followed too

If everything around me constantly grows, from my home to my bags, to the bounds and

borders of space, time, and place;

Do I grow or just find myself home in a continually smaller constellation?

The universe into my bag, my home, and my burden expanding at a humbling rate

In the tiny town, with my now less tiny backpack, I went to the tiny school, a tiny distance away

Enduring the tribulations of school, my backpack collected momentos and projects and learnings.

Did home travel with me or I away?

Or was home simply redefined?

School, a piece of my home, haphazardly fitting on my back in my ever-growing backpack

As I grew, my backpack followed too

As friends moved away, the places they now called home from Hershey to Hong Kong to Mozambique were tiny threads sewn into the fabric of my abode, reminding me of places I should go

But soon the confines of home, simultaneously too small and heavy, and the world calling my name made me decide to fly and soar and go to places I’d only dreamed of before

So this time, into my backpack I packed a home of sorts, my worldly possessions for the many months of travel ahead

Out of the tiny town I flew

From Vietnam to India, to Ecuador and Peru

I carried a backpack, but was home even there?

My tiny town and home eclipsed by the world’s wonders.

A child of the earth, the bride of travel, redefining the home I carried

But when you explore and expand your worldview, how can you carry it all on your back

At some point, wearied by rickshaws and boats, trains and freights, I returned home only to venture out again, this time 61 miles and one border away, yet somehow the furthest place

While I still carry home with me, nothing fits neatly anymore

Home can no longer be packed up, yet somehow still moves

Packed and unpacked at a fragile equilibrium at best.

Vietnamese mountains.

Caroline Beit is a first-year in Ezra Stiles College. You can contact her at