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.
Caroline Beit is a first-year in Ezra Stiles College. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.