Travelogue for a Suitcase: A Weathered Wheel

“I don’t like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and it isn’t of much value. Life hasn’t revealed its beauty to them.”

 – Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago

Justine Leonhardt. Suitcase. 2012. JPEG.

The whole of my hand through to my arm, elbow and shoulder vibrated as I clumsily dragged my bag up the rounded stones of the road. There were no cars in the area, and few pedestrians so early in the morning, but the ricocheting back and forth between the stones, the intense vibration of my bag going forward, made the world seem all-awake. I knew the Alhambra would appear on the hills of Granada soon, and the hostel that couldn’t be more than a few minutes away since I’d been dragging my bag for thirty minutes, but when would this hill end? With the suitcase, I felt like a fool.

When it comes to a trip for a few days or many months, there are few things more taxing – the last nail of duty before the exciting hours – than deciding what to pack. For a weekend, it can be hard enough: what shirt will be missed, what shoes won’t be worn? But when it comes to extended travel across continents and seasons, it almost oversimplifies things to an uncomfortable degree. Instead of contemplating what will be needed, a pair of jeans, runners, a t-shirt and a coat will have to do until everything else can be found on the road.

Continue reading