Confidently striding through a new city with all of my possessions. In the wrong direction!
If you are following my recent adventures as I have travelled from Helsinki through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania you will know that there has been one recurring theme.
I keep getting lost! This is quite unusual for me as I am normally very careful to be aware of my surroundings. Trying to find my hostel in Vilnius was another story. I got off the bus at the station with my full back pack and I confidently turned right and set off up the first proper hill that I had found in any of the Baltic countries.
And it was the wrong way. I readjusted my useless internal navigation system and got back on track. The sun was out, I was wearing my thickest hoodie and a coat and there were some very dodgy characters hanging around in the back streets. I was hot, tired and thirsty. But I was determined not to pay out for a cab because I knew that the hostel was close and it was a matter of pride that I should cope.
And as I tramped along the cobbles I was thanking my lucky stars for the day that I met Paul at Nomad Travel and he gave me my backpack, the Osprey Farpoint 55 (click here for more information)
The smaller size compared to my previous bag obviously meant that I was carrying less weight which was a big bonus but the bag is so well balanced it is a dream to walk with. I was fully laden wearing my iTravel shoulder bag containing my valuables slung across my body and the smaller, detachable daypack from Osprey on my front, but because of the ingenious clip system which attached it to the main pack, my arms and hands were free.
The strap system fitted my frame size and the weight was carried on my hips and it is a tiny detail but the whistle on my sternum strap and close to my mouth gave me a ridiculous feeling of safety when the beggars began eying me up in an unsavory way.
It takes a while to get used to a rucksack when you are on the road and living from hostel to hostel. You certainly don’t want to unpack every time but certain things need to be easily accessible or put away in the lockers. After a couple of weeks on the road I was finally comfortable with my packing system and I could quickly find most items – helped enormously by the huge zip which opens the bag like a suitcase.
My initial fears about the straining zips have (touch wood) proved unfounded and there has actually been a little bit of give in the fabric which has eased both the bag and my mind slightly. I have worked out how to clip the bags together (the little one on my front) when I am wearing them (that took a bit of practice but I got there) and when the two bags are strapped together I am practiced in accessing one or the other without separating them.
The iTravel shoulder bag is also a bit of genius kit. Out and about in cities it doesn’t attract the attention that a camera bag might but the clip system means that I feel very safe from pickpockets. It has internal pockets which can be adjusted so there is less scrabbling around looking for something and it is coping with my two netbooks that I am currently lugging around.
I eventually reached my hostel in an extremely confused state – not helped because the town square of Vilnius is anything but, and is an elongated triangle, but I was extremely proud of my achievement and for once, there was no need to swear and curse how much I hated my rucksack as I lowered it off my back. I LOVE it!