“Do you know what the three most exciting sounds in the world are? Anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles.” ~George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life
We’re gearing up for another summer of travel. Literally. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I love planning for travel nearly as much as I love traveling itself. So, for the past few weeks, that’s what I’ve been doing. We’re taking a big trip with Steve’s family this summer. I was informed by my father-in-law that our bags for the main leg of the trip are not allowed to exceed 40 pounds each. Knowing that we will be abroad for 10 days with two boys who can’t keep one outfit clean all day, I began to panic about how we would get everything we need for air travel and boat cruising into a few, 40-pound bags that the four of us will be able to haul successfully through international airports. So, I used this restriction as an excuse to do what any normal woman would do when faced with this dilemma: I started shopping.
In 1997, hubby and I purchased two very large Samsonite travel suitcases to accommodate our plans to have no children and to travel instead. Four years after that purchase, we still had not traveled and we had one child. Since then, our luggage has always been a menagerie of hand-me-down, mismatched, awkward, and barely functioning individual pieces. When we’ve had money to spend, we just haven’t been interested in purchasing matching luggage sets for the travels we were not taking. In the past ten years, we’ve traveled with valises riddled with holes and afflicted by missing wheels and broken zippers. I vowed this time we would not be traveling like the Clampetts.
Our new luggage would have to be durable, lightweight, moderately priced, medium-sized, easily identifiable, and have wheels. I did some research and settled upon a bag I thought fit all my specifications. I ordered one, an Exo Hardside Spinner from eBags, so we could test it out at home before ordering three more. It arrived and was perfect. Big enough for multiple days of travel with lightweight clothing but small enough that the boys will be able to handle their own bags. We collectively decided to order the remaining bags, each deciding on our own color to eliminate future arguments.
When they arrived, I immediately unpacked them and felt confident about our purchase. How can you not feel good about a lifetime guarantee? At least I could be certain that I would no longer have to lean a bag against my leg at a check in counter because of a missing wheel. As the bags sat in our living room over the course of the next several days, however, I began to experience second thoughts. These bags are really bright and noticeable. There is nothing subtle about them. In fact, I’m fairly certain that we’ll be easy to spot…from outer space. Are these suitcases less tacky than our current hodgepodge of misfits?
Reflecting on it for a bit longer, though, I realized that I don’t care if they appear gauche to some. They fit our motley crew perfectly. They are related yet unique, fun but practical, spunky but not obnoxious. They’re also two colors shy of an LGBT flag, and we’re good with that association. They tell people we’re bold and ready for adventure. If people with pricey, matching luggage sets want to look down their noses at us for our silly bags, let them. We may not be full of decorum, but at least we’re interesting.