As a child I had a bright purple duffle bag stuffed with too many pairs of pants, shirts, underwear and other not-so-essential necessities to sling over my shoulder on the infrequent trips I made with my family. My hair and biceps, have always been my only big physical features, with my other largenesses kept hidden inside of me. No matter the size of my bag, I was always tough enough to carry on.
Photographed by J. Gatta
I purchased my first suitcase from a Ross store near my college apartment, wheeling the promise of travel across the street on at the cross walk like any good Californian would have done. Spring break in NYC was likely my first time to break this suitcase in, and the suitcase came to get much more use once modeling became part of my life during grad school. I had my suitcase on my first trip to Alabama when I worked with a photographer to create some of my first strong portfolio images. Later, I brought this suitcase as I was enthusiastically flown to Ohio and returned full of tears. Never quite the right size for carry-on but my perpetual travels were not foreseen when I had first made my purchase, all I had wanted was to upgrade to a bag with wheels, and this I had done.
Somehow a larger suitcase would accompany me on a trip to Israel, but there was no need for embarrassment or concern. Many of the other kids in their early 20s had packed far too much, never having left the States for a 10 day trip before then, and all had overprotective Jewish parents encouraging them to prepare for every kind of situation and rationalized that we would have a bus and some help to schlep our things between cities.
I backpacked around South America with my trusty red backpacker’s pack, and yet returned to the states with gifts for friends and family which overflowed into a side bag I had purchased. A couple of holiday gifts and trips to second-hand clothing stores resulted in me needing another suitcase to consolidate my excessive things. And now, this suitcase stays with me, pushed to the limits of the sturdy walls. Like my pet turtles who continually grew when I would replace their aquarium with a larger one to fit their increased size, my belongings seem to grow to fill the space I have for them.
My new thrift store belongings will be fun to shoot in and come my down time, having my camera, musical instrument, music and receipts will be rather handy but my strength and already fragile back will be put to test as I transport myself between lodgings, public transportation and cities this next month. “If you can’t carry it, you can’t bring it,” – I will uphold my philosophy but have to re-think how far I want to push myself.
Photographed by Grenville