One of the biggest benchmarks on my list these past 8 months has been to find a backpack. This whole idea of putting the entire contents of my life in a single bag seemed really daunting. Where would I even begin? What size would I get? Where would I buy it and most importantly what color?!?
Why not begin in the Emerald City….Seattle! I had a business trip scheduled there and figured I could get some good insight as Seattle is basically the great outdoor capital of America. So I made my way to the famous REI store and was completely overwhelmed by what I saw. It was backpack heaven! There were fat ones and skinny ones, mini ones and gigantic ones, light ones and heavy ones, ones that collapsed and others that expanded. Even ones made specifically for women. Talk about choices!
I sought out the most rugged looking guy I could find hoping to get the best possible advice. I explained what I planned on using it for and he showed me a few options. Man oh man were they tiny! I mean, my skincare products alone would take up at least a third of the bag. I explained my story again hoping that he was mistaken and he explained that I ONLY needed a 65L bag and even that, he thought, was too big but he was trying to work with me. After the initial size shock I started trying on a few different styles but wasn’t impressed with the color selection. I know, I know it’s all about comfort but for Mandi Macino it still has to look good! So I walked away and took all the info with me and decided to have a look in NYC.
I was skeptical to look in New York because this city is known for the worst customer service in my book, I rarely have good retail experiences. I went to Eastern Mountain Sports in Soho and boy was I mistaken. The guys were super knowledgeable and I spent 3 hours there one Sunday afternoon asking question after question, trying on backpack after backpack. The employees were also super good-looking…..bonus points! Alas, I had finally found one but of course I didn’t like the color- I’m just not a sea-blue kind of gal. So after a few chuckles on their part, they ordered me one that looked green in a picture but was labeled “wheat”. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best that it would be to my liking. Well it came in and I’m obsessed!. This is my trusty bag that will see me through countless flights, a myriad of hostels and 9 countries! I feel like Dora the Explorer!
Now for the hard part making it all fit. I decided to do a trial run this past weekend and by the grace of god I was able to zip it! Granted it’s busting at the seams so I definitely need to cut back a bit but I can handle that. As you can see in the lower right hand corner all my skincare products are included. Priorities!