My Burton backpack is 15 years old this year and I felt I needed to say something about it, as much to celebrate some amazing stitching as to acknowledge an inanimate object as a memory machine. It would be quite easy to get nostalgic, a bag full of memories, that sort of thing, but I think this pack deserves better than that.
From memory, I became owner of said backpack in 1997 or thereabouts. I bought it from a store called Fat City, situated in a town called Hakuba, in a prefecture called Nagano, in a country called Japan. The store was owned by a Japanese lady who was colloquially known, by those who worked for her, as "The Chook." She also owned the restaurant I was hired to cook in, named Gravity Worx. Nagano was the stage for the 1998 Winter Olympics so as you can imagine we're talking ski country. The pack was a day pack, used for hiking, and its sole purpose, besides perhaps to carry food and water, was to bear a shovel that, in case of an avalanche, would be used to dig up anyone that had been buried. But you try not to think about it in that way. And I only ever carried a shovel a handful of times.
The pack then, naturally, became my day to day, spending a summer in Tokyo where I pretty much lost my mind, and then back to the ski fields for another season, before heading back to Australia once my working holiday visa expired. From there it goes something like this: Sydney, Melbourne, Byron Bay, over 6000 kilometres in Chile, London, Paris, Geneva, Madrid, Seville, Cadiz, Hong Kong, Manilla, Sabang Beach, Ho Chi Minh, Phan Thiet, Fiji, and now sitting faithfully by my side on the way to Singapore. Not to mention countless trips to and from work.
I was really unsure as to where I was trying to get to with this if anywhere at all. It's been in my head for a while, perhaps a premonition that something might be about to happen with good old Jake Burton's handiwork. Let's hope not. And I'm not going to put my pack out to pasture any time soon. Once, if, it ever falls apart so be it. And perhaps with it, those memories will be forever lost.