These days you can explore virtually any place on Earth or under the oceans without getting up from your couch. Travel vlogs and blogs abound. Google Earth can zoom you to even the remotest locations for a 3D view, a street view, or a bird’s eye view. Very little is left for the imagination. Minimal risk and expense. Zero suffering.
Yet, as many who wander agree, virtual experiences pale against the thrill of live encounters in foreign contexts. To have your own adventure, to overcome the fear of the unknown, to live to tell the story – this is why we get up and go. For us, new friendships and firsthand knowledge far outweigh any awkward discomforts or hair-raising challenges. Adventure, fortune, chance, risk, and wonder - these words all share the same root. The same sense of momentum lurks in the word Advent as well. Advent on the Christian calendar celebrates the arrival of Christ.
An anonymous 16th-century Danish educator wrote, "Go, my sons. Burn your books. Get away to the mountains, the valleys, the shores of the seas, the deserts, and the deepest recesses of the earth. In this way and no other, will you find true knowledge of things and their properties."
When you do head out for the open road, you very well need to consider luggage to transport your essentials. (Evidently, the word originates from a Middle English word which meant to pull by the hair or ear!)
Long before suitcases on wheels enabled us to conveniently drag or pull our stuff around airports, carpet bags were the common carryalls of travelers. Does anyone remember Mary Poppins’ ever-present wondrous bag? “The carpet bag was invented as a type of inexpensive personal baggage, light enough for a passenger to carry, like a duffel bag, as opposed to a large rigid wooden or metal trunk, which required the assistance of porters.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpet_bag) Often these decorative bags were made from cut-off pieces of oriental rugs, and depending on the design, could also open flat and serve as a blanket.
After the Civil War, many opportunistic Northerners traveled to the South seeking private financial or political gain. People in the South feared exploitation and referred to them as carpetbaggers because they typically arrived with their belongings in carpetbags. Today the term stands for political candidates who seek elections where they have no local connections.
The exploitation of artisans in developing countries is still a matter of deep concern. This is why, as a registered fair trade company, Unique Batik is committed to operating in a manner that guarantees a sustained welcome on both sides. Our relationships with the artisans in Guatemala, Ghana, and Thailand have morphed into the dearest friendships over decades of trade.
The various travel bags we sell resemble the carpetbag tradition. Woven and embroidered cloth pieces are made into fashionable luggage, with styles and sizes for every kind of passenger.
Which bag do you grab when packing for a trip?
Our bag contest is on!
Of the four styles depicted below, do you have a go-to? Click on each picture to see the bags we offer in that style. Then, in the space for comments at the end of this blog, write the word sling, tote, backpack, or messenger.
On August 31, we'll draw three lucky responders, each of whom will win a bag in the style of their vote.