How it all began

The friendship between Keren and I has only been a recent one. I initially stumbled upon Keren in October of 2014 when I was walking home from school. I found her abandoned on the side of the road as part of a hard rubbish pile. (In Melbourne, it’s quite common to leave old furniture and goods on the nature strip for other people to take and use.) Back then, my mind was busy stressing about the upcoming year 12 exams and I didn’t think much of her. She seemed big and worn out, but I dragged her home regardless as I thought she may come in handy some day.

Fast forward 5 months later to a Saturday afternoon in March 2015 where I’m sitting in the family car parked inside our garage. I’ve just come back from yet another unsuccessful shopping trip. I’m in a grumpy mood as I’ll be leaving on my gap year adventure in just over a month and I still haven’t found a pack to take abroad. (I’m a 162cm, petite girl with a smaller than average torso. Hardly any backpacks fit me, even the specially designed females ones.) When suddenly I spot Keren lying on top of the lawn mover. I think I have nothing to lose for trying her on, so I take her inside.

I initially start to adjust all of the straps to fit my abnormal torso length, but I quickly realise that the previous owner wasn’t that much taller than me. I load up the bag with dictionaries and basketballs to fill it up and I try it on for size. Surprisingly, it’s a perfect fit! While the bag does tower over my head, the harness hugs my body tightly but doesn’t dig into me. Who would’ve thought that the abandoned backpack I picked up the year before would solve all of my problems?

After my discovery, I start to inspect Keren more closely. She’s got 3 small padlocks that are clipped on which fortunately don’t block any zippers but do need to be cut off, slightly faded and stained canvas material on the outside of the pack and 14 tampons stashed in the top pocket (may come in handy in the future). On the side of the pack there are also the details from the previous owner: a Keren D. that lives in St Kilda VIC and a mobile phone number.

Excitedly, I give the number a call and Keren quickly picks up! She said she left the bag on the side of the road after she moved houses. She gave me permission to keep the bag and said that it was around 16 years old with no known problems. Unfortunately our conversation was a brief one as I could tell she was busy with her kids that were in the background.

I don’t know where this bag has been or what it has experienced in the past. I don’t know if it’s a quality one, if it can handle the elements or if it will last me the entirety of my trip. However I’ve named the bag after the pervious owner and I’m 128% up for the challenge of taking Keren abroad. I know it won’t all be smooth ride, but hopefully some quality things may come from it!

*** I’m sorry Keren for initially picking you up and then abandoning you in the corner of my garage. I promise that our relationship will be better from here on in!

– Nadia

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