Goodbye My Beloved Kathmandu Backpack

My pack of choice is the Kathmandu Interloper Backpack. I have carried this pack around the world for… well I am not exactly sure how long for – somewhere between 10 and 15 years by my estimation.

Kathmandu Backpack Nicaragua

Chilling with my pack in Mexico

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This pack has seen about about 30 countries. It has been through Asia, Latin America, The West Indies, USA, Europe and Australasia.

It was on my back full of my most treasured belongings when I left my family and friends in New Zealand and moved to Australia to find my fortune.

It was on my back when I blindly followed love to Europe and back again.

Kathmandu Interloper Backpack

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I rebelled against the suits when my Kathamandu pack accompanied me on many corporate work trips to the USA and Spain.

It was the only pack among the wheeled suitcases on reward trips to Mexico, Puerto Rico, St Kitts and Maui.

It was a portable couch & coffee table when playing chess in an Venezuelan bus stop, surrounded by curious locals.

It has travelled on yachts in the Caribbean, cruise ships around The Galapagos Islands, and down the Murray River, it has travelled on trains, camper vans, on my lap on chicken buses, the back of trucks and on rickety tuk tuks over cobble stone paths. It has been carried to lost cities in the jungle and to snowy mountain villages.
.Kathmandu Backpack Travel

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It came home with me to New Zealand and to Ireland to meet my new husbands family for the first time.

And on April 1st, 2012 my pack, my Johnny and I began the trip of a lifetime, 3 years, 2 months and 24 days of travel through 24 countries filming stories of the most wonderful, inspiring people we could imagine.

Kathmandu Backpack at Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia

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Now, today, until this day, it has housed everything I own.

My Kathmandu pack is one of five travel bags that have become our snails shell, our mobile home, the things we always receive with delight when they come through the black ribbony, rubber curtain onto the airport carousel.

Kathmandu Interloper Backpack Travel Friend

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After over a decade of use the back panel that zips over the straps is gone, so I tie them together before loading up at check out counters, some of the plastic lining rubs off and leaves little black specks that I shake off my clothes, and the waist band has been pulled so often the Velcro pops off a little – but that is it!

The bag is as useful and strong as the day it was bought.

Kathmandu Backpack Back of a Ute

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It has outlasted the 3 generations of locks I bought for the zips. It has outlasted the New Zealand flag that I sewed onto the front to make it easily recognisable. It has outlasted a dozen smaller backpacks and day bags that have been part of my travel luggage and it outlasted John’s pack by a well travelled mile.

But I have moved on.

Today I leave it behind in Malaysia where I found a wheeled backpack for $30. For $30 I am not expecting much. It is an interim measure until I find the perfect wheeled backpack.

I am excited to have some wheels! But I can’t help but feel like I am leaving an old friend behind. A friend that has been there through some of the most poignant and important parts of my life. I know it is nuts to feel connected to a backpack, but I do! And only as I write this post do I realise why.

If you have any tips for a good wheeled backpack please share! It’s time to help me choose my next travel friend 🙂

Post By Serena Star Leonard

Serena Star-Leonard is a business coach, writer and blogger travelling around the world for 5 years and counting. As well as capturing stories of inspiring people who are making a difference to their communities, her passion is to help people find a way to do the things they love for a living.

Website: → How to Retire in 12 Months

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  • Panda

    Wow what a sad, exciting story. If only that back pack could talk, he/she would have a few stories to tell. I feel like he/she should be rewarded with a name so I officially call your backpack Kalash. Sacred pot in Nepali.

  • Europe Diaries

    Whoa..whole lot of emotions connected with that bagpack!Must be difficult to part with it! Unfortunately, I don’t have any reccomendations for a new one..will look out for your posts though:)

    • Thanks! Because the last one was so important I am really going to do my research before I choose the next one! Thinking maybe Osprey or maybe back to Kathmandu!

  • So sad. It reminds me why I don’t want to sell my car, even though it is nearly 20 years old and has done 200,000km. Life just doesn’t feel the same when you lose a treasured possession that has a place in your heart.

    • Yes i get so attached to things, especially when I only own about 50 things! But of course we move on, I am hoping for amazing things from my next bag!

  • Gman

    for me, reliability and ruggability go hand and hand for deuter,
    had my work horse of a backpack for pushing a decade, had it along with me all over the world,
    i’ve loaded it up for much more than i should have but it always came back jeering me with a “bring it”
    cant say i have ever elevated myself to the finer side of life with a wheeled backpack,
    nothing a bit of fishing wire as thread and some tlc cant fix in my opinion
    ha ha ha
    looking forward to seeing your new fandangled bag in vietnam..

    • Haha yeah I have overloaded my pack on many occasions! My “inbetweener” is OK so far, I just hope the zips hold out… for $30 I am not expecting much!!

  • Donna

    I am going through the same feelings at the moment Serena, as I scale down with my belongings that have been a part of my life for what seems like forever, as I am moving my home. But I realise that I need to detach myself from material objects…this is my lesson 🙂 Kathmandu are the brand that I recommend too 🙂

    • Kathmandu rock eh! Yes less is more! Even though everything I own fits into one pack, I am still always giving my stuff away – this is from an ex hoarder!

  • That is great value from the Kathmandu Backpack to last through all of that. Let’s hope your next one can last as well through your next 10 years of adventures 🙂

    • I know! The next pack is chosen thanks to the people at Kathmandu! A hybrid trolley backpack – I can’t wait to check it out. I will review it for sure 🙂

  • this is so beautifully written – i almost cried! well done with this post. but i have to say that it is a monster of a backpack. if you do a camino you will try to go as small as possible. i know your needs presently are different – hence the wheels – but i also understand keenly how close you can get to your “little house” on your back. a lovely hymn to your old mate.

    • Yeah it is huge, I am jealous of all the small packed people we see around, but the reality of living on the road vs simply travelling, means for us a lot more stuff – like the fact that I literally carry 5 kilos of rocks (semi precious beads) haha that always bites at the checkout counter!!

  • Sandy Shakes

    I can totally empathise with you. I remember finally having to say goodbye to mine. It’s like breaking up with your favourite boyfriend… The stuff you go through together. Ugh, and the memories! Sooo many years! I feel your pain. Good luck with finding your next life companion (in the bag department that is!) 😉

    • Haha your favourite boyfriend! How many did you have?! 😉 Yeah it was a shame that I had to leave in in Malaysia because I wouldn’t have minded keeping it at home for special occasions!!

  • Joanne Dillon (JD)

    I felt so sad for your left behind backpack. I’m terrible at parting with possessions. I have a new Kathmandu wheeled backpack for my upcoming trip. It’s orange and already partly packed with 12 weeks to go 🙂

    • Yes I have a new Kathmandhu wheeled trolly pack now too! Very exciting! I LOVE it! Good luck on your travels!

  • john

    Does anyone have a contact i can use to exchange my US dollars for bolivares?