It may be difficult to describe what Saturday, January 7th was like. It was exhilarating. It was nerve-wracking. It was eye-opening.
It was the day our backpacks for long-term travel arrived.
Even though we’re about seven months away from leaving the country, we really wanted to have some time to get acquainted with our mobile home backpacks. We figured a trip or two with them and practice packing would help us process what we can afford to bring (space-wise) and what was too much. We were right: getting them early has already caused us to rethink our packing plan to be more efficient and light.
Before I tell you all the crazy emotions that went through our heads when we put on our backpacks, let me explain how we decided on them.
Why We Chose The Tortuga Outbreaker
There are a lot of great backpacks out there, but we were searching for something very specific. Here are some of the non-negotiables of our backpack search:
- Maximum Size For Carry-On Travel
- Strong Organizational Pockets And Dividers
- Laptop Sleeve Positioned Against Our Backs
- Adjustable Straps And Hip Belt
- Front-Loading Area (Most Backpacks Are Top-Loading)
- Stylish, But Discreet
As you can see, we had very high expectations for the backpack that would carry our belongings around the world. A few backpacks came close to matching our criteria, but only one hit the nail right on the head.
The Outbreaker is the 3rd generation backpack from Tortuga Backpacks. It was designed by fellow digital nomads and is a popular choice among long-term traveling professionals. At $250 a piece, we were hesitant to pull the trigger. That’s a lot of money on a backpack!
We researched for weeks, then a few more. We put on some packs in person, then did some more research. Eventually, we realized that the Tortuga Outbreaker is unrivaled when it comes to providing a mobile home for long-term travelers who bring their professional lives on the road with them.
The World Was Spinning
When we unboxed our Outbreaker backpacks and put them on for the first time, the reality of our plan become vivid, gut-wrenching, and exciting.
I explored the pockets. The back area unzips on three sides, enabling us to lay the backpack flat with the laptop facing up. This means we won’t have to take our laptops out at airport security checkpoints – we can just unzip the bag. The opposite side has several areas for other electronics or travel doodads.
The inner-most pocket opens on three sides to allow for side loading, just like a normal suitcase. It’s not a huge area, but it’s big enough for a week’s worth of clothes, toiletries, a jacket, and another travel doodad or two.
The front pocket folds down to reveal a few more spots for travel doodads, a notebook, pens, anything that needs some extra soft padding.
I loaded up a week’s worth of clothes, my laptop, charger, mouse, Kindle, toiletries, and a few other nick-nacks to see how it all fit. To my surprise, I had some extra room, but not a lot.
I lifted the 20lb pack and slipped into the straps. I took a look around the apartment. And then it hit me.
Everything (well, almost everything) I needed to live the nomad life was in my backpack. My furniture, coffee station, pots and pans, books, and plants were not. Looking around at my comforts and realizing we wouldn’t be taking them spent my mind reeling. It was strange to think there will be a period in our lives where we don’t sit on our furniture or read our physical books.
Even so, the nerve-wracking shock gave way to butterflies, and the butterflies gave way to thrill. We’re going to leave the country. We’re going to work and live abroad. We’re going to be remote working, backpacking nomads.
A couple hours later, Lauren experienced the same cycle as she packed her bag: excitement, realization, shaking, butterflies, thrill. Like clockwork.
The arrival of our backpacks marks an incredible milestone on our journey to our new lifestyle. Six months seems so far away, but we know it’s going to fly by as we keep working at our full-time jobs and trying to build up our own businesses.
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Stay classy, folks!