Before Perú Bus Life


January 8, 2015

Cheryl Strayed has this moment in her book “Wild” right before her big adventure begins. She’s picked out this great backpack from REI, along with all of these highly recommended items to get her through her backpacking experience on the Pacific Crest Trail. She excited about all of her gear that the great staff at REI has helped her select for her trip and starts packing things into their designated compartments in her backpack (that she later names “Monster” for its epic size!)

She takes a step back and has that moment of self-assurance even against the huge journey that she knows awaits her ahead as she takes pleasure in her preparedness. Everything is set. Now all she has to do is put it on…

Until she realizes she can’t lift her pack. In fact, it won’t even budge an inch from its place because it is that heavy.


I feel like I want to go ahead and make up a new definition for the word “stray” right now, after Cheryl’s last name.

Stray/strayed: to plan for something and realize there’s no normal way to accomplish it but to do it anyway because… you’re awesome.

So, today as I was shopping for groceries, I knew that the method by which I would transport them home technically prevented me from buying too much. However, I needed what I needed, and darn it, I was going to make it work.

As my items passed along the conveyor at the check out line, I glanced in my cart at my pack feeling little assurance I’d be able to fit it all.

All of these groceries...

All of these groceries…

…have to fit in this backpack.

But it ended up working. I totally strayed that one!

Bear had used his REI pack last week to haul a load of groceries home. Sure, I’ve successfully shopped with a suitcase before, but with the random areas of ice and snow still stuck to the sidewalks and roads, I didn’t think a suitcase would be very ergonomic. I decided to take up his idea, and it’s rather brilliant. Aside from the fact that you look like a complete transient (which I basically enjoyed anyway), it’s a great way to carry a heavy load without the weight bearing down on your shoulders and back. The support and padding around the waist makes it oh-so-effortless.

But, as I went to swing my packed-pack around my shoulder, I couldn’t get it off the ground.

Oh, yeah.

We’re talking…

8 large grapefruits

5 apples

a bag of Meyer lemons

a bag of limes

a can of coconut cream

unsweetened almond milk

unsweetened coconut cream


brussel sprouts

green beans

heirloom carrots

…and I’m pretty sure there was more. It was a full pack.

I tried getting it on a couple of different ways until I remembered Cheryl in her hotel room that morning before she started her journey. She ended up lifting her pack by getting down on her knees, putting the straps around her shoulders and then leaning forward with all of her might until it lifted off the ground So! That’s what I did. I’m not sure that it required all of my might because it was only some groceries, but thanks for the tip Cheryl! It totally worked.

I wished many times while walking along the side of the road on the way home this afternoon that I wasn’t actually in my home time, but that instead I was in one of the random towns she stopped in to pick up supplies along the PCT.

Someday my adventurous spirit will be allowed to awaken. For now, this is as good as it gets. At least it’s something!

Putting on the backpack absolutely made me feel like heading over to the PCT! #cherylstrayed




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  • Reply Ginny fittanto January 9, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    this is so totally you …I give you a lot of credit for your “adventurous spirit”. I’m renting a car when I come visit ….lol

    • Reply sam January 9, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      Haha! At least you can say you tried it and it wasn’t pleasant for you (last time. )

  • Reply Whitney January 9, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    lol what a fun blog post :) you look so darn cute in that pack. You go Wonder Woman!

  • Reply sam January 10, 2015 at 7:58 am

    Thanks, Whitney. Ha.

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