Julia L F Goldstein

How Are You Changing the World?

What's in Your Backpack?

It’s Thursday morning and I’m on the bus heading to a business meeting. I’m making good on the promise I made to take public transit more frequently, something I best appreciate when I can avoid the hassle of traffic and parking near downtown Seattle. Also, I can’t write a blog post while driving.

My backpack is stuffed with everything I’ll need for a busy day traveling around Puget Sound by bus, ferry, and on foot:

  1. My laptop, which fits into a separate sleeve to keep it protected, along with a wireless mouse.
  2. My Kindle, which is handy for reading on the bus when I'm not writing to-do lists or blog posts.
  3. My phone, a Samsung Galaxy S6 that I insist on keeping until it no longer works even though this model was considered “old” a year ago. The backpack has a handy side pocket for the phone.
  4. Chargers for both the laptop and phone, in a separate pouch inside the main compartment.
  5. My wallet. Even though my phone has a silicone sleeve adhered to the back that holds a credit card, the wallet holds other important cards, including my transit pass.
  6. Three copies (one hardcover and two paperbacks) of Material Value, two of which I’ll end up selling at my 9 am meeting.
  7. My Square reader so that I can take credit card payments. I like to give my readers options for book formats and payment methods.
  8. Red raffle tickets printed on recycled paper, which I’ll be distributing at my evening workshop and book signing on Bainbridge Island to guests who sign up for my email list.
  9. A one-page email sign-up sheet with several names I collected at meetings yesterday. I’ll add those people to my spreadsheet today and they will get a welcome email from me this afternoon. There’s room on the page for more people to add their names this evening.
  10. A small box to use for collecting and drawing the tickets. This box has seen multiple reuses as a substitute for gift wrap. The decorative ribbons are coming unglued, but the box is still useful.
  11. A stainless-steel water bottle that will be one of the prizes in this evening’s drawing.
  12. My reusable plastic cup from Starbucks that serves multiple purposes: carrying the coffee I brewed at home and brought with me because I didn’t have time to drink it, refilling with water to keep hydrated, and acting as a prop for tonight’s presentation on reducing waste. I've blogged about a similar cup.
  13. A rain jacket just in case. Yesterday, I draped it over the cardboard box of books I was carrying to protect them from the light rain that fell as I walked from Capitol Hill to downtown Seattle to catch a bus.
  14. The notebook that I use as a daily journal for to-do lists, reminders, and other notes. It’s easy to pull out quickly when I want to jot something down and I believe that all writers should do some of their writing longhand rather than typing on a computer screen.
  15. Two pens slipped through the loops on one side of the main compartment.
  16. Small items in the top zippered pocket—my business cards, earbuds, and lip balm.

My backpack has attracted comments and I’m proud to share the story. It’s made by Thread, a company that supplies fabrics made from recycled plastic water bottles to many well-known clothing and footwear brands. The backpack, which the company launched on Kickstarter in 2018, features Thread’s fabrics. Although I’m not part of the target demographic (see my article on Medium), I’m happy to report that the smaller size both fits my five-foot-one frame and fits all the stuff I need for a day out and about.