An Ode to my MacPac…

As I was recently rooting around in my loft for something, I found my big macpac, and realised I’ve had it for 10 years this year. It’s the best rucksack I’ve ever bought, it has a lifetime guarantee, and it’s EXTREMELY well-made, so I thought it was worthy of a little shout-out.

I bought my matching big and little macpacs in 2007, before going to Nepal for a year.

My big macpac has gone with me to Nepal, India, Malaysia, Singapore, France, Liverpool, South Sudan, India again, Nepal again, Kashmir, Oxford, the USA, The Philippines, Thailand, Australia, Iraq, Jordan, Canada, USA again, Australia again, Senegal, Kenya, Iraq again, and Senegal again.

Other than an unfortunate incident once where my Big Mac got ripped in an airport and needed to be patched (I sent it off to macpac and they fixed it up and shipped it back to me), it has held up remarkably well! In Nepal I used to keep it empty under my bed, but padlocked as my passport was in there, and when I lost the key, I had to beg the locksmith to cut through the padlock carefully not to damage the zip!

It’s incredibly comfortable, exactly the right size, and I love that it unzips like a proper suitcase instead of rooting around in a normal rucksack. I also love that you can fold in and zip up the straps when checking it in at airports so they don’t get damaged en-route.

My little macpac has gone with me EVERYWHERE in the last 10 years. It’s literally my everyday bag, it carries my laptop into work everyday, it goes with me on mini-breaks and weekends, and in addition to all of the countries my big mac has been to it has ALSO been with me to Qatar, Madrid, Italy and Switzerland!

Obviously daily use for 10 years has left my little mac a bit grubby, but considering what it’s been through, it’s holding up INCREDIBLY well! It’s even still mostly waterproof, as I learned after a can of tonic water exploded inside it once in the Philippines…

This little bag goes with me pretty much everywhere, is still sturdy and comfy after 10 years, and it zips onto the front of Big Mac (although I hardly ever do that).

So, all in all, as a fairly frequent traveller, I give these bags 10 out of 10 and highly recommend them for your travelling adventures.


Looking back, and looking forward…

As many of you will know, I spent a year working in an orphanage in Nepal back in 2007-2008, as part of a volunteer exchange with ICYE-UK. For those of you that don’t know, have a look at my Nepal posts (of which there are MANY) for a flavour of my life in Nepal.

It was an incredible, and quite frankly life-defining experience for me, as it was the most rewarding thing I have ever done, and it changed my perspective on the world quite substantially. It was also what led me to re-define my life goals and change careers, so I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today if it hadn’t been for ICYE and Aishworya. It’s also where I got my Nepali name, and pseudonym, Maya.

I wanted to write a post about it for two reasons. Firstly, because I have just spent a bank holiday weekend at the ICYE-UK On-arrival camp, and secondly because the busy bees over at Aishworya have been doing some amazing work at improving the website and it looks amazing, and brought back a lot of memories. Continue reading

The full Nepali Experience

Friday 8th February 2008

Hey everyone,
My friend Penny came to visit me this week from Korea, and we had an absolutely brilliant time!
She stayed at the orphanage with us, and helped me cook in the mornings. We did loads of sightseeing, going all over the place and packing a lot into a few days. It was great as I had a chance to do all the things I’ve been meaning to, but hadn’t gotten around to yet.

We both bought new kurtas (traditional nepali/indian clothes – a tunic and trousers) and went with Priya to the three major temples of the city – Pashupati, Boudha and Soyambhu.
We went to visit Alan’s orphanage in Kocanna, and then walked to Bungamati – a beautiful 16th century Newari village. Continue reading