I'm looking through the 17,000 photos on my camera roll and I feel I've lived a dozen lifetimes. There's college me, with friends jammed into an old Volvo, there's boyfriend me with the girl I later married, there's the young Dad with a baby sleeping on his chest, etc. At the moment, I'm writing from a hotel room where we've driven to drop our daughter for her junior year of college. It's a journey, an adventure, and nowhere is it more evident than on my camera roll. 

And along the way, there's the stuff we need.

Time after time, we pack the same suitcases, drive the same car, and put that beloved sweatshirt back in the drawer for next time. How we get places and what we choose to bring along is often as important as being there. Would you go camping without bringing bug spray? Or head off to Europe without your voltage adaptors? Not likely. For us, going anywhere means packing our patch bag. 

Car snacks, dog food and games

In the scramble to get everyone organized, including the dog, we always end up with more bags than I expected. Everyone's got their favorite, but the family bag is this reliable, sturdy tote from ShoreBags that we pack with car snacks, dog food, and games. There's something about having all those inside pockets that's comforting-- they hold extra chargers, poop bags and maybe a corkscrew for some wine at the hotel. Super convenient and just the right size to squeeze into the fully-packed back of the car. Plus this bag has been around the block and still looks new. Heavyweight canvas keeps it crisp and able to stand up to any job.

Where have you been?

Family tradition dictates that we buy a patch from everywhere we visit and sew it onto this bag. This photo was taken a while back, and now, both side are full and we're working on the bottom. Well, it's not surprising: our kids are older now and we've spent years going on family vacations. Minnesota, Nashville, Kennedy Space Center, etc. Part of the joy of packing this bag is the same thing I experience scrolling through my camera roll-- remembering all those trips and the hours together they represent. 

 Don't worry, time to start another tradition

Luckily, even though this bag's space is almost full, there will be other bags for us and maybe it's time for a new beginning. Trips in the future will be for the two of us, not the four of us. We're on the verge of being empty-nesters and our future destinations are more likely to involve vineyards or Tuscan restaurants than theme parks and aquariums. Still, no matter where we go, this bag of adventure will go with us, reminding us of all those hours together and the joy of living a dozen lifetimes. 

Why not start a tradition of your own?

Leave a comment