Rumble: My Life in Four Bags#8: The Jacket...

Pfft.. it seems there is an endless list of small stuff I always take with me, whenever I travel. But hold on. We're almost there. This one is an important one though.. Indispensable.

Part#8: The jacket… ahhh.. the jacket!
This is my trusted companion. My safari jacket. It is a custom made model with our organisation’s logo on the front and the back. It has 13 pockets.
Most of my valuables are in it. Money (protected in an air sickness bag from, lemme see, Virgin Express, so it can not get wet). Plane tickets, business cards, my Palm Pilot, passports, ID card, yellow fever vaccination card, an envelope with pass photos, sunglasses, peppermints, a lighter and cigarettes, the keys to the mini padlocks on my luggage, access badges, pens, a small notebook, a set of earplugs and a little cord to fix my glasses around my neck.

That is all still pretty normal stuff. But then we have the weird stuff: a whistle on a cord. Not only to be used to annoy traffic cops when drunk (see
this story), but also an excellent tool in case you get into trouble anywhere. And a small mini flash Maglite. Always handy when the power is cut in your guesthouse. Plus a small piece of rope. Dunno why. Had it in there for years. Mats used it for a while when we went sailing when he forgot the safety cord for his glasses (again ;-) )

Yep, when traveling, I wear the safari jacket ALL the time. And I have such a hard time separating from it. Once I had a jacket that got repaired so many times, stitched up to the max, cleaned until the linen almost became transparent with small holes from battery acid, and stains from engine oil -or was it that mean ketchup they used to serve in Macedonia?-. It almost became a rag, that jacket. And as such, it became an icon. Guys in the office used to make fun of it, but I kept it until I found a suitable replacement. It is not easy to find a jacket with 13 pockets, you know...

When I finally found one, I dumped the old jacket. My guys secretly retrieved it from my waste basket, framed it, and hung it on the wall in the office… (see the picture on the right. If you look well, you can see all the stitches too!).

I guess that jacket went through more countries in three years than any normal person would do in three life times.. And somewhere, it does deserve a spot on the wall. It stood as a symbol for our life as an aid worker. Worn to the bone. Stitched up and repaired to keep going. A soul stained with memories. A huge memory stick filled with stories. Funny and sad ones. A companion on my Road to the Horizon..

(with thanks to Anisa and Bill for the picture!)


Anonymous,  05 June, 2007 19:31  

Where can one acquire such a jacket?

Peter Casier 06 June, 2007 07:53  

Let me see if they are for sale for the public. I will reply by posting another comment on this post..


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