It surprised me just how perfectly my homemade chairpack slotted into an Exodus Travels kit bag. With a few clothes and emergency waterproofs tucked round the sides it managed to survive the journey to India, without so much as a screw coming loose. Amazing really as it was constructed in quite a rush by me and the lovely Dave from work (well mainly Dave) in the bike shed on our lunchbreaks.
It all seems a bit ridiculous now when I think about it this simply; here I was, heading off on a trip I’d organised myself with people I’d never met before. I then presented them with a backpack I’d made out of an old chair. It can’t have filled them with a huge amount of confidence, and looking back now I’m surprised none of them ran a mile at the sight of it.
As we entered Sikkim and the day of our trekking departure was drawing nearer, my confidence in the chairpack started to dwindle, and I began to feel embarrassed every time I looked at it. It had seemed like such a good idea in London. Maybe I should have taken it for at least one test run before I left. I felt uneasy having to explain it to everyone and I just wanted to hide in a hole whenever I caught a glimpse of it. Was it ridiculous, or was it genius? I’m still not sure.
To combat this shyness I’d developed around my chairpack, I decided that the best thing to do would be to show it immediately to anyone as they walked into the room, so that I could explain myself before they started wondering and making up their own minds. “I made it myself” I shouted at Jangu our trip leader as she sat on the bed, struggling to get the ropes over my shoulders and spinning round to give her a full 360 view of the thing. “I’m pretty pleased with the way it’s gone” I told Manayla the chef, “I’m definitely sure it will hold, I think I’ll be fine, don’t you? It’s made out of an old chair. All I need now is a basket to go in it! I made it myself!”
Once the insecure verbal diarrhoea had passed each time, most people agreed that yes it was a nifty piece of handy-work and it did look sturdy, but the inevitable question always came - “You’re going to walk ALL the way? With that? With a chair on your back???”