It starts many years ago with the carry-on bag Air France gives you when you fly with them. A lovely mini-suitcase that folds in on itself for storage. You love that bag and mourn the day you finally have to throw the worn and ragged little bag out.
You move on to other suitcases and other tote bags. None seem quite satisfactory. The straps dig into your shoulder, the luggage is large and cumbersome and too damn heavy to cart through airports.
You are delighted to find a bag with wheels, but dismayed to discover that those four little circle things on the bottom don’t do the job. As you dash through the airport in Mexico City the case falls to one side or the other. You are forced to pick it up and make your way through the crowds repeating endlessly, “Con permiso.”
In Costa Rica, you fall in love with leather duffle bags and buy a set. They are beautiful, but so impractical. Empty, they are heavy. Full they are heavier, and lugging them from the airport to the train to the metro to your hotel in Paris is a true test of your endurance. But they make it all the way from Paris to Africa and back to Canada where they are stored in your basement for many years until you finally give them a loving caress and donate them to charity.
Meanwhile you’ve adopted the one bag approach to travel—a small carry-on—which has its pros and cons. Big pro—you are through customs, and home in bed while the other passengers are waiting at the luggage carousel. Big con—there is no room for your lovely souvenirs so you have to tote a couple of plastic bags that always manage to develop a tear or two.
Your spouse buys you a big bag that could hold the kitchen sink, but it has so many pockets that you can never remember where you put things. And of course no wheels, so that’s a bust.
New airline regulations alter your travel style. You are forced to check bags with the liquids like your shampoo and conditioner. You find a good bag with wheels that does the job, but still need a carry-on. Luckily the local luggage shop has a wheeled case that will suit. It has a zippered pouch just the right size for your laptop. Cords, e-readers, prescription glasses, and toothbrush fit inside along with a few other essentials. And it’s not too big or too heavy to heft easily into the luggage bin above your seat.
You’d still like to find (or perhaps design) the perfect bag. What would it have that others don’t? An additional outside pouch for your passport and wallet? A unique retro look? A wad of money stashed in the lining?