Zola’s Backpack Monsters

I was lucky enough to spend six months travelling around the world with my good friend Richard from September 2000 – February 2001.

Here’s the state of my daypack when I reached Pokhara, Nepal in February 2001 at the end of 5 days on the Annapurna trail. (We did the wussiest possible circuit, but oh, the views!) As you can see, Pikachu and Ickis are watching my back.

The daily essentials.
The daily essentials.

The ever-useful scarf was permanently loaned to me by my old friend Steve, so it was a piece of comfort and reminder of home for when I was feeling anxious or a bit weird.

I picked up various other comforting totems and guardians, including a yellow New York taxi keyring that always went in my luggage to make sure it got to where it was supposed to go. (Eighteen flights and my bag always turned up, so it did a good job!)

I got this little Zapatista from Uxmal in Mexico, who also hung out on my daypack. I was ignorant of the political implications, although the seller did explain a bit. I liked the handmade doll, a little rough around the edges, but crafted. I thought it would do a good job of protecting me. These days it just screams “terrorist”, although the doll comes from an entirely different context.

I also bought a plaster dancing skeleton from New Orleans, who dangled from my daypack, but did not do so well with the rigours of international travel.

I picked up monsters and handmade things as I went,  and it was all part of the long and winding road that led me to amigurumi.

– Zola

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