Go Bag for 40 Years by
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All my adult life I’ve traveled light, often amazing my male partners. “Is that all you’re taking?” they’d ask. I could have traveled even lighter, except that, being allergic to just about everything, I have to take any hypoallergenic cosmetic and personal care products I might need with me. Even hotel soaps and shampoos are too risky. Who wants to ruin a trip by getting hives and rashes?

The bag has been with me any time I leave the house over night ...

I must have been in my late 20s when, shopping with a travel-savvy woman friend, I bought the Baggallini bag pictured. It’s not huge (see the pen for scale) and fits in a carry-on that goes in the overhead bin of an airplane. For its size, it holds an incredible amount of stuff, gets amazingly heavy when full–and it’s always full. Although battered (the white residue is from an incident with zinc oxide sunblock), all its zippers work, and the inside compartments are undamaged. When the bag is opened, it expands vertically, dropping down from the outer handle, and a metal hanger comes out so that the entire thing hangs on a door hook. Extremely practical.

The bag has been with me any time I leave the house over night, from staying with my mom in Oakland for a single night, to a bus trip in Thailand, and on a 15-day cruise to Hawaii that turned into a 20-day misadventure, when it really proved its worth (see my story “COVID-19 and the Cursed Princess”). The bag had everything I needed for the extra five days before we could return home.

After the sunblock incident, I tried to replace the bag, but couldn’t find anything like it, from Baggallini or any other company. So, the bag will continue to go with me, like a trusted old friend, visually worse for the wear but containing all the essentials.

Profile photo of Marian Marian
I have recently retired from a marketing and technical writing and editing career and am thoroughly enjoying writing for myself and others.

Characterizations: funny, right on!, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Sounds perfect, Marian. I wish I could be a compact as you are. I always seem to take too much but your bag seems ideal. Too bad you can no longer replace it. A real gem.

  2. Khati Hendry says:

    I am in awe of your bag, and packing skills. I have shopped luggage for years, always seeking the perfect one that is compact, flexible, and capacious. Actually do have a small baggolini, which holds wonders, but mostly am an Eagle Creek fan, starting with a convertible backpack. But once wheels became the norm, that was irresistible.

  3. John Shutkin says:

    Sounds like a great bag, Marian, and a trusty travel companion through thick and thin (and long and short). Baggallini was a new name for me (not surprisingly), and I google and they are still in existence, but it sounds like, as you note, you could not find a similar replacement. I have often had the same experience and am convinced that there is a special circle in Hell for all those manufacturers who somehow know exactly what you want to replace and make sure they don’t sell them anymore.

    • Marian says:

      Right you are, John. Trying to replace things can be infuriating. For the women, it’s really hard when your favorite cosmetics and colors are discontinued. Also, I have that with specialty food products. Just when I find something I really like, it’s discontinued.

  4. Laurie Levy says:

    Sounds perfect to me, Marian. I like Baggallini purses and was thinking I should invest in one because I have too much stuff I drag with me everywhere.

  5. Brava Marian for traveling light, even with your necessities! I have a few Baggallini bags myself and love them.

    By chance did you bump into my friend Allen Rokach who was also on the Cursed Princess? Thankfully you both eventually came home to tell the tale!

    • Marian says:

      Don’t know your friend, Dana. Actually, we were on the cruise right before the one that got isolated with COVID. The creepiest part was spending most of my time on our cruise in the sick bay with Dick, and then, once we got home, a couple of weeks later having to look at that ship, marooned near the port of Oakland, from my mom’s apartment window.

  6. Wow – all’s well that ends well!

  7. Suzy says:

    Great story, Mare, and that looks like a well-used and well-loved bag. My mother was a big fan of Baggallini bags, but I never managed to find one that worked for me. How annoying that you can’t find a replacement for the one you love so much. As long as it doesn’t fall apart, you can just keep carrying that one.

  8. Great choice, Marian! It looks the part of an adventurer itself! I think many of us develop strong attachments to bags of all kinds, briefcases. I have an old Coach duffel bag that’s great for flights, an old Coach briefcase as part of my professor act that I’ve worn out, and a precious murse that I bought on the west end of Bleecker in one of those beatnik-run leather shops that have sadly become extinct.

    • Marian says:

      Yes, this Baggallini could tell better stories than I, Charles. I love the “murse” and was wondering what they were called. My other attachment is my writing portfolio case, packed full with a career’s worth of samples. It does look worse for the wear at this point.

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