What to Do When You’ve Got Baggage

You might not be able to get rid of it — but it doesn’t have to be so heavy

Ria Tagulinao
3 min readJul 13, 2022


Photo by Riku Lu on Unsplash

When you’re a fun-sized girl who’s about to go on your first solo trip abroad where it will be springtime — the most capricious of all the seasons — and would very much still like to look fashionable while traveling (not to mention that, being born and raised in a tropical country, you have no idea how to dress for the season), packing a suitcase that your petite self can haul around can be… quite the challenge.

(Then you get there and realize that traveling solo meant 90% of your photos were going to be selfies. So much for your #OOTD)

Eventually, I settled on what I considered a medium-sized wheeled luggage (my German friend pointed out that, by European standards, this was actually a small bag) and a medium-sized backpack. My luggage was almost maxed out. My backpack — not so much.

Not bad, I thought. I can handle this across Europe.

The first stop of my two-week trip was Amsterdam. I bought a few trinkets from a street market and a personalized Heineken beer bottle (this was filled with actual beer) from the Heineken Experience. I knew I could still fit this stuff in my backpack, and I did!

But then came my last day, and I ended up buying four boxes of Stroopwafels because I realized I had to let my friends and family back home taste this stuff. Did I mention this was just my first stop?

I hurriedly packed those hexagonal boxes of syrup-filled waffles in my backpack, along with the boxed souvenir bottle and my valuables. Then I stood up, wore my bag, and felt the load increase considerably.

Still, I insisted, not bad. I can carry this.

In transit to my next city, I pushed around my rolling luggage, my backpack strapped behind me. I was walking around, trying to admire the novelty of where I was but unable to fully do so. I felt my hunched back. The straps digging into my shoulders. The way I walked in a slower, more strenuous way.

It wasn’t long before I finally acknowledged the weight of it. It hit me that keeping up with this might be more deleterious than I could feel or tell. That I was letting myself take…



Ria Tagulinao

Fun-sized Filipina Writer | To stay up-to-date with my work, here's my Sunday newsletter: http://riatagulinao.substack.com