Sisterhood of the Traveling Bag: Tamara

After oo-ing and awe-ing over this bag for weeks, we knew it was no ordinary purse. And in a stroke of inspiration, we found its purpose (rather, its purse-pose): to accompany us in our daily lives. It's a hand-stitched, black and tan leather bag, with a simple design and easy complements any outfit, day or night, and is hearty enough to go just about anywhere. For this year, we are passing it around through the Ruby crew, and documenting what adventures ensue. It is our version of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. So, without further adieu, we bring you The Sisterhood of the Traveling Bag:

Here’s the truth about me and the traveling bag: if I hadn’t had a trip to go on, I would have planned one, just so I could carry the bag. I loved it that much. My love affair with hand bags is well documented among my friends and family, and when I saw the traveling bag for the first time I knew that at some point I had to have it on my shoulder. When Stephanie contacted me about hosting the bag during my trip to Scotland, I completely flipped out. I couldn’t say yes fast enough. My story with the bag includes lots of walking, lots of cold weather, lots of laughing, a few tears, and kind of a sad ending. Here it is….

My name is Tamara Wickstrom and I’m friends with Stephanie from Ruby Rose. I’m a legal assistant in San Luis Obispo, and also have a small photography business. My daughter, Olivia, is a student at Portland State University located in Portland, Oregon, and this year she is studying abroad at St. Andrews University located in St. Andrews, Scotland. When you tell people you have a child studying abroad the first question asked is: “When are you going to go over and visit?” For me the answer was: “This Christmas.”

I left for Scotland on December 17th. I had a crazy travel day that involved three airplanes, one train, and a bus, and when I finally arrived at Olivia’s little dorm room, my luggage (in which the bag was packed) was still with the second airplane. Not to worry though, it arrived the next day, and we started our adventure!

I spent four days in St. Andrews. The bag, Olivia, and I visited the cathedral ruins, went to quaint little tea shops, hiked around the perimeter of the town, walked along the beach (where Chariots of Fire was filmed!), and walked part of the Old Course at St. Andrews, one of the oldest golf course in the world.

While in St. Andrews we also took a day trip to Edinburgh and visited Edinburgh Castle.

On day five of the trip we took the train north to Inverness, a city located in the Scottish Highlands. We were excited for this part of the trip, as it was the farthest north either of us had ever traveled. Inverness, located on the River Ness, was amazingly beautiful. Being so far north meant short days and long shadows even at noon-time!

We spent Christmas Day in Inverness. We hung out in our cozy apartment, listening to the cathedral bells sounding in celebration of the day. We went on a stunning walk along the canal. We participated in a friend’s abandoned art project, and abandoned her art at the cathedral.

After six days, it was time for us to leave. Olivia needed to get back to St. Andrews, and it was time for me to go home. We took the train back to Edinburgh, and had a teary goodbye as Olivia left for St. Andrews and I headed to a hotel for the night, before flying back to the states in next morning.

And, this is where the story gets sad. I didn’t do anything different. I packed the bag to go home, just like I packed it to go to Scotland. All my clothes and toiletries, a few extra things I had bought in Scotland, my boots, my little blue ray stereo, my camera charger…and the bag. I checked it in just like I did before. I even watched it be placed on the conveyor belt and take the ride back behind the wall to the airplane…and that’s the last time I saw it.

As I write this we’re at day 21 of my luggage missing. In airline lingo this means it’s officially lost, which in turn means the traveling bag is officially lost. The bag had a good ride while it was here. It got to go to some awesome places including Vegas, Mexico, Southern CA, plays, movies, junk trips, concerts, and be a part of some big once-in-a-lifetime moments like dropping your child off at college. Wherever it is, I hope it still gets to hang from a shoulder and go on adventures. This might be the end of its Ruby Rose Chapter, but not the end of its story.