For such a small team, we go through a lot of coffee at TRAK HQ. Every drop counts, and we’re frequently going to the market to stock up on the good stuff. We endanger the meaning of things when we take them for granted and begin to understand them only as a commodity for our consumption, and it was this realization that transformed a holiday gift we received which, on the surface, could be seen as an innocuous gesture into an analogy for intentionality and reciprocity.
Backpack real estate comes at a premium when you’re looking to cover upwards of 32,000km. You’re probably carefully weighing your gear (down to the gram!) and remaining cognizant of what you’re picking up along the way, with most souvenirs coming home in the form of photographs and memories. This is the everyday life for the women behind the Her Odyssey project – a gutsy mission to walk from the southern continental terminus of South America to the shores of the Arctic Ocean.
So, when an ambiguous package was sitting on my desk one morning, I hadn’t thought much of it at first; “probably just promotional items being sent by some company” went through my mind. I sliced open the box and, to my surprise, it wasn’t some random product, but coffee and a hand-written postcard. I couldn’t help examining my prize first; “Bajareque coffee…Honey processed…Roasted and offered to the people of Panama City?! It clicked immediately in my head that this little bag of local coffee had travelled over 7,600 km to reach me and, upon reading her postcard, that Bethany (AKA Fidgit) must have carried it from Panama City, brought it with her as she flew home to the US, and then got it boxed and sent to TRAK HQ.
This little package got the TRAK team thinking about the power of unboxing something; you’re pulling away the shroud that obscures a story, an adventure. It won’t be long now before the ladies at Her Odyssey are having their own unboxing experience, with TRAK 2.0s emerging from the box instead of coffee.
The Her Odyssey crew begin the sea-kayak leg of their journey in February. Stay tuned to the TRAK Blog and Her Odyssey channels for exciting content as they make progress up the diverse coast line of Central America in their TRAK 2.0s.