Origin of Backpackville (and the e-mails that follow)


I probably should have created a name for this essay that is more in line with the naming of the web site or the early days. But since I know what got me started writing this essay… I’m not sure what journey we’re really about to take… I don’t what neighborhoods I might visit… nodding toward nicknames such as The ‘ville works fine for now.

The reality is, the start of this particular essay does involve an e-mail.

The other day, I was clearing out my inbox… you know the drill: read this, put that aside, skip the one from mom until later, and the ever-annoying because you delete without even needing to open but it’s still a waste of time. On this particular day, I received an e-mail the likes of which is not frequent but definitely falls into a common occurrence for that latter category.

Can you possibly imagine the material I receive just because I use the word backpack in the title of my web site?

Seriously… let’s pause for a moment. If I said “backpack” to you, and you couldn’t visit even for a quick look, just consider what might be a part of the web site.

Many people—the long-time repeat visitors—know that the name for this web site was created from a swirling chaos of ideas. Two of the main contributors were:

The Mom Bag – It references whatever bag my mother was carrying when the family went on vacation. When any of the kids needed something, the usual direction provided: “Mom has it in her bag.” The bag served as a source of everything and anything, and for me developed into a catch-all of sorts.

My college backpack – Books for classes. Clothes for trips. Shopping… studying… visiting… whatever. It would not be a stretch to say I lived out of my backpack during college. And, in the years since, a backpack continues to be the preferred item of choice for me when it comes to carrying stuff around.

End result, short and sweet version, the In My Backpack web site has essentially been a place that holds my writing. A lot of my writing. Finished efforts and scraps of ideas. And, as time has moved along, that idea of a home for my writing has expanded. Books and essays and pictures and more. All sorts of projects running all over the place. If it’s something I’m working on, and it needs a place to reside on the internet, it has a place in Backpackville.

Ok… back to the e-mail.

The trick, of course, is that if you pull up your search engine of choice and look around for information about backpack, you are not going to find stories about mom bags and college classes. What you will find is backpacks. And most of the results will quite likely be backpacks for sale.

This of course means that I get e-mails about all of the backpacks I must be selling. And, would I consider this sender’s company to supply my needs for my consumers. (Which… of course… as you know, I won’t.)

I can still recall the first times I received such e-mails. I looked a few of them over in depth, and read most at least in part before deleting them. Eventually, I learned to recognize most of them without even needing to see more than two or three words from the subject line preview.

Let’s face it… we’re not exactly dealing with the most complex of deductions skills here. Anyone that has visited my web site for at least ten seconds understands I am not selling camping gear, hiking equipment, and filling assorted outdoor equipment needs. You won’t find pages of sleeping bags and sturdy shoes around the In My Backpack web site. In fact, if we can be literal about it, you won’t find any backpacks for sale.

(Forgive me on that backpacks for sale idea though. I’d love to sell a few books… and we do have a logo with a dog holding a backpack… so at least to some degree, figurative in nature as it may lean, there could be some sales to consider.)

The point is, you will not find backpacks for sale in any way that should get a wholesaler or product provider or salesperson of any type excited about approaching me for an order. Right?

Still, the e-mails arrive.

Those in the tech world would explain all sorts of possibilities to me. Spiders and crawlers and bots and such. The common element is simple: no people.

And when you get a non-person exploring a site that repeatedly uses the word backpack, well, we see where it’s going. One of two places:

1 – This person needs our inventory of backpacks to supply customers.

2 – This person needs access to the 24/7 opportunities afforded by Canadian pharmaceuticals. (This one is a different essay entirely, and included as a joke, but the information about it arrives more often than offers on backpack inventories.)

For me, the reality is neither. I mean, yes, of course I would love to find out there is a market for a line of backpacks with my logo on it (provided there is some money I could make in the process). That said, chances are good that when the In My Backpack product line begins we probably will test out a coffee mug or such first.

Until then, I get to wade through the offers being sent my way. And I get to wonder if any of them were in any way generated by a person that actually clicked the send button. Or, was the entire process generated by a program of some type?

For now, I have essays to write and books to finish and a schedule to sort out. No backpacks for sale around here. (Although, for the right price, I could hook you up with an autographed print of a really cute puppy.)


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com