2017 was a year of change for my family. Both of my children graduated high school in May, and one week later we moved to Texas before our kids went off to college at the end of the summer! As my wife and I settled into becoming empty-nesters, we decided this was the perfect time to reduce our footprint and try to simplify our lifestyle.
As a part of this exercise, we found a few items that were central to our decision making process. First, we wanted to be within a 10-15 drive to my wife’s job. And second, our new home should be within walking distance to the grocery store.
We were able to achieve both goals by relocating to a much more densely populated city or neighborhood than where we came from. Instead of the suburban sprawl that we had owned, and loved, for so many years, we opted for a townhome or condo that was smaller than our previous home, but very close to so many dining, shopping and entertainment options.
But in the excitement of picking a new home, and new city, I needed to also consider how I was going to drop my frequent car rides to the grocery and how I planned on actually getting my groceries home! No way I was the first one to come across this life change, I needed to find a new urban grocery backpack!
Heck, I don’t know if that is really a thing, an urban grocery backpack, but that is exactly how I use it. I ordered the Rambler from Mission Workshop, a west coast artisan lifestyle and cycling bag company that I found online, and couldn’t be happier with it! I believe it might be geared more towards travel and commuting, but it fits the bill for my habitual grocery store runs that occur just about every other day.
As you can see from the picture above, I was able to fit a large glass jug of local brewed kombucha (pretty hippy dippy, right?), spices, rice, guacamole, fruit, veggies and meat all into my one backpack, which left me hands free on my walk home!
Part of my excitement of moving to a dense urban environment was the proximity of both my wife’s job and the grocery store! Being responsible for both the grocery shopping and the cooking for the family has made me pretty attentive to the location of the closest groceries, where I end up on a pretty regular basis.
As recommended by Mr. Money Mustache and other observers of useless spending and wasteful habits, my wife and I chose a new home that would allow at least one of us to virtually drop our driving habit, and instead get back and forth from almost all errands on foot. We are now under one mile to several different shopping destinations, very walkable.
Which is why I purchased my new grocery backpack, and why I wasn’t too worried about it’s relatively steep price. With my added steps, exercise and loss of driving miles, I am certain that my Rambler has already paid me back!
In fact, instead of being worried about not being able to carry enough groceries, which seems to be the first question to pop out of most people’s mouth when discussing this subject, I have found that I have yet to buy more than I can stuff inside. Indeed, it is almost a challenge, how much should I push it each trip, while still buying responsibly?
A watermelon? Yep. A glass jug of fermented tea? Yep, right there in the picture. 12-pack? Ok, that one was pushing it a bit, but I did it! An eight pound pork roast for a weekend pulled pork dinner? More than once.
And I feel great each time I get home, a real sense of accomplishment. Not only have I checked one errand off the list by visiting my local grocery store, but I exercised a bit more than your average Joe simply by walking both ways. And then throw in the added weight of the groceries, and it’s almost like a short trip to the gym. Plus, that’s one car off the road, fewer miles of pollution and green house gases, I’m doing my part to save the planet, and keeping my automotive related bills at a minimum!
Did I mention that I no longer worry about keeping my recycled shopping bags in my car at all times? Not an issue anymore with my urban grocery backpack!
This backpack has become such a win, that I am now looking for other areas in my life to replicate this experience. Any ideas on how I can improve myself, while at the same time reducing some of my own worst habits? All win-win suggestions are welcomed!