We interviewed Jody at The Keller, a cosy coktail bar in Edinburgh City Centre. Jody uses one of our Assynt 17 backpacks.
Tell us about yourself. Where do you live, and what you do?
I've been living in Scotland now for 12 years. I'm from Surrey originally. I met my wife some 12 years ago and we moved to Scotland, then I started working in bars in Edinburgh, and that really started my career working in the drinks industry for the last 10 years. I've got a son, he's two years old, got my little dog, Pablo, who's just an incredible little dog, (my son's incredible too). *laughs*
I've been married to my wife for six years now. We live just outside Edinburgh in a town called Bathgate, in the central belt of Scotland. A good place to be. I just love being in Scotland and the little life that we have.
What are you passionate about and what keeps you motivated?
My family is very important to me. I'm passionate about my work, but I'm passionate about having a job that facilitates me spending time with my son. I'm not working all hours of the day and that's allowed me to go on trips with my wife and family. I appreciate work has to feed into facilitating all of these things, but work-life balance is hugely important for me.
Me and my wife love to travel, we've got a two-year-old and we don't want that to hinder us. A lot of people stop going on adventurous holidays when they have children, but it's important for us to live life and enjoy the world.
What do you love most about getting outside of the city in Scotland?
When I first moved to Scotland, I'd only visited once. I'd had one weekend visit, and then I moved in with my then-girlfriend. It was a bit of a punt. "Let's see what happens, maybe it'll kind of work out for six months" sort of thing. 12 years later we're married and we've got a kid. So I'm still on the fence! *laughs*
In Edinburgh you've got Arthur's Seat, all these other amazing walks, and you're only an hour from the Highlands. I was just amazed by the access to all these hills, Munros, and the scenery that you can enjoy in Scotland.
You don't have to be four hours away up some ridiculously obscure and isolated hill. I love the accessibility of these amazing, beautiful spots that are so close to such an incredible city. It's amazing what is on your doorstep. I'm from Surrey where it's quite leafy and very green, but it's just not Scotland.
How did you first find out about Trakke and how did your first bag enter your life?
My first experience with Trakke was when I worked with a whisky company called Jura. We did a collaboration with Trakke where we released wash bags and these lovely big backpacks that were all co-branded. I managed to get my hands on a wash bag. I didn't manage to get the backpack, which I was gutted about.
I was then gifted a Trakke bag by my wife and my sister, they got me one of the smaller backpacks, which has now been everywhere with me, from dog walking trips to bagging Munros. And then from there, it was a journey to a slightly larger backpack to the larger Storr hand luggage backpack.
"It’s nice to know Trakke bags are handmade locally by local people, not just something that's been made abroad where people aren't paid what they should be paid, with material that's probably not sustainably sourced..."
What's important to you when it comes to adding something like a backpack or any other item into your everyday routine, something that's gonna be part of your kit?
First and foremost, sustainability. It’s nice to know Trakke bags are handmade locally by local people, not just something that's been made abroad where people aren't paid what they should be paid, with material that's probably not sustainably sourced.
In terms of work and travel, I need to rely on something that isn't going to break. You can get these expensive bags, clothing, whatever, and they just don't last - you're paying a lot for the brand.
In regards to Trakke, it is about how solid they are. I know they're going to last. There's also an element of style. I like my clothes and I like looking good. That goes hand in hand in my industry, working with cool brands and you have to look the part. So the way something looks comes into it, but it very much has to be heavy duty. If I'm going to spend money on something, I want it to last almost indefinitely.
Tell us something you're looking forward to in the year ahead?
More trips abroad with my family, that's what we live for. I love the excitement and anticipation of where we're going.
We have a goal of visiting 40 countries before we're 40 and I think we're at 37. So the plan is to get in a few trips to places we haven't been, somewhere a bit different. So there's excitement about the uncertainty of where we're going to go next and where we're going to be and the adventures we're going to have.
Japan has always been somewhere I've wanted to go, it's incredible culturally and just so different to our day-to-day. It was in the plan but COVID obviously made that difficult for a few years. Having a lockdown baby also made it difficult. So, the idea of what the Japan trip would've been, a Trakke bag slung over my shoulder, a big adventure, that now has to include all my son's gear, the pram, the chest harness for the kid, and whatever else we need to pack. So, it will be a different trip, but I'd love to think it will come to fruition soon.