When I usually think of backpacking, I often think of it as a recreational activity, a pleasant escape from the burdens of the work-a-day world. The people that I saw in Guatemala simply did pack things on their back, if they were male, or on their hear if they were female. Not ultra light loads but bundled firewood and multiple gallons of water, in a town on the slopes of a volcano where nothing is ever flatland.
I look at what I have to carry; a three gallon bucket of water to fill my aquarium, about 20 steps from the water faucet, 10 times; forty pound bags of dog-food, a load of firewood, with a wheelbarrow, from the edge of the yard to my front door. Not long ago, I balanced two 30 pound toddlers on my hips.
Beyond that, I reach for my car keys and moan when I have to make several trips from the drive way to my kitchen with an abundance of fresh groceries. I scoop up my fat cat and carry her to a lawn chair and curl up with a fresh coffee and a good book.
Not that an American, mother of teenagers, lives a burden free life, but my burdens are often the ones that weigh down my mind and spirit with worries of things that never happen. They do not exercise my legs and keep my back erect.