Tribe Scribe here. It's National Bike to Work Day in the States, and we thought we'd invite close friend, Tribe member and Tribe Shaman (ambassador) Joshua Foss to make a Tribe cameo on the ETK Blog today, in honor of the day and in honor of living a more thrivable life. I know you'll dig his message and his vibe as much as we do. Check it out...
I’ve been rockin’ the Vietnam 6 Raja backpack for about two months now, and I must say it is fantastic for a number of reasons. First, its performance and versatility is better than any other bag I’ve ever owned. This thing is loaded with features, from the separate laptop compartment and various vessels/pockets perfect for storing smaller tidbits, to its ‘reach through’ component that allows easy access to the bottom of the bag without needing to open it up. These are all great, but in addition to its features, I’ve especially appreciated the Raja’s ability to carry a significant load with ease. There have been a number of times where I’ve put a good 40-50 pounds worth of groceries and gear in the pack and hopped on my bike to ride home. I found myself barely noticing the weight until I stepped off my bike again - a testament to the pack’s capability of evenly distributing its weight.
Another reason I find the bag so fantastic is of course its unique story. I am frequently approached by others who are drawn to the bag - ‘where is it from?’, ‘who made it?’, and ‘how can I get one of my own?’ are becoming familiar questions to hear. The Raja is undeniably captivating, and people instantly recognize its authenticity. I particularly love this, because it’s this authenticity that gives me a jolt of pride every time I throw the pack over my shoulders. It truly feels like I’m not only helping to preserve other cultures, but I’m actively celebrating their unique and beautiful craftsmanship in a way that services and enhances my own lifestyle…everyone wins! This aligns perfectly with a philosophy I’m working to bring to life called Thrivability, a holistic way of being and working that steps beyond sustainable development and into a realm that approaches our pressing 21st century challenges as meaningful opportunities.
Corresponding to this, I truly feel Ethnotek is onto something profoundly beautiful. For most people, globalization is generally acknowledged as an invasive and unyielding force, a steamroller of standardization and replication, a platform for modern corporate imperialism. But what Ethnotek has done is reverse this exploitive flow, utilizing the expansive market reach of globalization as a pathway to protect, serve and even enhance cultural diversity. In my humble opinion, the crew at Ethnotek are at the front edge of a new way of creating products and doing business in the 21st century – a way that enriches the lives of every stakeholder who is connected to the product. A way that is truly thrivable!
So with this as a bit of context, I’d love share how the Vietnam 6 has come to accommodate my life these past two months. Being that it’s National Bike to Work Day today, I of course am an avid rider. I ride virtually everywhere I go - in fact, I don’t even own a car! I’m fortunate to live in a city (Minneapolis) that has a great bike culture and supporting infrastructure that allows me to ride year-round (and can truthfully say that I’ve ridden my bike when it’s been 30 degrees below zero – wind chill included of course)! My Raja has only been with me in warmer weather, but I’m fully confident it’ll hold its own in all four seasons we have here.
Anyway, each day is somewhat of an adventure for me. I throw all sorts of madness into my pack and head off on my bike to a coffee shop to work, a park to read a book, or one of Minneapolis copious happy hours. In the photo below, you can see some of the gear that travels with me on an almost daily basis. This includes: a basic bike repair kit, my laptop with charger, an inspiring book or two, a solar charger from GoalZero that juices my iPhone, as well as my portable speaker that provides my daily soundtrack. Also included is a healthy snack, my classic Klean Kanteen, my reusable ChicoBag (if I happen to ride by a thrift store, I have no self-control, so I need this bag for overfill!), a notebook for capturing my sporadic thoughts, and a yoga mat, which helps me keep loose and limber, as well as grounded in a busy life.
There ya have it - a quick review of my Raja. If you can’t tell, I’m fully hooked on it and am proud to be a part of the Ethnotek Tribe (and it is quite literally a tribe – every time I see someone else sporting an ETK pack or accessory, a great conversation is easily initiated). So do yourself a favor and get a pack of your own. I guarantee it’ll add a kick to your step! - Josh Foss
Enjoy the journey today and every day,
A little bit about the guest Tribe writer, Josh Foss:
Joshua Foss is a very close friend of Founders Jake and Josh, and in many ways has been an advisor on all things sustainable. He is the mastermind green guru behind Thrive Design Studio, Metro Hippie and various other projects on the topic of thrivability. Josh is a dynamic practitioner and ambassador for regenerative design, having worked with some of the most innovative projects, developments, and guiding philosophies on the planet. A strength of Josh's is his ability to creatively envision a future that looks beyond sustainability and into the realm of thrivability, an emerging philosophy that recognizes organizations, communities and economies as living systems that have the potential to thrive if given the proper fertile conditions. His work, simply put, is to develop these conditions and apply, plan and share them within a diverse ecosystem of projects, from multi-billion dollar urban regeneration schemes to elite multi-disciplinary higher education programs. From a personal lens, Josh is one of the most compassionate, and even almost otherworldly souls we've ever encountered, and we're beyond-thankful to have Josh as an ambassador for Ethnotek. And yes, we know - he is quite the 'dude.' Cheers, Josh!