|A hobo and his bindle|
(picture from TV Tropes)
Noun. North American slang. Early 20th century.
[Probably alteration of BUNDLE noun.]
A bundle or package; especially a tramp's bundle of bedding etc.
Also: bindle-stiff a tramp carrying a bundle of bedding etc.
When I was about seven, I decided to run away. There wasn't really any reason for it, other than I had probably been reading too much Huckleberry Finn, Swiss Family Robinson and, of course, Dick Whittington and His Cat. I went through a stage of meticulous planning, which included packing up my bindle (à la Dick), hitching a ride on a boat (à la Huck) and somehow ending up on a desert island, building a hill fort and fighting off bands of attacking pirates (à la the Robinsons - at least in my favourite film adaptation).
Naturally, at seven, there were certain flaws in my plan (including the idea of taking the gas canister from our kitchen heater so that I could roll it down the hill and blow up the pirates), and the whole thing never actually came to fruition. However, the bindle was central to the plan, and was perhaps the most plausible aspect of the whole idea. In it, I planned to carry some books (including my SAS survival guide and a journal), food, twine, a compass and a magnifying glass. There was no accounting for any clean underwear or soap - such things are not of concern to young boys.
Even though I never had my adventure, and it never left my head or the scraps of paper on which I scribbled my notes, the bindle still stirs romantic notions of adventure, excitement and mystery. Even in adulthood, who hasn't toyed with the idea of just packing up and leaving all your troubles behind, even if these notions are just as impractical and unrealistic as those of a seven year old boy?
If you had to pack up your bindle right now, what would take with you? And it's a bindle, remember! No TVs or deck chairs. And certainly no gas canisters!
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