I am in need of a new bag. While the bag I am currently using – the registration gift from UTOSC 2010 – is a great bag, I constantly found myself packing far too many things in it, my laptop, some random arduinos, my phone, my wallet, multiple chargers, a copy of the Red Hat Story, and all sorts of other random, to the point where my bag was so heavy it was becoming unhealthy. So I decided to force myself to fix it, and get a bag that wouldn't let me do that. I also wanted something a little more subdued, classy, even. So I decided on leather.
Leather messenger bags are expensive – i'd end up spending 200$ for something that fit all of my needs. I'm a college student who's already tied to top ramen for a large percentage of my diet, that doesn't work.
Enter HeatSync Labs, the hackerspace I attend; we had a leatherworker in our midst that was willing to teach me how to make my own bag. The leather cost me sixty dollars, but the experience and enjoyment I have gained learning to work leather has been priceless. I have spent at least 150$ worth of my time on this new bag so far, and am nowhere near finished, but when I'm done I'll have a bag that is truly mine – My design, my leather, my hands. You can't buy that. The community around me has proven time and again that working together is far better than working by ourselves or just buying the end goal, whether it is on code, or designing, building and running our own hackerspace, or designing custom bags or robots.
Fast forward to today, I still don't have a new bag, and I've trained myself to keep me shoulder from wanting the rest of me dead. However, I'm learning and, more importantly, doing something awesome. The do-it-yourself attitude that makes the hackerspace so awesome has also led one of our other members and myself to dive in to costume and clothing design for some classy minimalist Creeper cosplay at MineCon this November. Collars turned out to be more fabric than we thought possible, but we conquered them.
Someone's never going to make all of their own clothes, code, food and machinery. However, having a community of specialized individuals – an IT guy, a code monkey, a leatherworker, electrical etc – gives you a place where awesome like that can and will happen. Your local Hackerspace give you the chance to learn nearly anything that you could have an interest in along with the chance to connect with types of people you'd never connect with any where else.