adult life, adventure, angst, anxiety, back-packing, baggage, choices, clutter, hiking, life, life experiences, lifesaver, necessities, ocd, over-packing, random, self care, things, trip, what do women carry with them, womanhood
In the eventuality of an apocalypse or a natural catastrophe, my backpack and I will be fine. Why? It is safe to say that while looking for a specific pen on the bottom of my bag I found all sorts of things that I didn’t even know I had or needed.
In order to find my pen I had to empty my backpack on my work desk and dig in for long lost treasures. This is what I found (other than my “necessities”, which are ids, keys, phone, wallet, charger): work folder with pretty much any information possible, phone numbers, contacts, rules and regulations….etc; agenda, iPad, extra charger, additional external battery for android, tampons, napkins, Kleenex, wet wipes, coupons, pens (different color inks, cos just one color is boring), nutribar (in case I get hungry randomly), surgical gloves (don’t ask me why, I have my reasons), lip balm, Eucerin aquafor (for emergencies), hair-tie, band-aids, measuring tape (because why not), lipstick and emergency pills (Xanax, ibuprofen, aspirin, Imodium).
And these are the items I put back in my backpack after I “organized” it. That is my lifesaver backpack. Once in a blue moon, you will see me carrying a purse, a normal size purse for a normal person. One in which I can only fit my wallet, phone, keys, Kleenex and my bottle of pills. I honestly don’t know what I’ll do without my things. Not that they are used/needed on a daily basis but knowing I have them gives me some sort of comfort. I know that when I forget to put something in my bag (changing purses is tragic, DON’T DO IT 🙂 ) I will need the exact thing I left behind. Like voluntarily leaving my umbrella at home, because “It’s not going to rain” to find out that IT ALWAYS RAINS WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE YOUR UMBRELLA!
This behavior might have something to do with my slight O.C.D tendencies or my past battles with anxiety. I always feel safe when I know I can reach inside my bag and take out what I (think) I need. Often times I don’t need anything but during a (now rarely) anxiety attack I look for my pill and end up taking none. The simple realization that I have it gives me a great feeling.
It’s a routine that has always worked for me. Ever since I can remember I over-packed. Every summer starting with my 5th-grade basketball tournaments and ending with hiking and mountain-ing (as I called the 8+ hr backpack mountain trekking) was a new challenge in Oana’s book How Much Can I Carry on My Back This Trip? My backpack always weigh between 25-30 kg (at least) and in that tube-like shape bag you will find neatly packed anything from canned food, warm change of clothes, emergency meds, thermos, tea bags, chocolate, nutrition bars, books, food warmer, boxed food of all kinds, plus other necessary items that are not necessary for other people. You never know when you need them is my hiking mantra. We once carried a cd/cassette old-fashioned player, plus cassette box in case we want to have our own little party in a remote cabin in the middle of nowhere. After 8-9 hr of walking, through rain and sometimes snow in the middle of August, we reach a secluded log cabin that has no electricity so the cassette player and food warmer are therefore redundant. And this is just a glimpse of a regular relaxing week in the mountains. Over-packing led to a temporary kidney dislocation [which I don’t believe actually happened] but the feeling that I have everything I need with me on a trip that was supposed to be easy and relaxing is worth everything.
I am sure most women choose to fill their bags and purses with insignificant things but from pragmatism to paranoia is only one step. You can’t be practical and safe from an apocalypse in the same time. 🙂
Even the trips for fun were turning into self-inflicted wounds. A trip outside of town with my grandma or just to our local downtown market was planned in detail and pre-packing was necessary for the safety of our adventure. My grandma used to ask me if there is a punishment that I have to submit to in order to leave the house. She was actually trying to say: “wherever we’re going doesn’t have to be painful”. I used to nod and still pack my bag with every single thing known to men because that is my thing.
Now, read the little poem below and be happy you are not like me 🙂
Just some random things [by Shivani Gakhar]
Charger, lip balm and my house key
These things I always bring with me.
A notebook, for inspiration can strike at any place
Some crayons (of course) and a bag of glitter (just in case)
Strangely a torch, cells and a magnet
Some safety pins for my gaping placket
A spork and straws from that time I ate out
Band-aids – I’ll need them, without a doubt
Not one pencil but there’s a sharpener
And for my clumsy fingers a nail cutter
A handkerchief I never use
A lens to read the news
Pen drive and a measuring tape
Just some tools of the trade
Paper clips are always handy
And instead of change, here’s some candy
A toothbrush for last minute plans
Some bells for my fidgety hands
Buttons from an old shirt
Tea that tastes like dirt
An unsent letter
A beautiful feather
In all this clutter, and all this madness
Is a quiet world of my own little mess.