Having A Go-Bag

20 Feb Having A Go-Bag

First published in the NZ Woman’s Weekly – cover date 20.2.23


The other week, I turned up at yoga without my yoga mat. Not a disaster – there’s a cupboard full in the studio and, while they are not orange like the one I love for my down-dogs and Salamba Sarvangasanas, you can still have a brilliant time on them. Namaste.

Still, the annoying bit was I’d forgotten the one thing I needed to remember – the rolled-up hot orange mat, placed carefully at the front door to make forgetting difficult. And yet. As I flew down the stairs I’d been distracted by a text and this was all it took. Lucky I had my pants on already, right?

We forget stuff. Often, we forget stuff because our brains are busy. There is a popular theory that we make 35,000 decisions a day and, while most of these would have to be below the level of consciousness, I can see that what to wear/eat/say/do/read could easily reach an astronomical tally in between choosing to hit the snooze button in the morning and deciding when to turn out the light at night. Just getting this page in front of you probably involved dozens of choices, so well done, you.

To reduce Decision Fatigue, people create hacks, shortcuts for avoiding unnecessary choices. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs famously filled his wardrobe with identical blue jeans and Issey Miyake black turtlenecks so he wouldn’t have to decide what to wear on the daily. Basically, he picked looking like a boring middle-aged dude and stuck with it. Instead, he took the time and energy the rest of us would use up on, “Does that top go with that skirt or is it a trousers day?” to do something else, like imagine an iPad into existence.

My favourite life hack is one I picked up from “Criminal Minds”, a TV series about profilers who work for the FBI tracking psychopaths and sociopaths wreaking havoc on society.

Dealing with psychopaths and sociopaths is not what we have in common – though if you saw who comes to find me on Twitter some days, you’d wonder. What we mostly share is frequent travel.

And so, like them, I keep a “Go-Bag” – a few essentials packed and ready to scoot off with anywhere, anytime. It is possibly not so different from the thing you packed in the last weeks of pregnancy ready for the hospital run, back when you believed being “organised” and “ready” was possible because you didn’t yet have kids. Or the Baby Bag you kept later with wet wipes and spare nappies, always enough of them in there until the day you found yourself out of range of a supermarket.

My Go-Bag involves a complete toiletries kit. I have, over the years, bought two of everything you need in the bathroom because I got tired of having to think my way through the ablution process to ensure I had a hairbrush, toothbrush and moisturiser, not to mention plasters, tweezers and Savlon.

It has all the things you might assume plus some surprises, perhaps. A tin with soap, because I hate this new hotel thing of liquid soap on the wall. Scissors, because you’d be amazed how often you need to open impossible things. A vegetable peeler, because the carrot is my favourite snack.

I am still, though, capable of leaving stuff behind. Until I made a travel makeup bag, I would frequently turn up to do an event without mascara, or foundation, or powder. I often forget pyjamas, but not often enough to make them the first thing I pack. Though I once went away with no undies at all, and can confirm this is not a thing you do twice.