Have You Thought of Your 60-second Items?
By Barb Payne
If you have joined the emergency management industry in the last five years, you have experienced a deployment. Some are out of the country and just across the street from your office. Regardless, we take things with us. We need to get through our days the same way we would if we were at home, teleworking, or at our office. And then…there are the little things…the things that look out of place in a go-bag list…that thing that is sitting on your desk that no one understands…or what you have hanging up in your hotel or base camp room, the first thing you see when you wake up and what you see when you come back from the day’s exhausting activities.
For me, there are two things that I always have with me. The first is a framed picture of my Mother, and the second is a 3D-printed action figure of myself at a Comic Con. Per my therapist, I should take my version of Fennec Shand with me everywhere I go. So, I do. And when I look at it, I am reminded of how cool the event was, how hilarious my friend looked in costume, how I got to see my childhood friends signing autographs, and how EXTRA cool it was to get the action figure made, as I’ve always dreamed of being my own action figure. This paragraph took me 30 seconds to read…and maybe I’ll give it another 30 seconds of reminiscing. A crucial 60 seconds of my day was spent thinking about some of my favorite hobbies: science fiction, Star Wars, comics, and wearing costumes (preferably Star Wars). Sixty seconds to remind me that I have a life beyond my civilian service and pro-bono consulting. Find Your 60! While you think of the one or two things that you should have with you for sanity’s sake, let’s review some best practices for deploying away from home or the office:
Probably the most important items you can have come from your go-bag, the bag being the backup...don’t take your go-bag supplies unless you forgot something crucial and don’t have time to get it before you leave! Here is where assumptions can make or break the first month of your deployment. Don’t assume there is soft toilet paper, or any toilet paper for that matter, available when you arrive….don’t assume there will be a decent towel to use….don’t assume there will be a fridge or microwave…(if you have meds that need refrigeration, plan ahead!)….don’t assume you will have cell service at any point during your travels…(picking up a MiFi or hotspot can help with this burden)…don’t assume there will be an iron…(for those of you who like to bring 4+ bags with you(!), bring your own hangars and buy a travel steamer).
The fun thing about traveling and packing for travel is you (should) get better after each trip. The key is to have the right bag. I say bag, meaning one, not counting your carry-on. When you take more than two checked bags, you are slowing yourself down and, inevitably, slowing the mission down that you were supposed to check in to 5 hours ago….but helping your bags from the terminal to the rental car office is taking too long. I like to look good while I’m deployed, but working in a disaster is not a fashion show and, quite frankly, annoys most of your colleagues when you make it about what you are wearing, not where you should be going. It sends a BIG message when you are more concerned with your luggage suite than where your TDS is.
Challenge yourself to walk to talk! I have a hard shell 22” that can hold 3 WEEKS worth of outfits, casual, gym, and office, plus shoes! I won’t plug any bags here but find one with a compression panel. The more you can squish, the better. Maybe taking certain clothing is your thing that makes you happy, as I mentioned above, but be realistic with your choices. Take a hoodie that makes you happy, not 6. I’ve backpacked across Europe and hiked the entirety of the Deschutes River over three days. Do you know what mistake I made? I packed too heavy. You’d be surprised how a few ounces here and there, an extra pound in this bag…adds up to a major nightmare when you have to walk a few hundred feet in the rain or in 105-degree weather. When you leave your house to travel, it should be like a workout (cause it is): sneakers, comfy clothes, things in convenient/ready-to-grab places, and hopefully, a water bottle. When you mispack and travel inappropriately, it will be your colleagues picking up your slack when you fall or keep your bags from rolling into oncoming traffic. If we are supposed to be Champions of Resiliency, how resilient are YOU once you are on the road?
Some fun items that have started taking the journey with me include:
-travel blender USB chargeable
-set of travel utensils (wood or plastic)
-a travel coffee brewer
-travel lunch box (can plug into a car lighter, can heat things at your desk!)
-silicone bowls, cups
-crank/solar/USB radio with charger
-collapsible ANYTHING, water bottle for starters
-ROKU t.v. plug in with remote
-moving photo frame holds a gazillion pics!
Have you thought of Your 60-second items? Hopefully, they aren’t breakable. I’ve made that mistake plenty of times. I just HAD to take this one personal thing, and I ended up causing more heartache than if I had left it at home. Can you make a copy of your personal item? Or take a picture of the item you wish you could take with you but can’t. Whatever you choose, it should bring you JOY and give you that most-important 60 seconds to remember who you are and where you came from.
This edition’s homework will be:
Find Your 60-second items that travel well and make you SMILE!
Find a new suitcase or a new way to pack. Practice walking around with a fully packed bag, all of your bags if you insist on bringing more than 2 (have your family ship your stuff instead!)
See you at the next one! 😊