A Go Bag is an emergency-preparedness bag that you pack in advance, but hope you never need. That description, definition, is plagiarized directly from wikihow.com, where you can learn how to make your own go-bag. Their advice on what food to pack is ridiculous. I’ve done enough backpacking to know. You don’t buy a can of tuna. You buy these Bumble Bee tuna lunch packs. Depending on your vices, Starbucks Via Instant Coffee is also brilliant.
I watched Sean Penn advise America on TV the other day that we should all have a go-bag ready as part of our pandemic preparedness. He said smart Californians already know this, for when the big-one hits. With all the backpacking, hiking the 500-mile Colorado Trail with A Lo Hawk, aka La Plata, the international travel as an IT hit man, and the Covid-regulated, guest-living I’ve been doing this year, with all that, it’s fair to say I invented living out of a go-bag.
I could tell you how much experience I’ve gained over the years, but honestly, I think most of my efficiency gains are the result of improved tech. I recall the strap to my computer bag breaking as I climbed the stairs to the second deck of a ferry, crossing Sydney Harbour to Manly Beach. It was a quality bag, but no match for the stresses of my network cables and scores of 3.5 inch floppy disks needed for emergency reinstalls of the prevalent operating systems of the day. It’s crushing weight nearly broke my foot. I now carry a billion times more data, at a fraction of the weight, in the form factor of a USB drive.
Nowadays, I carry two MacBook Airs, one work, one personal, an iPad, some adapters and USB drives, and a copy of my latest novel to gift to whomever I chat up on the flight. My current laptop bag has survived under this improved load the last fifteen years. My back is doing better as well.
I’ve been shuffling back and forth between Colorado and Texas all year and virtually living out of a go-bag. While I’ve expanded my real estate on the remote end of that passage, stocking clothes and toiletries, I can sometimes travel with just the laptop bag. I can leave behind most tangible materials, even most of my data is in the cloud, but I find that I still need to carry compute resources – the requisites to stay connected.
But I must say, I feel stealthy when I travel. I have a bit of an imagination and sometimes pretend I’m a spy as I travel through airports. I fancied myself Harrison Ford in Blade Runner during this recent jaunt through ATX. Maybe that makes me weird, but what goes through your head when you travel? Got a go-bag ready for when you have to self-isolate?