Tuesday, July 3, 2012

20 Minutes to Pack

There are currently 8 uncontrolled wildfires in Utah. Utah Fire Info provides information on the active fires, how to protect your home if it is in danger from the fire, resources, and fire safety. Many people have had to evacuate their homes, often with short periods of time to gather their belongings. One of my classmates had to leave class early to check on her home. I heard on the radio that some victims of the fire were forced to gather their beloved possessions and evacuate in 20 minutes.
I stated thinking about what I would take with me if I were given 20 minutes to evacuate. My heart and my brain had very different ideas of what is important to me. My heart began weighing the value of my possessions depending on their sentimental value. Memorabilia such as pictures, old journals, the quilts my aunt and my mom made me, the afghan that my grandmother crocheted make the top of the list. I enjoy traveling and I would want to save the souvenirs I brought home with me. From Swaziland I have a piece of material with the Swazi flag, and a soap stone candle stick. From South Africa I have four picture created from banana leaf: an elephant, a lion, and a village. I brought back two small framed feathers from Costa Rica. Each one has a tiny painting, one of a toucan and the other of a monkey. From my trip to Vietnam I would pack the silk blouses I had made for me and my collection of recipes that I received from taking a cooking class. I did a study abroad in Fiji. I would take my sulus, long colorful wrap-around skirts. From Mexico I would pack my calendar and pictures painted on bark. My heart also wants to take items that my family has given me. I have paintings that my mom and my sister painted for me. My dad made me some earrings with my birthstone and some books that my other sister gave me. I would have to pack my books. The list can go on and on when dealing with the heart.
My head is much more practical. First I think about survival. I would pack my hiking backpack with a sleeping bag, a tarp, several knives, lots of rope of varying widths, my fire kit, a lighter, my head lamp. I would pack functional clothes for whatever circumstance I might come across. I would pack bottles of water and non perishable food. Second, my head insists on packing items that would be expensive to replace and that I would have difficulty living without. Items in this category include my computer, camera, and digital recorder. I might need some dress clothes and make up. Toiletries and eating utensils could be useful.
It is possible that I might be able to gather all of the above in 20 minutes plus whatever else might occur to me. If I had to choose from the above lists I would start with what my head says I should take. However, I think that being placed in such a situation I would sweep everything off of my dresser and into a box. I would quickly fill boxes and bags with everything I can grab. I think I could fill my car with most of my possessions in twenty minutes. I feel fortunate that I have minimal material possessions.
It is an interesting exercise to think about what is important to me. I also like the challenge of thinking how I would react in an emergency situation. If you had twenty minutes to pack what would you take?


  1. Kristin, I have often thought about this. Well, I hadn't narrowed it down to 20 minutes. It isn't an easy decision when you think of a lifetime of treasures. At least having important papers and items where you can lay your hands on them quickly is crucial. It would be good to have a plan because we don't know what tomorrow will bring.

  2. I probably wouldn't think of packing what your mind told you, unless it was clearly a survival situation (end of the world type scenario). And I probably wouldn't opt for the most expensive things, because in the long run they could all be replaced. The things your heart thought of are those that won't be easily replaced. I'd take my computer first of all, because it has everything I need including many pictures. I'd take ID and money, because I'll need that right away. I'd probably take my cut stones, because they are an intimate part of me. A few clothes, because they're necessary. If I start thinking of more, then soon I'll end up with too long a list!