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Last night, as I was lying in bed doing some night reading, I got into a slight panic attack. I sneezed. No, that’s not the panic part. That sneeze could have very well been because I had my dinner in an open air without bringing even a light jacket knowing for a fact that temperature at night here can drop to 16-18 degrees Celsius without gusts of wind at that. No, I attributed the sneeze to the ash fall from the volcanic eruption that is happening as of this writing in Mt. Sinabung here in North Sumatra, a quick 45-minute drive to the hills where I am living.  

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I imagined that the wind has picked up the ash and is now blowing it straight to my window. I checked the side table for signs of gathered white powder. None. The table was squeaky clean from the good service of the housekeeper early in the morning. Still, my mind was not appeased.

I started packing for my emergency get-away bag. Seriously. I put my cash, wallet with identification cards, valuables, change of clothes, bottle of water and a box of chocolate inside. I also readied another jacket and hanged it where I can grab it quickly just in case I need to evacuate. In addition, I charged my hand phones to the brim to ensure that I will have enough battery to contact the necessary people in my life just in case.

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As I lay that emergency bag next to my bed, I was amazed at how I was able to pack quickly and in a small bag at that the things that I consider necessary. No one will seriously lug around a 4-wheeled roller. I seriously won’t.

We forget everything that we think are important like that night cream we put on our face before we go to sleep or that DSLR camera we bought at 0% interest, 12 months to pay scheme. No, all we will be thinking will be how to save our lives during those defining moments with the littlest items to hamper our quick escape.  

And this again connects to the practice that I am trying to test on myself the past few weeks, simplicity. Living with enough. In cases of natural disasters or life and death situations, we seriously wouldn’t think of packing that pillow which we swear to high heavens is needed to give us a good night sleep or that new 3-inch high-heeled pumps that we bought in a heartbeat. No, I realized all are dispensable.

How about you? What will you pack when disaster strikes? Do you have a quick emergency bag ready? What is inside or will be inside? Here is what I packed last night looks like.

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