What would you put in your backpack?

What would you grab if you had to flee?


My friend Donna forwarded Maria Shriver’s newsletter today. In it she wrote about the thoughts and feelings evoked by the war against the Ukrainian people.


It’s impossible to think about the invasion without the mind’s eye seeing people fleeing with only what they can carry. Elderly parents, children, and pets. Bags and backpacks with clothing and ... what else?



Of course, the Ukraine is not the only country or group suffering the insults of the will and power of people bent on subjugating those they can. Far too many people have to constantly choose between flight, flight, or freeze. People, food, or physical safety? Housing or medical costs?


Donna wrote, “I got chills reading this. What would you put in your backpack? That was something I have thought about; still not sure.”


Another friend replied, “Thought provoking. I can’t predict what I would need in my backpack in any emergency so I will have to trust that whatever I do pack I will make useful. Similarly, I need to trust myself that I have the strength and resiliency to face any situation no matter how heartbreaking. There is strength in numbers, whether helping each other or praying for each other.”


My reply was that I’d thought about this just the other day since I recently updated my legal documents and ask clients to keep theirs up to date. I got to, well, I’ll grab my ‘crisis’ file of documents, but then thought what else?

  • Soap? (Will I find water or a toilet?)

  • Socks & shirts? (Can I wash them?)

  • Phone charger? (Will there be an outlet?)

  • Food? (Cripes, should I empty the fridge? I should take cheese, right?)

Then I felt very vulnerable, realizing how precarious we all are and how we take electricity, food, water, warmth, and hygiene for granted.


That’s it.


No offering advice about getting your affairs in order, organizing your spaces, information, time, and all the other things people want help with.


What would you put in your backpack?