IMG_20130708_162708For the past few years I’ve headed off on summer holidays having switched off the work mobile leaving it in a drawer at home. I’ve realised it’s definitely one of the gadgets I don’t need or want when on leave and I’ve never had a problem treating it like that.

This isn’t one of those posts advocating a digital detox; far from it as I use devices on holiday to keep in touch, take and share pictures, listen to music, find out what there is to do, what’s currently happening in places I might go and also to pay for things. 

This is more about realisation and appreciation of usefulness and letting go of stuff that isn’t.

On holiday I use (and carry) my mobile phone, wallet, camera, spare camera batteries/memory card, headphones, sunglasses (or case for normal glasses when wearing sunglasses), local travel cards….and increasingly middle age related items such as umbrella, sun cream, cap, paracetamol, water bottle etc. All of which I can now no longer carry or wear as individual items.

I’d got to the stage of considering something to carry what I need and the increasing array of ‘might be useful but not if I don’t have it with me’ stuff. You know, something to keep it all safe but easily accessible, not over-bulge the holiday shorts but which doesn’t say ‘mug me now’. This has been an ongoing holiday dilemma for a number of years.

I’ve even looked at man bag’s and thought they could be really useful; something my family have teased me about.

This year in Italy, where there are a few, I walked past a sale bucket of pouches and bags even stopping to look before giving myself a stern talking to followed by a double espresso in the cafe next door.

It was while drinking that coffee I realised it was just more of what I’d recently been doing at home and work; recognising a need to better organise stuff – both things and time.

Of course I didn’t NEED the man bag. I didn’t need to carry as much stuff ‘just in case’.

Back home I’d recently turned off notifications on all email accounts and social networks, unsubscribed from feeds I no longer found useful. I’d readjusted my work and home life balance, consolidated various financial accounts, deleted stuff I no longer used and donated clothing I knew deep down I’d never wear again. I’d binned those 27 unique coffee house loyalty cards with 2 stamps on that were stopping my wallet shutting. I’d even shredded the cheque book I last used over 6 years ago and I’d got comfortable paying for things ‘contactless’. And it was feeling good.

I’ve also recently busted the myth that any payment card within five yards of a mobile phone will be deactivated and so dispensed with a wallet and now just carry my phone with cards and an emergency tenner inserted in the case. And no, this doesn’t mean I look at my phone more than I did before.

There may come a time where I will need to carry more things for various reasons and the man bag may be the answer and not just on holiday. But this holiday stuff dilemma and consolidation of things has made me see why people would consider biohacking. I probably wouldn’t rule it out if I thought the benefits outweighed any risks. I met the person who wrote the linked article earlier this year and she made me see things from a different perspective about what is and might be useful.

Things change. We may not initially realise this is what is happening to us. We then need time to consider, adjust, realise what works for us and then shift to introduce new ways of doing things. This also brings with it consideration of how value and appropriateness may be different for others.