27th November 2017
One of my favourite tech blogs, The Verge, has a series entitled “What’s in Your Bag?” in which they invite their employees to share what they carry with them on a daily basis. I’ve always been a keen reader of these articles, as I’m fascinated by what people actually treat as indispensable enough to carry with them at all times.
To this end I thought I’d share what I carry with me in my day-to-day life here in the busy city of Madrid. I may not be as huge on tech as some of the guys over at The Verge, but I think I carry my fair share of interesting bits and bobs. So what exactly does a designer carry around with him? Let’s dive in…
Herschel Pop Quiz Backpack
Just before moving out to Spain I bought a new one of these, but my last one lasted me the best part of four years. It holds my laptop or iPad perfectly, I like the design and its size is nicely compact for everyday use, but I’ve found I can cram a surprising amount into it when travelling.
iPad Pro 13” with Apple Pencil and Keyboard
Instead of my laptop I usually just throw my iPad in my bag, as my MacBook is quite heavy and its battery pretty dreadful, and the iPad does everything needed on a daily basis. At work I use it as a secondary monitor for my iMac (thanks to the great app Duet), and after work I can set up my keyboard in a café and do some writing, or use the Pencil to doodle as I speed along on the Metro.
Leuchtturm1917 Dotted A6 with Schneider Xtra 805
This handy little notebook is dotted which can work perfectly as a grid for designing on or as lines for longer form writing, and I its compact size makes it the perfect go-everywhere pad. In this pen I firmly believe that I have found the best pen in the world, as it sits somewhere between a gel pen and a standard ball point, making it smooth and perfect for both writing and sketching design ideas.
iPhone X and iPhone 6
Whilst some may have been drawn in by the big screen or gimmicky new features like the so-called animojis, I mainly upgraded to this phone for its camera, and so I now find that my trusty Canon 500D gets left at home. The iPhone X presents a sizeable upgrade over the iPhone 6, which although suffering a broken home button and a two hour battery life, still gets thrown in my when I need to use it as my Spanish mobile.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II
Another recent purchase, these replace a knackered pair of Beats, and are a treat I bought myself from duty free just before boarding my flight out to begin working here. After years of catching my headphone wire on door handles, it’s nice to pop them on and wander around the city without a care in the world. I find the sound quality excellent, helped in no small way by the noise cancelling which works incredibly well.
Arial by Sylvia Plath
A collection of poems rather than a novel, I find I always have time on the metro to read even just a short poem on my way to work. Plath’s work might not be the most jovial or uplifting, but I find each piece to be somehow beguilingly haunting and beautifully written. I’ve also noticed that as I’ve read each one so many times I am able to half recite them as I read, which gives me a sense of calm familiarity as I traverse this foreign city.
Solan de Cabras Water
Of course I’m not so wasteful (or for that matter rich) as to buy these with any kind of frequency, rather I just keep topping the thing up with tap water to keep me hydrated as I sizzle in the sun. At 60 cents a bottle it’s cheaper than a proper reusable one, and although I’ve been told I’ll catch some kind of desease by reusing it, I wash the thing on a regular basis and to my knowledge I haven’t died yet.
Keys and Cards
Wherever I go I like to keep a copy of both my personal cards and my new shiny (literally) ones from Erretres. These sit alongside my transport card, which at 20€ a month for unlimited travel within the entirety of Madrid is an absolute steal. My keys (one of which is a USB memory stick, look closely) sit on a metal ring which for some reason I decided should be huge, and so sourced from eBay some years ago. Don’t ask.
Apple Watch, Sunglasses and Ring
I can’t say I rate the Apple Watch, as these days I pretty much just use it to check the time and occasionally read a text message. The sunglasses are just an 8€ pair I bought from H&M in Lisbon after I forgot to bring any, and so here the ring is probably the only thing I actually value. It was custom made from the smelted wedding rings of my grandma and grandad, and then bashed into this custom design by our family jeweller.
And thus concludes a tour through my bag. I’m always interested to see what everyone else couldn’t live without, so if you have made your own little collection then get in touch! I shall be back to my regular schedule of updates from my day to day life pretty soon, somehow this week has become much more hectic than expected…