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What’s in your bag, Natt Garun?

Gifted things and things to be gifted

Photography by Amelia Holowaty Krales

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What’s in your bag? is a recurring feature where we ask people to tell us a bit more about their everyday gadgets by opening their bags and hearts to us. This week, we’re featuring Verge technology editor Natt Garun.

If there was a theme to my bag, it’d probably be gifts. Most of what I carry day to day aren’t actually things I bought for myself, but rather, they’re items people have given me over the years, or things I have around just in case someone needs it. It’s one way to feel like I am carrying the people who are an important part of my life with me as I go, while also feeling a walking Walgreens! (Not really! Kind of! Why do I do this?)

You’ll notice there really aren’t that many technological items, despite my job. Throughout the course of my career, I’ve accumulated multiple headphones and upgraded to new laptop a few years ago, so my setup is one set of gadgets at home and another at work. This leaves a lot of room to take things with me that I find super useful for general living, while having enough space to cram in a laptop on the go if I need to be reporting on site.

Marc Jacobs Workwear Nylon Backpack

My mom gave me this backpack because it matches my leather Marc Jacobs cross-body bag, which actually makes it kind of awkward when I carry them at the same time. (It looks overly intentional?) But I’m also too lazy to go and shop for a new backpack, and you can do worse than a frickin’ Marc Jacobs bag. It has two front pockets for easy access to snacks or a pen; nice, large gold tabs for pulling zippers closed; and is mostly water-resistant to keep my gear dry if a sudden rain cloud appears.

Is it the most functional, supportive bag in the world? No. Not even close. But it wins on style points for easy, 20-minute commutes.

13-inch Apple MacBook Air

You’re all probably used to seeing this exact MacBook from most Verge staffers’ posts in this series. I didn’t pick it; it’s just the laptop Vox Media gave us when I started working here. (At home, I use a 2014 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, but if I had a choice I may have opted for a different work laptop to better diversify my OS knowledge.) Again, this mostly stays at work, except for times I need to jet out for a quick event, and it fits great into the backpack without getting too banged up.

Google Pixel

I’m one with the blob, the blob is me ༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ. Enough said.

Master & Dynamic MH40 Over-the-ear Headphones

I was given these several years ago and they are my go-to headphones for everything: work, travel, jamming at home. It’s got super soft ear cups, a great sound, and a cool, vintage look. I will say they are a little heavy, though, which is not the best thing to strap to your head when you’ve got a lot of frizzy hair! But they work well, are decently durable, and I don’t feel the need to upgrade to wireless options because I just prefer that they work without needing to be charged. Also because walled gardens suck, and I’m gonna be stubborn about it.

Cremated tooth

My dad passed away a few days after I turned seven, and he was cremated in a traditional Thai funeral. He had these two large fangs that were a lovable part of his smile, and when they were collecting some ashes to put in an urn after the cremation, they noticed that his two fangs had remained intact. So my mom had them encased in a plastic tube and kept in a gold container, then gave each to my brother and me when we started college.

He died when he was 34, and didn’t have the opportunity to see life outside of our native Bangkok and the occasional work trip to Hong Kong. I now take him with me everywhere I travel as a way to feel like he’s always by my side, experiencing the world with me.

Beauty and medical supplies

I don’t wear a lot of makeup — just a little bit of eyeliner and lip balm to keep from looking too pale, and I have a MAC lipstick (that I got for Christmas) standing by on the off chance I need to be on camera at work. I also carry a Verge-branded bottle of ibuprofen that the company had made for the most recent CES. You never know when these can come handy! The Band-Aids are there for when new shoes inevitably cut into my skin, and the tampon for, well, when my uterine lining sheds itself monthly, and I am expected to continue being a functioning, rational human being. Female bodies are metal as hell.

Decorative Pins

Over the years I’ve started collecting random pins from friends and work events, but these are the two most recent ones I was given, so they have stayed in my bag rather than on the small display on my mantel at home. The Vox Media one came from a recent refugee dinner the company hosted, and the Ace Attorney pin is for when I need to look like an expert, because who else would believe you otherwise?

Paper Girls Volume 1

My friend Max gave this to me after I was hospitalized and had to take a few months to recover from a liver resection. We both love comics from Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Saga) and this was his latest series with all-female lead characters, which matched the girl power theme of another comic he’d given me at the time (Nimona — also a quick and easy read!).

I keep Paper Girls in my bag because I never actually did get to read the whole thing during my recovery period. (Every time I saw words, I automatically became drowsy.) After Vox Media moved offices, I also have a shorter commute, which doesn’t leave time to sit down and read. But one day, I hope to actually finish it and move up to the latest volume!


Confession: I... steal office resources. But I can explain! Like many young, trendy startups and media companies, our office does a pretty good job of offering all kinds of munchies at the workplace, so sometimes I take a snack from the pantry and store it in my bag. Then, when I pass by a homeless person or a panhandler on the train, if I am unable to give them money, I hand them food instead. I’d like to think that’s a little more immediately helpful than the pennies buried in the bottom of my bag. Thankfully, I haven’t continued to run into the same people, so I haven’t trained anyone to expect free food from me. Don’t fire me, please.

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