I’m in a friend’s lovely, lovely, lovely home. But what makes it the most utterly loveliest place of all? My Peet’s French Roast, hot and sweet on the bedside table.
In five hours I’ll be airborne, and by just after midnight I’ll be home. Then I leave Sunday on another junket, headed to the Defrag conference followed by Jim Rettig’s ALA Presidential Implementation Task Force. Then it’s two whole days at home before leaving for a NISO meeting on NCIP, a standard that defines the glue between some key parts of library software, followed by a visit to two community colleges en route to Panama City to teach a class. So I’m really home, for good, on the night of November 17.
Here are some of my travel habits:
I use a packing list. It really, really helps. It’s a generic list, so I start by lining out things I won’t need, but it even includes seemingly obvious items such as my driver’s license, because I’ve retrieved my license from pants pockets at the last minute — thanks to the list.
Every road warrior has some indulgence. I can put up with alien beds, pillows, air temperatures, and so on, but I travel with my own coffee. If, after interrogation, a host admits to serving strong-brewed Peet’s French Roast, I might yield on that point, but otherwise I make my own, meaning I travel with a cone, filters, ground coffee, travel mug, and sweetener. My toothbrush doubles as my stirrer (obviously, not the brush-end).
I try to stick to routines, and one routine is reading. I balance work and pleasure reading so I’m not doing too much of one or the other. Generally I’m fresher on the flight out, making that leg ideal for the less-fun worky stuff (except trip reports, see below).
I sneak in a glass of water when I’m not particularly interested in it, since travel dehydration is so silent but taxing on the body.
Except for hallway chats and the like, I don’t visit with people from my immediate area. I can see them when I’m not on the road.
If a conference session really, truly sucks, I get up and move. (Or check email…)
I take notes in Word and create my trip reports from those notes, completing this report before I get home (or getting it close to completion, if it needs tweaks I can’t do in mid-air).
I try very hard to travel with a carry-on — but I don’t carry it on. It just ensures I only take what I absolutely need.
Increasingly, I dress in business casual. I’ll be in cords and nice sweaters at ALA. On travel days, that can even turn into jeans.
I stage my packing, consider the whole pile, think about what I’m wearing day by day, then take what I absolutely must bring.
I stuff a sturdy duffel bag in my suitcase if I’m going somewhere that I can buy things I can’t get at home. (On this trip I’m carrying home whole-wheat couscous and some other nice treats from Trader Joe’s, Fry’s, and Peet’s.)
I often stuff an old library tote bag in my luggage for similar reasons. It’s a good way to drag reading material around an airport.
I carry all essential cords in my old-lady-purse (as I call the bag I drag around conferences) so that if my bag doesn’t make it to where I’m flying, I’m cool. I can buy underwear in a hotel gift shop (or turn my undies inside-out), and if I must, I will drink Starbucks, but I can’t buy a Treo charger.
In restaurants I often order small plates or first courses and I might share one forkful of a dessert but will otherwise pass on the goodies. Calories count, even outside your zip code.
I make a little time for this blog… and spend a lot of time on the phone with Sandy. If only the cats would talk to me on the phone!