Thanks to Madison for his “uplifting” post the other day. I love being “guilted” by a dog. This was a great trip, and nothing he says could change that.
I had a good chuckle when I read over my itinerary on the plane as we circled to land in Detroit for my connecting outbound flight. I am a list maker and my itinerary this trip, with four guilds, was a long one: two pages worth. I list where I’m going what presentations I’ve giving, how many participants, hotel address contact information, names and cell phone numbers for the folks who will be carting me around from place to place.
And yes. I write down what clothes I’m going to wear on which day.
I’m already maxed out on my luggage, so I don’t want to pack anything I don’t need. I also don’t want a debate in the morning over what to wear. If I make those decisions before I leave, more time for other things.
Before I leave home I assume I’ll have lots of spare time in between presentations for other things. I’m either a chronic optimist or an idiot.
You would think after 25 years of doing this I would realize that there isn’t much free time in between anything. Not if I want to get from one place to another, take all the stuff that I brought with me to the next place, eat, and sleep.
I schedule myself pretty tight. At first it was because I only traveled once a month and only for a long weekend. Jen was little and I wanted her to know who I was when I got home. Later, I crammed as much as I could into the shortest time possible because I wanted to be available to take care of Mom.
But there was always the fear that I would have a minute or two where I’d be just sitting there with NTD (Nothing To Do). I am not good at NTD. So, to be productive and to reward myself at the end of the day I packed TTDs: Things To Do.
I always have my laptop. But it’s hard to find a plug in the airport, and harder to type in coach if the person in front wants to tilt their chair back. The mouse is impossible to work unless I drive it up my thigh, and it won’t stay there, so my cursor slides all over the place. So I bring paperwork, letters to answer, patterns to proof, I skim the first 3 inches of stuff off the top of my desk. I can always read, underline, and highlight on the plane. Eventually I’ll get to a hotel with a desk and wireless Internet.
I have to have sewing. I’ve pieced more than one quilt by hand over the years while buckled into my seat. But on night flights the light isn’t great, so I bring a book too. I love mysteries. Helps keep my mind off the age of the plane and the youth of the pilot. Heaven forbid I should tilt MY seat back and just sit there staring at the inside of my eyelids.
Now I bring my new iPhone, which has a million hours of music and episodes of my favorite television shows loaded on. And my iPod because I can listen to podcasts to drown out the sounds of traffic and other hotel guests. It plays ONE and then goes silent unlike the iPhone which goes on forever apparently. And a book.
Got to have the camera in case I need to take a high resolution shot of something. The iPone is there for blog photos and for the web site. And a 150 GB external hard drive in case I need to access every single document while I’m away from home.
I might work on a quilt pattern.
In short, just to be SURE, I pack way more than I need….just in case I have “down time.” That happens so infrequently I have almost forgotten what down time is. Still it’s one of the goofy things I do that makes travel less stressful for me.
So what did I do on the trip besides teach? I finished four miniature Invisibly Appliqued quilt blocks, proofed a pattern, made 5 phone calls, read two articles on social marketing, watched an episode of West Wing, listened to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, and answered about 50 emails. In short about 2% of the things I brought along with me that I could have done. When, I don’t know. Nevertheless, I was prepared.
I’m home now. Madison is happy. I’m off to the mall this afternoon. Yeah, I have a list. And I have sewing in my purse and a thimble in my pocket… just in case.