Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Traveling Lighter


Last week it struck me that it was about time to start booking the Spring round of flights to come to The Ranch (if you are not aware, most airlines release them in tranches; I believe Southwest issues theirs through April this week).  I have got more of my rhythm now in terms of travel (one would think, after 14 months, this would be true), so booking early will give me my best chance at getting the flights I want (Not leaving too early, not arriving too late.  There is no reason to be at the airport at 0 dark thirty.).

As I sat down and reviewed the upcoming year, I suddenly realized that - between planning flights once a month and vacation which will have to be used - I will be traveling 33% of the year.

I simply had no idea.

What it did mean, as I sat and pondered it, was that I was going to need to change how I do things for travel and my expectations at home.

For travel, the biggest change I needed to make was simply what I brought - for over a year, I have traveled with a suitcase and a computer bag. I, on average, probably spend an hour trying to recover my luggage between two arrivals (luggage systems at modern airports seem to be much slower than they used to be).  Why, I thought to myself, was I wasting an hour?

After all, at this point I know precisely what I need to bring when I come to the Ranch.  There is never any variation, except by season.  And what if, I wondered, I started simply pre-positioning things?  It is not as if I need to travel with toiletries (well, except of course moustache wax.  That is a bit hard to come by -  the good stuff, anyway).  And clothes?  Yes, there are things I can bring with me, but things like underwear and socks and undershirts do not need travel with me every time.  I certainly have enough of them.

And so, the travel bags you see above:  a backpack and a computer case.  Surprisingly so far, the world has not ended with not having brought other things.  I will wash what I brought and leave the bulk of them here when I go.  Within two trips, I can effectively have a compact second wardrobe here.

(Would that I could only travel with one computer instead of two.  That said, there is no way I am crossing the work/personal streams.  I will just have to lug both.)

But having resolved this, I realized that it impacted my life on a larger scale as well.

In point of fact, if I am gone 33% of the time, that means my involvement in activities is 33% less:  33% less Iai class, 33% less Rabbit Shelter, 33% less gym time (but not necessarily working out, of course), 33% less time on things like gardening and cheese.  It does have an impact.

What it means, of course, is that I have to be somewhat smarter and more innovative about how I do these things.  Find time when I am there to effectively "double down" on those activities; find time when I am away to continue to do or support them even if I am not physically there (for example, I have had to effectively rig a sprinkler system for the garden while I am away).

It also means that going forward, thoughts about involvement in other things and purchases need to be evaluated as well.  I will not be the best card carrying member of any organization at the moment, nor does necessarily buying more things that will sit somewhere being make a lot of sense.

It is odd - without thinking I had entered a transition, I have entered a transition of indeterminate length and unknown extent.  I had hoped, perhaps, to do this in a more thoughtful and organized way.  However, as wiser heads than I have pointed out, Life is as much what happens to you as it is what you try to make happen.


  1. I like the way you think, TB. In regards to carrying two computers, possibly you could have one with a duel boot and two operating systems. Such as Windows for one and Linux for the other. Each would reside in its own partition and remain as isolated from the other as if you had two computers.

    Of course, setting that up might be more bother than it's worth.

    1. Leigh, to be completely honest with you, I am embarrassed that I did not think of this earlier. I think I was still in an old version of "This is only for a period of time". The stark reality is that this is not longer just set period of time: this is a new intervening stage to the stage in life, of unknown duration but of increasingly clear destination. I should have adapted earlier.

      I will continue to experiment, of course, but I can see a world where I could even just make do with the computer case - except, of course, my Iai gi and hakama, which will never fit in anything but a backpack and will need to be brought (Do I have an extra set I could bring, along with an obi (belt)? Yes. How comfortable am I leaving that here? Much less than I should think I would be).

      We do have everything "on the cloud" now, so in theory I could work off of one computer. Unfortunately they have put gadgets and gizmos on my work computer to manage it (security and all), so I am not sure how well it would work - and I am not giving them my personal computer, of course. It is an inconvenience, but a minor one all things considered.

  2. Anonymous3:21 AM

    My wife and I many years ago went on a guided bus tour vacation in central Mexico. Our luggage were large day packs so they were never stowed out of our sight (except in hotels where we stayed). It took a bit more effort, as we carried only two changes of clothing (anticipating purchasing souvenir shop items) and had to wash twice in the nine day trip. Still - it wasn't too bad and like you said, packing / unpacking was much easier than dealing with lines to retrieve them.

    1. Anonymous - I can pack pretty light for trips when I need too - in Japan when we go to train, we are effectively limited to a single suitcase and backpack (because our other luggage is our training weapons!) - but to be fair, we have access to a washer/drier so we can clean as needed. But we do, as you point out, have a safe place to store things out of our sight.

      Once upon a time I always packed very light. I wonder when that changed for me?

      Thank you for stopping by!

  3. I am always striving to lighten my load whenever I'm going anywhere away from home for more than a day. Besides the techniques you mention, I also practice wearing outer clothes for more than one day, especially if I'm not doing anything strenuous or dirty.

    My father, who drives frequently between farm and cabin seven hours apart, also maintains two wardrobes as well.

    1. Ed, that is what I do as well. I will just need to preposition more clothes here.

      On the bright side, I will literally need only one semi-dress shirt here in the event I attend church on Sundays. Other than that, jeans, T-shirts, and flannel in the Winter. Master level unlocked!

  4. Anonymous9:39 AM

    Son runs a dept. with 50+ employees. All of them have been working from home since March, 2020 and everyone was told to take home their computers. So late winter he had a call from IT saying someone used the company computer to watch a Net-flick movie. He had to call the man, reprimand him and write up the incident. He's like you when he travels and takes both.

    1. Margi - It is certainly an easy enough habit to get into, I am sure. Even I was more sloppy about it earlier on - until in our case, our IT department continued to tighten everything up and I suddenly realized doing anything somewhat personal on the computer was probably not a good idea. Now it is 100% strictly confined to work tasks - which, to be fair, is how it probably should be.


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