Thursday, October 30, 2014

Traveling and Limitations

Last year I went to Florida for a long vacation.  I didn't pack light.  I had a lot to do, I needed a lot of things.  All my hard drives, my huge gaming laptop, books I meant to scan (if I had the time)(I didn't), all my clothes, some dvds and cds I still needed to rip, etc etc.  I basically moved my normal life there for two months (minus any kind of gainful employment), it was kind of an isolation thing, the closest person I knew lived an hour away.

That was for months, and I expected the tip to require a lot of stuff.  A little while later, I was going on a two-week trip.  I realized I could fit most everything I need into a backpack.  Laptop, chargers, one or two hard drives, game controller, maybe some dead tree books, even my wireless over-the-ear headphones easily slip into my bag.  That's everything I need to read (my phone), to write (laptop), to play games, to clean screens, I could also fit in extra batteries if I wished.  With that setup I would probably be good for months.  I might want for a portable blu-ray drive, though if they exist they're super expensive and those small drives break way to easily (I opt for two hard drives in my laptops instead of an optical drive)(I might re-evaluate that policy for my next laptop though, mSATA adding a second drive without taking a whole bay).

Looking at this backpack with all I could need for production or consumption purposes, it occurs to me that the road-warrior's bottleneck isn't tech, it's clothes.  Seriously.  Two weeks of clothes is one huge suitcase or two small ones.  You could plan on being extra-tidy and packing only one week's worth of clothes, or you could only pack a few pairs of jeans.  Shirts and pants I could re-use, but I would need clean underwear and socks every day. It's just mind boggling to me that something that's been around for thousands of years is the least innovated, the biggest burden, not that I can think of a better solution other than super-light thin clothes---like workout clothes, but that would only work for specific climates.  Even in warm seasons, you might want a little more clothing if and when it rains.

I'm in a position where, if I were to accept a new job that's sort of being offered to me, I'd need to take a lot of two week trips.  This means flights, this means hotel rooms.  My right arm might get super-muscular as a result but I still don't want to lug a suitcase around.  Hotels have free laundry facilities, well, some do.  Sometimes it's just one washer and dryer and other people are hogging it.  It's not something you can reliably bank on.

A device called a WonderWash has recently captured my attention.  A small washer that doesn't run on electricity, you crank it for a few minutes.  It's cool, you could use it while watching tv.  Too large for me to want to pack it in a suitcase to fly with, but it is a cool idea for a small apartment, you can save loads of space and money on laundry.  So I wondered, is there something similarly innovative for travelers?  I searched.

I found the Scrubba. Invented by some Australian (I think) gents, it was brainstormed to solve the problem of not wanting to take a bunch of clothes up a mountain, and also the desire to not wear filthy, stinky clothes on the way.  It doesn't look too different from a large plastic mailing envelope, except it's got a valve for letting air out and instead of bubble wrap inside it's got a flexible nubbed washboard.  Haven't tried it.  I'm going to order it, see what I think.

They sell a kit with clothesline and a large microfiber cloth (beach towel size).  You spread your garment over the cloth and roll it up inside of the cloth, squeezing out the water as you go, then you hang the clothes up.  Now towels are something every hotel has a ton of, and I could see forgoing their kit and just using hotel towels.  I am curious about wrinkles, and whether or not that means I'll need to travel with hangers, though I could easily pack them in with my clothes, I'd probably like to hang them up at the hotel anyway.  Hmm, does anybody make travel hangers that fold up small or something?

I seems they do.  Bit pricey, though I see a lot of other options too.

Well, food for thought for me.  Might be a hassle washing a load of clothes before bed every night but hey, I might just get some nice calming vibes out of it too.

Til then,


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