The importance of travel gear to the business traveller
23.10.2006 - 03.11.2006 2 °C
I haven’t written much in the blog lately, because I haven’t been travelling. My last entry ended with me running through a sun-shower in New Jersey. Three days later, I was on a plane from Newark back to Toronto, and have spent the last 5 weeks here at home in Toronto.
My time at home ends on Monday, when I get back on a plane for a new project. Ah, yes, a new project means a fun new location! So where, you are asking, am I off to next. What exotic location? Dallas? London? Dubai? Sydney?
Nope. New Jersey.
Back to New Jersey, though a different client and a different location in the state (though still within 30 minutes of Newark airport). It’s just an 8 week project, but if things go well, I could be heading back to New Jersey for the next year. Hmmm, the glamour of this job has not been evident as of late. I miss last year, with it’s San Francisco and Paris trips.
While I haven’t been travelling the last 5 weeks, I have been thinking of travelling, because I have spent much of this time shopping for travel gear. Gear is very important in travel, as you spend much of your time lugging it around. I still haven’t managed to quite get the hang of leisure trip packing, and always seem to end up carrying around 5 shirts and 3 pairs of pants that I never end up wearing, but I have business travel down to a science. I can pack for a business trip in about 3 minutes, fit everything in the carry-on space on an airplane and travel with only what I really need.
I bought some business casual slacks to replace the pairs that have holes in the pockets and frayed cuffs. I threw out a few pairs of black dress socks with holes in the heels and toes, and bought some new pairs. Replacing and updating the wardrobe is pretty standard stuff, though. I’ve been forced into a few big purchases as some of my bigger travel gear has worn out or disappeared.
First was my watch. In 2000, I bought a nice Citizen Eco-Drive watch in Denver for around $US 250. It was a manly watch with a metallic band and a blue face. It was water resistant up to 200 metres, though I always figured if I was 200 m under the water, my biggest problem wouldn’t be what time it was. Most interestingly, it was solar powered. Unlike the digital watches that were very popular when I was kid, this one had no stupid solar panel and could hold a charge for up to 60 days. The only problem I would have is every year in mid-December the watch would stop because I’d had it hidden under long-sleeves for the past three months without any sun, and I would always forget to leave it out in the sun to charge. But one sunny afternoon, and the watch would be charged again and I wouldn’t have any trouble with it.
What time is it? A freckle past a hair!
A few weeks ago, in what can be attributed to either a broken band, a light-fingered thief or drunken misplacement, my watch went missing, and after a week of searching, I have not been able to find it anywhere. So I’ve been shopping around to try and find a replacement. Unfortunately, it appears that the specific model I owned is no longer available, and none of the other watches look JUST LIKE IT. I am coming to grips with the fact that I will have to buy a watch that doesn’t look like my old one, but it’s a tough uphill climb.
I also bought a couple pairs of work shoes. Back in 2004, I was training for my Kilimanjaro climb, and would walk to and from work every day, about an hour and a quarter walk each way. Because I was going to work, I would wear my work shoes. After my climb, I continued to walk to and from work out of habit more than anything else. In April of 2005, I woke up one morning with an incredible pain in my right foot. I went to the doctor, and he said that I have Metatarsalgia, an inflammation of the balls of the feet that comes from over-use, especially if one is wearing shoes without adequate arch support.
So, after some extensive research, I went out and bought a couple pairs of shoes, both well known for their comfort and support, a pair of Eccos and a pair of Rockports. The Rockports are a bit more dressy, the Eccos a bit more casual. I’m in the process of breaking them both in, and both seem pretty decent so far. It’ll be nice to have a pair of business shoes I can walk in, as it will save me from having to lug an extra pair of shoes in my luggage. As I said, the lighter the luggage, the better off you are.
I also bought a 19 inch roller-bag last week, a $60 Eddie Bauer bag (regularly $120). It’s nice, though seems a big tippy when the handle is fully extended, and the colour isn’t as bright as I would have liked. Of course, I was inclined not to like the bag too much right from the start, as it is replacing a very old friend.
In 1997, when I first started travelling, I bought myself a 19 inch bright green Jaguar roller bag. While I have all manner of luggage, from suit bags to backpacks to duffle bags that could easily hold 2 dead bodies, my little green bag was my most common travel companion. It’s probably travelled close to a quarter of a million miles with me, most often sharing the overhead space of the airplanes I was on, but sometimes relegated to the luggage hold (especially recently, when liquids were banned on flights). In addition to it’s duties as a transporter of my clothes, it’s served as a camera tripod, foot rest, door stopper and dinner table.
Over time, though, it's started to fall apart. The front zipper is broken, the main zipper sticks, the foot on the bottom is barely holding on, the bag tips over all the time, the handle is almost falling off and the fabric is frayed and thining.
My little green bag (retired) on the left, my new bag on the right
I’m a little surprised that I have become so attached to my little green bag. Unlike other members of my family (you know who you are), I am not usually a pack rat and things usually go into the garbage pretty quickly once their usefulness is through. The old pairs of pants, socks and shoes have gone in the garbage already, replaced by their newly bought counterparts, but I haven’t managed to throw out the little green bag yet. I will, probably this weekend.
Before I did, though, I felt that my little green bag deserved to be remembered somehow. So I present this blog entry, as a goodbye to an old friend and travel companion. I shall miss you, my little green bag.
Ode To My Little Green Bag
Green and small, with wheels black.
A handy-dandy travel pack.
Full of clothes and toiletries,
like deodorant made by Degree.
You fit so nicely in the overhead
it makes me happy not check a bag instead.
You'll even fit underneath the seat
in a pinch, ain't that neat!
Kermit the Frog upon green did sling
the insult that it was like so many things.
And yet when I had to check, you were easy to find.
A green bag stands out against the other kinds.
So many bags of black complexion,
How could green not grab my affection?
Green with envy were the other flyers
as they saw the bag of their desires!
Green is the color associated with rookie players
But you quickly gained experience to quiet the naysayers
You travelled far and traveled wide
and soon became filled with pride.
But all of us age and grow tired
and soon you were dead and expired
and I say goodbye, my little green bag
travelling without you will be a drag.
- the end.
Lookin' back on the track for a little green bag,
Got to find just the kind or I'm losin' my mind
Out of sight in the night out of sight in the day,
Lookin' back on the track gonna do it my way.
- Little Green Bag, George Baker Selection