Packing Redundancy

Ever have those bad dreams that involves being in school (or on stage, or in public) and you look down to realize you're not wearing pants? Here's the travelling geek's version of the same: you wake up 5,600 miles from home and your suitcase has no usable pants.

I've been on the road 13 of the last 15 weeks, and I've gotten my trip-to-trip turnaround down to just under 48 hours (I'm not proud of that, but it's the truth). Cycling through business casual clothing, reading material, email downloads and potential exercise wear is merely a matter of popping the stack that comes from the dry cleaners, laundry room and mailboxes.

I've learned to pack with reasonable redundancy, just in case my clothing requirements are extended through missed flights, adverse weather, or lap children in the row behind me that prove Young's diffraction slit experiments apply to vomit and airline seats (yes, that really happened, on the way to Australia). One business trip with a wardrobe provided by Toronto's Pearson Airport, featuring the entire array of sweatpants and moose themed t-shirts, and you pack extras where they are within easy reach even if your luggage is on its way to Iowa.

The root cause of the problem was taking this "pop the stack" model too literally and without enough checking. I grabbed two pairs of pants for this week's trip to Israel, neatly folded them among the other biz wear, and zipped up on my way to the Sun remote office in Newark's Liberty Airport (I'm kidding, Mike Lehman).

14 hours later, while unpacking in Herzeliya, Israel, I found that one pair of pants was ready for our evening meeting with a high-ranking Israeli army officer, and one pair belonged to my son. I have never been so neat at meal times and sensitive to dirt, grease and possible clothing impairment as I was on this trip.

Denial-of-pants service attacks avoided, I'm back in NJ, and gearing up for next week's trip. I hope I don't live out the bad dream of finding out it's final exam day and I didn't know I was registered for the class.

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Hal Stern's thoughts on software, services, cloud computing, security, privacy, and data management

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