I’m sitting in a hotel room 200 miles from home. I got back from the hotel restaurant a couple of hours ago, and all I have done since is obsess over the things I will be presenting to a room full of strangers in the morning – satisfying in my own mind that everything will work, and that I will not experience any “surprises”.
When I arrived in the hotel room earlier this evening I smiled – it’s absolutely identical to the hotel I stayed in last week. If not for looking out of the window, I could be in any of a number of cities. I get it – I get why chain hotels are built identically, but it is a little weird when the rooms are absolutely identical – even down to the mass-produced paintings on the walls.
Just in case you were wondering what I tend to carry in my bag when I travel, wonder no more (I’m not searching for activities to fill my evening with, honest):
- Change of Clothes – trousers, shirt, socks, and underwear for tomorrow. I’m hoping the clothes I am wearing will take up no more room in my backpack, otherwise I’ll be carrying them home in a bag from the sandwich shop across the plaza.
- Work Laptop, and Charger – I’m using it now, connected to the hotel WiFi, and it will get used tomorrow to run a demonstration. I forgot to bring the external hard drive, but don’t think I’ll need it.
- Filofax – it doubles as a paper calendar, notebook, and something to doodle in while waiting for boring presentations or lectures to finish. It also causes people to double-take and smile when they realise what it is.
- Amazon Fire Tablet – it folds flat, and doubles up as both a book, and a movie player. I have a few books, a couple of seasons of Community (best comedy ever), and a season of Comic Book Men (most nerdy fly-on-the-wall TV show ever) on it.
- Wash Kit – In order to fit everything into one backpack this time, I only have half the wash-kit; toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and hair brush. The showers in this hotel chain always have gel, and I had a shave before leaving at lunchtime so should be able to get away with tomorrow at least (I’ll look like a caveman on the way home).
- Work Phone, Battery, and Charger – although I rarely use it as a phone (because my personal phone is actually better), I have the standard issue work phone in the pocket of my work bag. If nothing else, it’s great as a 4G hotspot instead of asking clients for their guest WiFi credentials.
And that’s really it! Not much stuff. I suppose I also have my wallet and keys with me, but they live in my pockets – not in the backpack. I always have to fight the urge to pack lots of things I will never use – like a paper notebook, a pencil case, an old Nintendo DS, and so on. You would think having travelled so often over the last few years I would learn lessons, but no – if I have room, I pick all the miscellaneous stuff up too.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go drink another cup of tea – using the second of the three tea-bags left next to the kettle in the room. I’ll use the final one in the morning, and feel particularly smug about it. Who wants to bet I’ll now tear the teabag by accident, and listen for the universe laughing at me?