Be ready/stay packed

I have traveled far and wide for most of my life. When I was a child, my parents and I went on numerous cross country vacations, with the 2 to 3 week road trip we took every summer being the highlight of my year. In between, we regularly traveled in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, to visit family and friends, as well as to go sightseeing. Since 1989, I have traveled for business reasons on a frequent basis. I have worked as a jury/trial consultant from Alaska to the U.S. Virgin Islands and many, many places in between these distant locales. I learned, soon after beginning my itinerant career/lifestyle, that my time is too valuable to waste it by packing essential items, one by one, for every trip. Instead, I have two of everything required to get me prepared for the day, including toothbrush, toothpaste, hair dryer, shampoo, alarm clock, hair brush, makeup kit, etc., etc. It is impossible to forget any of these items because they remain packed, ready to go, at all times. It costs a little more to have two sets of every personal item, but the time savings is worth the cost, in my opinion. Not to mention the fact that, unlike many of my travel companions over the years, I rarely have to go shopping in the city where I am working because I forgot something. In addition, I usually replenish items, as necessary, upon my return from a business trip or vacation, instead of when I am in a hurry to depart on the next trip, so that, for example, when duty calls in the form of a last minute jury selection in a faraway city, I can be ready to leave sooner, rather than later. I don’t maintain a list of things to pack; I’ve “been there and done that” too many times not to know to bring my shampoo! Like most things in my life, I take a proactive approach to my traveling lifestyle, so that, when the time comes for me to drive or fly to my next destination, I am ready to go, with the exception of packing the clothes I will be wearing while I am there. Let’s go!

Ready, set go. A great motto for road warriors or even beginning ones. Travel, for business or pleasure, is stressful enough even when using tried and true techniques to reduce the stress, such as being ready to go at all times. I’m not talking about those who have a bag with them in a car at all times to go save the world – you know, like the team on TV’s NCIS. But, anyone for whom travel is a regular part of life should be ready. As a teen, I had some wonderful neighbors whom I’ve mentioned before. The wife once said she stayed packed because when Freddy called on a Friday and said “let’s get out of town,” she wanted to be ready. For me, and Melissa, the fundamental issue is the toiletry bag. The clothes in the suitcase will vary by destination, weather, and trip duration. But, even for that, maintaining a packing list may simplify packing. For our work related equipment, a packing checklist is critical. In addition, replenishing supplies, personal or business, upon return from each trip, makes getting ready for the next one easier with fewer forgotten items. Many of our work items are not easily available at the corner Walgreens. Thus, ensuring that we’re replenished the gaffer’s tape supply, etc. ensures we don’t find out we have no extra tape rolls the day before a trip. Staying ready to go is one of those things that make the difficulties of travel a little easier.

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