Sunday, December 19, 2010

Trip planning, now more organized

In an effort to get myself to actually do some things, I've set up Pivotal Tracker and Workflowy.  The first is a project-managey software, the second is a big outline on the internet.  I think Tracker is made for software, so I'm not sure how well it will work for this.  I like Workflowy, though; it's pretty minimalist.  Just a huge collapsible/expandable outline.  Tree-structured thoughts.  Well, time will tell how well they both turn out.

At any rate, I've started actually doing more, which at this point still consists of "looking things up."  things I've learned include:
- you can get a 6-month India visa for something like $70 or a 5- or 10-year one for $150.  (who would get the 5-year?  I guess I'll find out more things when I apply.)
- apparently, you can go from India to Pakistan, and even at the Wagah border near Amritsar (and therefore near the Wagah Border Ceremony).  However, this is kind of too bad.  (I mean, bad that they were hurting themselves in the first place, not bad that they're stopping this amusing-but-painful exercise.)

EDIT, 8 months later: Workflowy has been great. I recommend it for everything. Pivotal Tracker was indeed too heavyweight, and they started charging, so I dropped that.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The weight of packs, the importance of shoes.

When I was taking a shower at the Googleplex in Mountain View (seriously, you could live there), I noticed a scale.  And I had my bag, which contained a fleecey sweatshirt, a full change of clothes except pants, a toothbrush and stuff, my work laptop (macbook pro) and cord, and a book.  Maybe a bottle of water too.

Weight: 14 lbs.

Comfort: middling.  It's a messenger bag.  I think messenger bags in general are just worse than backpacks.  They slide around you.  And they are either too loose and hit your legs while you walk, or they're too tight and it's a chore to get it over your head.  Plus, this one is not super easy to buckle/unbuckle.

Computer: strike one.  At 5.6 lbs, plus the transformer, that's a big fraction of the bag's weight.  And you can feel it too.  Granted, when I travel around the world, I'd have a much smaller laptop, but still, it's heavy!  I guess the question is, do I think I'll actually want to program anything while I travel?  I'm leaning towards no, which would mean I could cut the bag down to about 8 lbs.  That's exciting.  At that point (and if it's actually a backpack instead of a messenger bag), I almost wouldn't even notice carrying it.

Shoes: my beat-up clogs are not doing it for me.  I ended up walking about two miles a day for various reasons, and my feet hurt for a couple days after.  My light-hiking shoes would have worked well; plus, they're waterproof.  However, having worn them in India, they're clunky, hot, and awkward in hot places.  (and ugly.)  I guess the ideal is shoes and sandals, but the #1 rule of packing light is not to bring 2 pairs of shoes.  Hmm.  I guess the sandals don't take up that much space, and I could always just wear the shoes while I travel... this is still not sounding awesome.  Hmm hmm hmm.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bon soir, de la Mision

The first rule of business trips: plan them how you like, do what you want, and don't take no guff from nobody. Instead of a soulless box in a Marriolidilton in Mountain View, I'm sitting in a super deluxe B&B with nice owners in the Mission District in San Francisco.  For less money!  It is too bad that all of Silicon Valley is so so so far from San Francisco; otherwise, I might actually live here.

And I'm on my own, which means this is the slightest taste of Big Trip 2011-2012.  And as I walked around said neighborhood tonight, I realized that this is going to be The Biggest culture shock.  And life shock.  I mean, I was feeling kind of out of place and intimidated in my own country.  In a very similar city to my own, where we all speak the same language and have the same cultural norms.  Good grief.

At the very least, I will have to come out of this trip with more ability to handle myself when I am a fish out of water.  (otherwise, I will implode.)  That's... actually, really exciting!