Packing for AtomaCon

Tomorrow I’m heading to South Carolina for AtomaCon 2019, where I hope to meet, face to face, John and Melissa, publisher and assistant publisher. I’ll also be hanging out with Con and writing friend Tania Burchell, who I met first at HawaiiCon. Tania is a science writer and a radio astronomer.

I notice how I pack and what I pack has changed over the decades. One change is so obvious I tend to overlook it. When I was in my twenties and thirties, most trips were road trips, and packing was a less crucial issue (because I could throw nearly anything into the car and call it good.) However, age, air travel and technology — and maybe experience — have changed what I bring and what I don’t.

In the old days, I think about 75% of what I brought was clothing and toiletries. The remainder was books, notebooks and pens.

Now, especially if I’m flying, the percentages shift pretty dramatically. I’ve gotten closer to figuring out what I need (and don’t need) in the way of clothing, at least for the most part. Clothes are probably no more than 60% of packing now. I try to always have:

  • a sun hat
  • an umbrella
  • water resistant coat/jacket
  • flip-flops

I tend to bring more tops and fewer slacks/trousers now, using the One Pair for Every Two Days rule.

Filling up my luggage now:

  • laptop/jetpack portable modem
  • charger cords
  • medication
  • extra medication
  • spare glasses (SEE: The Continental Rift Ate my Glasses)
  • travel first aid kit
  • phone and phone charger
  • business cards (hardly worth mentioning, but a change)
  • notebooks
  • books
  • a flat rate USPS box when I’m going to a convention, so I can ship back bulky items like books

Yes, even though I bring two devices that allow for writing AND connect to the internet, I still bring notebooks and pens, and I still bring paper books, because that’s just who I am.

My pre-flight check-list contains a few things it didn’t thirty years ago, too. Things like, “Check Ride-Hailing Apps and update credit card data if necessary,” and “Get Passport.” Even though I have the vaunted Real ID, I still bring my passport, because… well, because I’m superstitious or something, I guess. It’s still the primary ID, so I have it if I need it.

Then I check my flight and hotel information six or seven times. Because that’s just how I roll.

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