Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Changing out my travel kit

IMG_20160126_105949I haven’t been to the Netherlands in a few weeks: I arrived at New Years, but only skipped through Schiphol in a couple of hours, missing a brief trip home.  This would be a bit longer visit, and a break from setting up the QMS paperwork back in the UK.

Since I have all of my clothes and things waiting in Maastricht, I’m able to travel light, even by Ryanair standards.  A carry-on suitcase with a few essentials and room for my shoulder bag and computer.  I always existed carrying bags onto the plane, but was gifted a small hard-side case a few years back that has worked well for me on trips like this.

Well, until this trip, anyway.

DSC08636The handle fell apart when I extended it to deplane, and I ended up breaking off the handle just to exit.  ‘Headed to Amsterdam for meetings with the accountant, then on the train down to Maastricht, it wouldn’t last long.

I dropped into de Bijenkorf, the major Dutch department store, to see what might be done.  The luggage  section sprawls across a quarter of the floor, so I snag a young, hip salesperson who looks like who I want to be.

It has to fit the carry-on rules.  It needs to be durable and light.  It needs to fit my budget.

He suggested something hard-sided and on-special, the store brand.  Not my style.

One step up.  Soft-sided.  Not Samsonite.

Better alternatives: collections of straps, buckles, and expandable zippers that suggested versatility and exploration-chic.

Executive-style, guarantee…

Price went towards 500 euros, now it was leather hard-shell.  Too much.

IMG_20160421_202503I selected a nice soft-side for around 100 euros.  They fellow was willing to dispose of the old case, and I ,move everything to the new.  40 minutes, in and out, back on the road.

Is Road-Warrior still a phrase?


DSC07376_thumb[2]I’m making one more change, this one more subtle.  For years, I’ve traveled with an MP3 player, loaded with podcasts  that I collect with gPodder.

The problem is that the system is labor intensive and inflexible.  selecting and transferring a selection of  what I do.

If new podcasts arrive, i can’t really sample them easily.

I have a lot of dross taking up space that i should listen to, but don’t.

Realistically, I have a lot of bandwidth, and should treat this more like radio than records.  I should be streaming from a catalogue, rather than archiving and curating.

So, I’ve transferred my subscription to Stitcher, and am experimenting with playlists, shuffles, and accelerated playback.

I like the flexibility, but can’t find all of my usual shows, cant alphabetize within a playlist, and  an;t play a single show.  Stitcher says that these are ‘features’, not issues, when I write support to ask.

Still, I’m liking the alternative, as long as I download before I board the plane and watch my roaming mobile data usage.

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