Dealing with the boredom of traveling

I’ve been traveling quite a lot this year. I always make sure to have enough to keep myself busy while waiting at airports or flying. Last Monday I flew to one of our clients in Eugene, OR, and found interesting what my actions were from living the house until getting to the client.

  • Drive from home to the airport (that’s a 25-minute drive): turned on my MP3 player and listened to Podcast (.NET Rocks).
  • Left the car at the economic parking, and took the shuttle to the airport (about a 15-minute ride, since it had to stop at two terminals before the one I was going to): kept listening to the podcast.
  • Went through security and direct to the boarding gate (another 10 minutes): still listening to the podcast.
  • Waiting at the boarding gate, boarding, and then waiting for the aircraft’s cabin to be closed (about 20 minutes): that was about time for the podcast to finish.
  • After the cabin was closed, all electronic devices must be turned off, so I picked up one of the books I’m currently reading, and read it for about 15 minutes until we were airborne. I’m really enjoying that book, by the way; I’ll have a full blog about it once I’m finished reading.
  • Once airborne, I turned on my laptop, and started working on a building a little "memory game" in VS 2008. I wanted to do this just to practice more TDD, OOD, VS 2008, C# 3.0, and all that fun stuff (plus, whenever I’m done with it, my daughter is going to have a new game to play on the computer).
  • After an hour my laptop’s battery was totally out, and I still had an hour on the plane. I picked up my PocketPC and started watching a movie (I watched 300 again…).
  • Eventually I had to turn off electronic devices when we were preparing for landing, so I put out my PocketPC, and picked up my book again, which I read until we were ready to get off the plane.
  • I had a connection in Salt Lake City, so I walked to the right boarding gate, sat there until the time when boarding started. During this time I was listening to another episode of .NET Rocks. I also took the time to plug my laptop to a power outlet and left it there recharging the battery.
  • Once onboard, I basically followed the same ritual: listen to Podcast until they say you have to turn electronic devices off, then read a book until we’re airborne, then use the computer until the battery runs out, then watch a movie on the PocketPC, then go back to reading book until we’re off the plane, and then listen to podcast on the way from the airport to the client’s office.

Summing up: I did some programming, learned something from reading and from listening to podcasts, and watched a movie. And on top of that, didn’t get too bored while traveling. Not too bad.  🙂

I’m typing this blog entry on the plane, flying back. I followed pretty much the same ritual on the way back, except that I watched a different movie (Stealth, a pretty lame movie, if you ask me). And while my laptop’s battery lasted, I’ve caught up on my emails and read some interesting blog posts.

As for the rest of the week, the whole days are pretty much occupied by working with our clients, and that’s usually pretty fun, since I’m always facing different challenges, so the days fly by.

On the evenings I usually do some work, but I try to watch a movie or two. You know, I need to tune out a little bit to make sure I’m as productive on the next day. For my next trips, I’ll have two new gadgets with me to keep me sane on the evenings:

  • Traveler Speedster Guitar: a great guitar that I can take with me when I’m traveling, since it’s small enough to carry it on the plane, but still big enough to feel like a regular guitar.

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I’m very excited about these two new toys. I hate being away from playing for weeks in a row, but now I’m going to be able to practice even when I’m on the road. I’m even considering taking these toys to the office every day and practice for 30 minutes on my lunch breaks. This will be fun!

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