Digital NomadsFor almost the last year, I’ve been working for a company that is based in Seattle, although I still live in Utah. Telecommuting brings some interesting challenges and opportunities, and one of them is the ability (and necessity) to work wherever I am. Whether I’m in my home office, a restaurant, an airport, or the main office in Seattle, I have to have everything I need with me wherever I am. Such is the life of a Digital Nomad.

As I prepare to head to Seattle tomorrow to spend the week in the office and swing by SMX Advanced, I thought it would be fun to show how I pack for a trip such as this. So in the spirit of the recent “What’s in our Bags” series from Lifehacker.com, here is how I am preparing for the week…

Part 1: The Bag

Laptop Bags

I have been blessed with an abundance of laptop bags, none of which I have paid for. :)

  1. Samsonite Wheeled Briefcase/Overnight bag – No idea what it’s really called, but it’s just a good bag if you are just going somewhere overnight and need a change of clothes and your tech gear. Wheels are nice too.
  2. Ogio Politan – Complete with branding from a former employer! It’s a great laptop backpack with plenty of pockets, and it’s super comfortable.
  3. Generic Dell Backpack – I got this bag with my laptop, and I don’t think I’ve ever used it. It’s ok, but bulky and a bit uncomfortable.
  4. Tumi Messenger Bag – I got this at the Omniture Summit in 2008, and although it is really small it’s an awesome bag. I typically use this one when I am just headed around town, and don’t need much with me.
  5. Tumi Laptop Briefcase – Got this one at the Omniture Summit in 2009 – it’s an awesome briefcase. Really rigid with plenty of padding.

Since I am going for a week, the Overnight bag is a bit much when I already have another suitcase. For this trip, I’m going with the Ogio because it’s really versatile and comfortable, and can carry a lot of stuff.

Part 2: The Gear

I have 3 levels of mobile computing to choose from, depending on where I’m going.

  1. Dell Latitude D630 – Obviously since I am heading into the office for a week, it makes sense to take the laptop that my employer provided. Otherwise, how would I get any work done?
  2. Acer Aspire One – After I won this netbook, I find it’s a great little computer to have for conferences and local events, where I want to take notes and twitter and such, but don’t want the whole weight of the Dell bringing me down. Sounds like it will be perfect for SMX Advanced, but I only have an Expo Pass so I won’t be sitting or taking notes really, just networking. This one stays home.
  3. Verizon HTC Touch Pro – I know, it’s not the iPhone (it’s Windows Mobile). Blah Blah. But I’m on Verizon, and this phone is a workhorse in its own right. Hi-res (640×480) Touch screen, hardware keyboard, 3.2 megapixel camera, 8 GB microSD card, 3G data plan, etc. I use it for everything, even to get my computer online when I don’t have a WiFi network available. It goes where I go. And since I hacked it a little bit to unlock the GPS (suck on THAT Verizon) it tells me where to go too.

Part 3: The Accessories

  1. Logitech VX Nano Mouse  – An amazing mouse. See the little USB thing to the top right? That’s the receiver. And it comes with a carrying pouch. A must-have. I also take a mouse pad (not pictured).
  2. Accessories for the phone – a hard metal case (I like to keep the phone safe) and a USB charger.
  3. USB Accessories – I don’t like to have a ton of cables, so I have a Philips USB Retractable Extension Cable, 2 3-inch usb extensions, a few adapters for the aforementioned so I can use them on any type of device, and a 4-port USB hub.
  4. An external USB harddrive – for media items, backup, personal stuff, etc.
  5. Phone stuff – Plantronics MX500i headset with USB converter (remember – my cell is my only phone on the road – having the VOIP option is NICE. Noise reduction in the mic is nice too). Also a ghetto Motorola Bluetooth I don’t use much.
  6. A network cable and a coupler (to connect multiple cables together). Nice to have whenever I go to a new hotel and the only free internet is wired. Although it’s often faster just to go through the phone.
  7. Memory – a thumbdrive sized SD Card reader, microSD and miniSD to SD adapter cards, and a few thumbdrives.
  8. The Audio stuff – a 4GB iPod nano & cables, a pair of Sony headphones (that are more comfortable and sound better than the iPod ones), a headphone splitter & the adapter that Delta uses for headphones (so I don’t have to buy one every time).
  9. The Power Stuff – a 3 outlet extension cable, a 2-prong to 3-prong adapter, a 2-prong to 3 3-prong adapter and some extra batteries. At a conference, I’m a handy guy to have around, because there are never enough power outlets.
  10. An antihistamine and decongestants. I have seasonal allergies. You never know when you land if you are going to be a horrible mess. :)
  11. Notebook and pen, just in case. Rarely gets used, but it’s there.
  12. Business card case & sunglasses – two things I always forget, so I keep them in the bag.

So that’s pretty much it. A lot of stuff crammed into little bags and pockets and things. There are more items that are not shown, for different types of trips (AC Inverter for the car, GPS for the laptop, other random things) but this is the gear for a week-long trip to Seattle, with networking and conference-going mixed in. So how do you prepare for working away from the cubicle? Leave a comment, or make your own post & link to it.

Oh! If you are going to be at SMX, let’s connect! Methods on the top-right corner of the blog. :)

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