academic travel diary: the airport

The sign at security says “Take your laptop out of its case”. So there’s my little mini-mac sitting neatly in the big plastic tray.

Yes, it’s small isn’t it, and it really doesn’t weigh much at all.

But there’s not just the mini-mac. There’s also an ipad. I have the ipad because although it does mostly the same things as the mini-mac it is much better for reading – but much, much worse for writing. So I need both right?

Oh yes, here’s the blackberry. Well I need it because it means I’m never anywhere without being connected. You have no idea how much email I get every day and I have to deal with it all at the time or I’ll never catch up.

Aah. Well this is a kindle and I’ve got my fiction on that. And that’s an ipod for music so I can read without getting interrupted by other people’s conversations.

You have to search my bag? What’s this? Well that’s storage. Yes I know it’s kind of odd to have six memory sticks and an external hard drive as well, but I use them for different things… well that’s just how it is.

This? That’s a flip video in case I see anything interesting and this is an MP3 in case I need to do an interview…

Yes I know I could probably just have one thing which does the lot but I’ve got them all as separate anyway. You just have to understand that these are all essential and that they are all bits of my brain. I can’t do without any of them. In fact thinking that any of them might not work or that I might have to choose between them sends me into a panic.

I did leave the drive with the films on at home.

What’s at the bottom of my bag? Well that’s all the chargers and plugs. I really do need all of them. Every one. I couldn’t get by without them.

Yes. I’m an academic. How did you guess?

I’ll just be a little while here at the end repacking.

About pat thomson

Pat Thomson is Professor of Education in the School of Education, The University of Nottingham, UK
This entry was posted in equipment, excess, travel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to academic travel diary: the airport

  1. Jane McGregor says:

    Hee hee xx


  2. ailsahaxell says:

    next post i see coming: judging airports by their compatibility with chargers, free wifi, and what ‘free wifi’ actually means in practice.


  3. You sound like my husband! As an academic, his excuse for the iPad, the
    Mac air, the iPhone 4 are hilarious. Me: as an emerging academic I’ve finally made away with all but my MacBook pro and my iPhone. Realised the phone has functions that have replaced my 1/ voice recorder, 2/ video camera. Haven’t gone the route of the kindle just yet though. A whole new disaster!


  4. Fiona T says:

    LOL…I can’t help but think I may be like this when I travel later in the year. I am hooping having evernote on my phone and laptop means that (the the 2 required chargers) are all I’ll need to carry. I blogged about how much time and stress this free program saves me and I think now it might save lots of space in my luggage too. Thanks for the post Pat, very vivid imagery!


  5. patsydavies says:

    It’s not just information overload, it’s also technology overload (or perhaps overweight!)


  6. Pingback: When it’s good to be retro… « Strange Alliances

  7. M-H says:

    I absolutely agree with you about the Kindle. It’s for reading fiction! And not serious fiction either; not sure why but if it’s serious ‘literary’ fiction I still like paper (and my 12-yr-old grandaughter agrees with me!). As for chargers, my partner found a brilliant one in Singapore airport. It’s tiny, a usb with four different chargers on it – USB, mini-USB, iphone and the micro-USB (that the kindle uses). You can plug it into your computer if it’s connected to power, or to those Mac wall plugs with the USB in the back. Google ‘retractable USB connector’; they seem to have multiple versions of the same kind of thing.


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