on Packing

November 4, 2012

So here we go, another round the world, in this case in 16 days.  The worse of times as well as its two weeks in Singapore followed by a weekend in Aukland and then two days in Calgary so I've had ot pack for three climates.  That with regret means checking something in, which in turn means a relaxation of packing discipline!

There is nothing like having to get everything into two bags of specific dimensions to make sure you only take the essentials.   OK planning helps, but not planning for a trip, but planning for resilience for many different trips.  That is an important distinction for many things not just packing!  It means no trip is optimal, but overall I have the ability to pack quickly, rarely leaving anything critical behind.  

So its all about modularity and critically ritual.  I have some basics that help here:

  • All possible USB cables that I might need and a memory stick are permanently kept in a small black case in a top drawer
  • That drawer also contains parallel items for anything electrical in terms of adapters, plugs etc which can be immediately packed into two small packing bags one for the plane and the other
  • A full toilet bag, always checked and restocked on return
  • A travel case containing Passport, visas, certificates and loyalty cards
  • Next to the drawer is a pile of “books to be read on the next trip” from which I pick one for each week
  • The kindle speaks for itself and make a lot of things possible
  • Calculate the maximum number of days between guest laundry, the number of formal days, the number of informal days and (if necessary) the number of formal days where the airline might just loose your luggage so you can turn up in casual gear.  The resultant algorithm should be clear
  • Bose headphones are an essential, but also a small portable set for bus journeys etc.
  • An audio cable for the iPhone in case I hire a car and need a audio book

All in the same places, all maintained on each return.  I then have several different bags which combine in different ways.  Worst case scenario I can pack for 9 weeks in 15 minutes.  I know I did it last year!

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The Cynefin Company (formerly known as Cognitive Edge) was founded in 2005 by Dave Snowden. We believe in praxis and focus on building methods, tools and capability that apply the wisdom from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. We are the world leader in developing management approaches (in society, government and industry) that empower organisations to absorb uncertainty, detect weak signals to enable sense-making in complex systems, act on the rich data, create resilience and, ultimately, thrive in a complex world.

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