With all of the business travel I’ve been doing lately, I think my sense of time and place is starting to get warped. I’m currently sitting in the FDIC‘s student lodging facility in Arlington, VA…well, calling it ‘student lodging’ is understating it – this place is a full service hotel, and the room I’ve been assigned is both larger and nicer than the one I got when I stayed at the New York Hilton last September. (Also, I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that it’s less expensive – I don’t know for sure, since my client is paying for the room.)

This is my third business trip this month:

  • Back at the beginning of February, I was in New Orleans for a couple of days for an application review committee meeting.
  • Two weeks ago, I had a cup of coffee in Burbank, meeting with a client.
  • And this weekend, it’s Arlington, for yet another committee meeting.

And inbetween trips, we’ve had committee meetings on-site at ETS. It wouldn’t be inaccurate to say I’ve had a busy month.

On the train ride down to DC earlier today, I realized two things: 1) I forgot the cables for our committee laser printer, and 2) SXSWi starts in one week. Yikes. Has the year passed that quickly? (Yes. Yes it has.)

Upon that second realization, I started formulating a list of everything I need to do to be ready for next week. That list includes (in no particular order):

  • Visit the dentist. (This isn’t so much for SXSW – the timing is coincidental. But at least I’ll have clean teeth!)
  • Go to the supermarket and replenish the supplies in my travel kit (shampoo, hair gel, shaving cream, etc.)
  • Do laundry. If feels like I’m forever doing laundry, but the truth is that I always try to do the laundry before I travel so I don’t come home to a full hamper. (Or, at least, pre-existing dirty clothes, since I’ll be dragging a week’s worth of dirty clothes back from Austin.)
  • Possibly get a haircut. To the best of my recollection, it wasn’t too long since my last haircut, but I feel like my hair is too long. Also, I prefer short hair when I’m warm weather, and last year it was 90 degrees+ for most of SXSWi.
  • Re-confirm my itinerary with Continental. I booked my tickets back at the beginning of October, in part because that’s when I booked my hotel in order to get a room at the Hilton, and in part because I wanted to get everything in before my boss changed his mind. But in the intervening months, Continental’s schedule has changed a couple of times, and I nearly got bounced to a return flight four hours later than the one I booked. So I want to make sure everything is in order before I fly.
  • Try to get a few nights of decent sleep before traveling. This seems like a no-brainer, but truthfully, I haven’t been sleeping all that well lately. And as I think I’ve mentioned in this space on a prior occasion, I don’t generally sleep well the night before a trip. Add into that equation the hours we keep at SXSW, and…well, I need to get some decent REM sleep this week, or I’m boned.
  • Try to tie up all loose ends at work. Again, seems like a no-brainer, but those loose ends include an application review committee arriving at ETS the day after I return from SXSW, meaning everything has to be done before I leave. Truthfully, my real goal for the week is to not stay in the office much past 5:30pm (unlike this week, when my average departure time was 7:30pm).
  • Maybe buy the FastMac 62wh battery for my MacBook Pro. Not so much for the ‘extended’ nature of it, since the two extra watt-hours only buys a 5% improvement over the stock battery (although any extension is nice), but more for the ability to not have to plug in during and between panels at the Austin Convention Center. (On a related note, I should also look for a small power strip. Because the fastest way to make friends at SXSW is to have a power strip.)
  • Make a run to Frank’s Big & Tall for a couple of new shirts. Also, maybe some comfortable walking shoes.
  • Work with Bryan to try and make the Friday late-night karaoke thing happen.
  • Maybe find a new book to read on the plane. I’ve been enjoying An Empire of their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood, but it’s not exactly upbeat. I’m thinking maybe a nice, frothy mystery.

I think that’s about it. For now. I’m sure I’ll think of other things before I get back to NJ on Sunday.

Don’t confuse pragmatism with pessimism – I can’t wait to see everyone again. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – SXSW feels like home to me, in much the same way that Stagedoor felt like home to me. I’ve just got a few things to do before I get on the plane and leave real life behind.

[Oh, and in case you’re curious…I had the cables shipped to me, so I should have them in the morning. Because I know how y’all crave the closure.]