I'm attending KubeCon + CloudNativeCon this week, and while the conference itself has been excellent, I have discovered that I have completely forgotten how to be a competent packer. Silly me, I spent a ton of timing making sure I was packed appropriately for the weather, but forgot to consider some of my other needs. Turns out I didn't actually need to bring any t-shirts, socks, or water bottles anyway (the vendors in the showroom practically throw them at you... seriously, I'm actually coming home with more new clothes than old ones... thank the gods I have an expandable suitcase).
I've never had a whole lot of trouble sleeping, but then again, I've never tried to sleep in a room right next to the elevator in a hotel that hundreds of other conference-goers were also staying at.
Seriously. This place is super loud.
I wish I had brought some ear plugs... and maybe a bluetooth speaker or white noise generator. Hell, while I'm wishing for things, a sleep mask would have been smart to bring too. Apparently when the environment is too noisy, it doesn't take much light to keep you awake too.
Next time, pack like an insomniac.
A Backup Battery
This was a super rookie move, I know.
I don't know what the hell I was thinking when I was packing my bag, but I somehow forgot to throw in a backup battery pack for my phone. Sure, there are charging stations all around, but they're not always available, and my phone takes forever to charge, so they're kind of a nonstarter.
What made this a particularly situation is that everything is either NFC or QR code powered these days. That's a lot of scanning and tapping, which does a number on my phone's battery life. Add on to that the photos and voice notes I took during the talks themselves and I'm lucky if I can make it to the end of the day.
Extra battery power = freedom.
I think I've started to take for granted the abundance of hand sanitizing stations in my little corner of the world, because while KubeCon had some, there wasn't nearly as many as I had expected given the number of attendees.
For a while during the earlier stages of pandemic, I always had one of those little hand sanitizer bottles attached to my bag or in my pocket, but I haven't really needed to carry one of those in a while... so I didn't pack one.
But, I neglected to take into account how many hands I'd be shaking and handrails and doors I'd be touching. Just... gross.
Not... like... illegal drugs or anything. Just the "my back hurts from carrying this bag," "I'm eating a whole lot of junk food," and "there are a lot of people breathing around me" kind of drugs. Pain killers, vitamins... I really should have at least tossed some Pepto in the bag or something.
Know what's hard to do without business cards? Networking.
Know what you do a lot of as a freelance technical writer at a technical conference? Networking.
To be honest, I haven't had business cards in... almost ever... but it's difficult to develop credibility in a five-minute conversation without even a single shred of leave-behinds. While I did my best with all of the fascinating companies I engaged with, I definitely made things harder on myself than they needed to be.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
I seriously waffled over bringing my noise cancelling headphones when I was packing, but ultimately decided against it because of how much room they took up in my backpack.
I forgot to take into account how loud airports, airplanes, and large groups of people can be. Collecting my thoughts and writing is tough amongst the cacophony of noise that is "the rest of the world," and my tiny little earbuds have not been up to the task to drowning it out.
An HDMI Cable
At some point in the last few years, it seems that hotels have largely decided to do away with their in-room entertainment options in lieu of underpowered streaming devices. Now, I don't mind logging into my own Netflix account (note to self: don't forget to log out before checking out), but what I do mind is just how poorly these devices are made.
Every operation takes tens of seconds to register, which is incredibly irritating, and makes the whole act of finding something to watch while I unwind an exercise in futility. While some people bring Roku sticks or Chromecasts with them on vacation, the idea of having to set up the hotel wifi on one of those things sounds painful (at best), but an HDMI cable and my laptop would serve that job quite nicely.
Add on a portable hard drive and a copy of my Plex library and I wouldn't even need the internet.
Missed opportunities, but lessons learned.
This is post 018 of #100DaysToOffload