Almost as soon as I started planning our trip around the world, my pleasant day-dreams were disrupted by a recurring image: It was a vision of me lugging my laptop for weeks on end like some sort of modern-day Sisyphus.
I’m a writer, a consultant, and the sole proprietor of Veritrope.com… and I didn’t want to have to stop my work just because I was traveling for an extended period of time. In fact, being able to work while away was a key part of my travel plans — you know… the part of the plan that helped me pay for the trip.
So, I had basically resigned myself to carrying a laptop when *it* was announced.
The Apple iPad Tablet was the answer I had been looking for — and I had one in my hands the day it was released. Add in the proper accessories, and now I could write, email, help clients, run my website, and book my tickets and accommodations on the fly — without adding extra weight and baggage that I would have to carry for weeks on end.
Here how I imagined that it would work: At only 1.5 pounds and half-an-inch thick, the iPad would let me stay connected without my having to cart around a bunch of bulky gear. I could slip it into a small bag — the pocket of a jacket if I were so inclined — and use it on the longest of flights with a 10 hour battery life. The iPad Camera Connection Kit would let me upload my JPG or RAW pictures and hi-def MJPEG videos to the iPad and use it as a sort of combination photo wallet, digital picture frame, and web uploader.
For longer writing sessions, I could pair the iPad with a compact and lightweight Apple Wireless Keyboard (which conveniently fit into the pocket of my Cocoon GRID-IT Organizer). Add an Airport Express into the kit for hotels with traditional ethernet connections and a World Travel Adapter Kit and you’ve got yourself one lightweight, powerful setup!
I thought I had it all figured out. Laptop — I’ll see you when I get back, sucka!!!
You may have surmised by that somewhat plodding build-up that there is going to be an “Oh No! I was totally wrong… I can’t leave my laptop after all!” moment at this point in our story.
And you’d be right. So, to spare you the suspense: I ended up taking my Macbook on this trip.
But what may surprise you is that I also took the iPad. Here’s why I think that, at least for me, I made the right decision….
This Sounds Like I Made It Up For A Blog Post… But I Didn’t
I knew I couldn’t solely rely on an iPad when I actually woke up in the middle of the night with a sick feeling in my stomach and a strong premonition that all of my projects would totally fall apart if I left the laptop at home.
On the “Nerd Scale”, waking up to an iPad nightmare is probably less embarrassing to admit than some sort of “I was walking naked through the Akihabara Electronics District in Tokyo“ dream — but it’s close…
Whatever the cause, all I know is that I about five days before leaving the country, some sort of circuit breaker went off in my head — and I knew that carrying the extra weight of the MacBook was worth my piece of mind.
That’s not to say that the “iPad Travel Plan” wouldn’t be fantastic for many other people. It would.
But every traveler is different… as is every trip. Some people can go weeks without checking email or using the internet. Other people can’t. As someone who is going to be on the road for an indefinite length of time and who makes his living online, I would fall into the latter camp. The computer is my office, my travel agent, my guide-book, and my connection to family and friends back home. If my setup doesn’t work well, it has an impact in any number of areas of my particular trip. Not a big deal if you’re gone for a few days… maybe even a few weeks.
But what about a few months?