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Traveling Light – Surviving VMworld by Eliminating Excess August 19, 2013

Posted by audiomatron in Uncategorized.

Now that I’m done exploring what kept me from blogging, on to the helpful stuff!

This year, I will be attending my 3rd VMWorld conference. It will be my second time attending in San Francisco (the last time I attended was VMWorld

2011 in Las Vegas). My expierences with the last two conferences I attended have given me some things to think about regarding travel and preparation
for the trip. As always, what follows is what works for me, but hopefully it will be helpful to others as well.

I’ve recently been bitten by a bug, metaphorically. I get bitten by lots of bugs – the “clothing nerd” bug, which bit be very badly last year, the “I
want a new computer bug”, the “alternative OS” bug, etc. We’ll call this latest bug the “minimalist” bug. I have developed a very strong desire to
attempt to live with less, and to see how far I can push it. As I think about the more miserable points of traveling, both to VMworld and to other
places a few things come to mind – luggage, my feet, and swag. My issues with all of these things stem from being inadequately prepared, which
in most cases actually means having an excess of some sort. Let’s explore these three pain points:


I recall at the first VMWorld I attended, I had to leave a day earlier than I anticipated. My datacenter wasn’t virtualized yet at that time. Prior to
leaving home, one of my fileserver/DC/general purpose servers died. I migrated all of these roles to other physical boxes temporarily, with the idea
that when I returned, I would move all of these roles to brand new VMs. Well, my temporary solution decided to act wonky on me while I was gone. I
scrambled to get an early flight home, lugging my massive bags with me on the BART train to the airport, all the while attempting to talk to users on
my cell phone.

There is nothing more miserable than lugging a bunch of heavy bags through airports, trains, hotel lobbies, and conference floors. Even a small
backpack with a laptop and a tablet become a monkey on the back of a person who has to wear it all day. This forces me to step back and take a look at
what is really essential – something I’m attempting to do in all areas of my life, but for now, we’ll focus on how this relates to VMWorld.

This isn’t a fashion show. It is an IT conference. NO one is paying attention to my clothes. I don’t need to bring many – not even enough to have a
different outfit every day. What clothes I do bring should be simple, classic, versatile, comfortable, and durable.

As far as gadgets go, what do I really need? Do I need my iPad with its heavy otter box AND my laptop? If I have to do some serious work what will I
turn to – the iPad or the MacBook Air? Of course, it goes without saying that I’ll need my phone.

My goal here is to only bring one backpack containing everything I will need. I will only bring two outfits – one worn on the plane, and one in my bag.
Below is a list of what I’m considering bringing. Each item is chosen for its versatility, simplicity, and durability.

-Blue Land’s End Oxford Cloth Button Down Shirt
-Striped Seersucker Brooks Brother’s Shirt
-L.L. Bean 1912 Khakis
-Levi’s 505 Dark Blue Jeans
-Patagonia Light Jacket (it gets cool at night in SF)
-Sperry Topsider Billfish boat shoes
-Thick Socks (casual and running)
-Running Shoes (can’t decide on my Brooks or Hokas)
-One running outfit
-Macbook Air

All of this will fit in a small backpack and should be light. Only the MacBook will go with me to the conference during the day. I’ll buy some disposable razors and toothpaste when I get to SF.


The number one thing that has caused me discomfort on any trip where I have to walk a great deal is my feet. This is in large part due to the fact that
I have been overweight for some time, but also because for a great many years, I have worn the wrong size shoes. I was under the impression that I wore
a 10 Wide, when as it turns out, I wear an 11 medium or even narrow. Reading #menswear blogs for a solid year prompted me to find out what size I
really am. Having the right shoe size helps tremendously because wearing a wide when I didn’t have wide feet caused my shoes to slip around a great
deal on my feet resulting in blisters. Thus, by the end of the conference, I could hardly walk.

To address the weight issue: About 5 months ago I became a vegetarian, and decided to develop a running habit. I’m still a bit overweight, but in much
better shape than I’ve been in for years. You have no idea how being used to running helps when you have to walk a long way, and you WILL walk a long
way at VMWorld.

Apart from fitness and shoe size, I WILL be switching to running shoes the second I detect foot discomfort. Screw how it looks. Nothing ruins a good VMWorld like foot pain.


What? Free? I’ll take two of them! What is it? (to quote a sitcom whose name eludes me presently). Seriously, how many free T-Shirts do you need?
They’re heavy, and take up valuable luggage space. It’s always a logistical nightmare to determine how to get all of this stuff home. Then once home,
where do I put it all? I’ll probably keep the “VMWorld” shirt as a memento of the event, but I’ll let someone else be a walking billboard for the other
vendors this year. Bottom line – take only the stuff you’ll use or wear.


That’s really about it. Travel light, wear comfortable, proper fitting shoes, and Don’t bulk up on swag. Oh yeah, by all means, party, but not too
hard. We’re here to learn. Anyway, how about you? What tips do you have to share for making VMworld a more pleasurable experience?

My inspiration for traveling light comes from here. This site has several good articles about traveling light and minimalism. This is the most recent.




1. too old to sing - June 25, 2015

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