Taking Your Show On The Road

For many readers, enjoying summer and time off involves some amount of travel. If you take a traditional vacation, this post is not for you. However, the longer you stay away from your home routine the more likely it is you need to accomplish work tasks while on the road. I spent the previous two weeks in Pennsylvania, the first week with little more planned than visiting people and a canoe trip. I managed to keep up the studying momentum; tips follow.

Normally, I use Dropbox to sync files between my home and office computers (neither of which are laptops). Since all of my mathematics and work-related material is synced, it was easy to borrow my wife’s laptop for use on the trip. I find that the more routinely you sync or back up files, the easier it is to be flexible when something out of the ordinary comes up (travelling, loss of data, etc.). If you aren’t currently using such a service, I strongly suggest you check out the options.

The most important aspect of mobilizing is to make plans to keep your routine. Since I’m still in qualifying exam mode, I needed to bring along textbooks. Thankfully, I have many documents in electronic format. This helped in keeping down the weight of my backpack. I’m a freak when it comes to pens, so I have to bring along my own. Unfortunately, many of those I prefer do not survive airplane rides. As far as work location, I know I don’t work well from home. I prefer a library, but coffee shops are often more convenient. When I found the local library smaller than remembered, I headed to the local university for space. I find exercise to be the most important part of my routine. I prefer running, which doesn’t require much specialized equipment. Lots of calisthenics require no equipment and there are many small things which fit in a suit case or back pack: jump rope, resistance bands, workout DVDs, etc.

What tips and techniques do you have for getting things done on the road?


About Derek Smith

Former weather dude and scientific software developer. In the upcoming 2015-16 year I will complete my PhD at UCSB in nonlinear dispersive equations. I enjoy spending time with my two young daughters and running.
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