Excess Baggage

Apr 3, 2013 · 578 words · 3 minute read

I’m hunched over and my reaching under the edge of the bed to get to my tablet. The USB cable is short and the only free plug socket was under here, behind dusty suitcases and rolls of blankets, allowing me to eak out the last few minutes of power and WiFi before I have to leave.

Pocket is well stocked with interesting looking articles, my RSS reader is up-to-date and the latest podcasts are all downloaded to my phone. I’ve also got four unwatched films and a good book saved.

I’m desperately trying to re-create a mini internet, one that fits in my bag and will sate my need for entertainment while I’m beyond the reach of the internet’s invisible data tentacles.

I don’t know why I’m so worried that I might be temporarily bored, even for a second. When I’m travelling I spend most of my time just watching the world go by, looking at new sights and all the other people who are travelling. My mind gives them all stories and tries to guess where they’re going. It’s called enjoying the journey.

My journey is only meant to be short, seven hours door-to-door, but I’d need more than a day to get through everything that I’ve downloaded. I’m paranoid that I’ll be delayed and find myself with nothing to do, which might let my mind spend some time thinking.

To save myself from the possibility of this cruel fate I’m creating a portable mountain of content-debt to lug with me, to weigh on my mind rather than my shoulders. At this rate I’m going to have to spend every second of my journey reading or listening to something to make even a dent. No listening to announcements, podcast to hear; no glancing at newspaper headlines in different languages, books to read; no looking out of windows, films to see. My own little travelling bubble of self-curated content means it doesn’t even matter where I’m going, I’d have the same experience sat on my sofa.

I need to arrange another journey just to get through all this. It would help if I was less of a completest, but it all looks so interesting; full of deep thoughts, trivia, cod-philosophy, drama and a thousand useless details I’ll never need to know.

The best thing that could happen is all my batteries instantly drain as I leave the house and I’ll be left to do what I was going to do anyway, but without the guilt that I’m avoiding my self-inflicted homework. But not my phone, please no, not the podcasts.

To make matters worse I’m not even reading, watching or listening to any of what I’ve got packed now, instead I’m typing this, putting me further behind on my self-inflicted homework.

Do I really need to read complaints about streaming music ? the dangers of deep sea diving ? or even about the nature of refrigerated logistics ?

No, but it’s all so fascinating.

I need to be much more selective. I shouldn’t reduce my reading only to information that will be practically useful to me, what a dull life that would be, but I do need to make sure I have time to digest and enjoy what I’m reading, not just racing on to tick the next item off the to-do list. Otherwise what’s the point?

(But please do read the one about chilled supply chains , you’ll never think about orange juice the same way again.)