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Prepare For The Trip You Don’t Want To Take

August 12, 2014

So, is there much travel involved in this job?

Oh, probably not. What would you say, John? Maybe 5%.

Yeah, 5% tops.

It’s a good thing I like my job, because they totally lied about the travel thing. I’m getting ready for my fourth trip in four months. And I have my fifth, sixth and seventh trips already booked.

I used to travel a lot. When I worked for Microsoft I went to some really exciting places, Dubai, Greece, Colombia. Adopting we’ve been to Haiti, China, India and another trip to Colombia.

I’m pretty good at packing. It’s a good thing too, since I do everything via carry ons. That $25-$50 checked bag fee is crazy. Being a carry on road warrior, I have to be very careful about what I pack. Too little and I end up running out of clothes. Too much and I can’t fit it into the overhead compartment.

I got to thinking about other trips I’ve made. Last month I went camping with my son and his scout troop to Southern Utah. Here’s what I looked like.


Camping and hiking for me is all about comfort. The pants and shirt are that space age, quick dry material. I normally wear hiking books, but we were wading through a river. The hat is so I don’t need sunscreen, and the walking stick is because I’m pushing 50, but my knees are way ahead of me.

When you are hiking for any distance, especially in Utah in the summer, water is your number one concern. Yes, we were wading through a river. I suppose you could drink the river water if necessary. But, deciding to take or not take water was less a function of where we were going and more a function of preparedness. It’s just a rule. You pound it into the scouts, “Take plenty of water. . AND DRINK IT!”

One of the busses that took us to the trailhead had a picture of an attractive female camper sitting overlooking some of Utah’s famous red rocks. The caption read:

Got Water? Well drink it, you’re in the desert now!

If you look at my picture above, you will notice on my left side a green 2 liter Sprite bottle. That was my water for the hike up the shaded canyon through the water.

I didn’t drink anywhere near two liters. If I’m so concerned with not overpacking for a business trip, and I knew I was hiking up a river, why bring more water than I thought I would need?


You just never know what might happen. The bus might break down and you have to walk miles down the canyon in the sun. Someone might have not brought enough water and you have to share (Ten Virgins and Life In The Desert.)

We do the same thing in business. Businesses spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes even millions of dollars buying equipment they hope they never have to use. Like artillery men fighting with bayonets, if you have to go to your tape backup something is seriously wrong. In my current role, I have to design call centers. We recently discussed buying a new DS3 circuit (no I don’t really know what it stands for.) Because a DS3 circuit can handle 660 calls. And with our expansion, we could conceivably have more than 660 agents taking calls at the same time. But, we don’t just have one DS3, we actually have two.

Why do we need another one? Because we never expect to use both circuits at the same time. One is just there in case something happens to the other one. Like my extra large water bottle, we bought more than we expected to need.

Even with my plane trips, there are certain things I pack that I don’t expect to use. I generally have some emergency cash and enough snacks that if I get stuck somewhere without a chance to get food, I won’t starve.

But, I don’t pack any extra water on those trips. The TSA guys just make you pour it out.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children and one grandchild.

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