Friday, March 11, 2016

Some Thoughts on Traveling

The 2004 election cycle burned me out on doing a lot of travel. Tamara was running for the LP's vice-presidential nomination and for Congress, which meant going to a number of state conventions, the national convention, campaign events, working for the Badnarik campaign even after she was defeated for VP, etc.

In our old Ford Aerostar van, we traveled with a five-year-old and a three-year old from St. Louis to (I'm going by memory here and may miss some spots) Kansas City, Tulsa, Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Hot Springs, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Hannibal (Missouri), Hermann (Missouri), other spots in Missouri, and Austin. All of those except Indianapolis and Cincinnati, which we did on the same weekend, were separate trips.

Since then, the only really long trips I recall making were a van ride with a bunch of Georgians from St. Louis to Denver and back, then the drive down from St. Louis to Gainesville when we moved at the end of 2012. And since that last one, until this week I hadn't gone more than about 50 miles from Gainesville. I can't say that I really wanted to, either. Not that I didn't want to see new places, but getting to those places just seemed like more trouble than it's worth. Until Ken Willey, chair of the Clay County Libertarian Party, invited me to their monthly meeting.

Jacksonville and Orange Park aren't much farther than 50 miles, but on the trip up there I took a longer bus route because I figured I'd rather sit on a moving bus all day than arrive seven hours before the event (I attended the Clay County, Florida Libertarian Party's monthly meeting) than arrive in Orange Park at noon and either sit there for seven hours or expect Ken to entertain me all day. So I took Greyhound from Gainesville to Ocala, then Ocala to Orlando, then Orlando to Jacksonville, then a local bus to Orange Park. Eight hours. And it was kind of fun.

Thanks, by the way, to Ken (who picked me up at the bus drop-off and took me to the meeting) and to Darcy Richardson (who came to the meeting, then arranged for lodging in Jacksonville so that I could sleep in a bed instead of at the Greyhound depot). I had a great time and I appreciate all the work I put you two to.

So now, I've kind of got the travel bug back. I'm starting to think of places I'd like to go and excuses to go to those places. Which, as you can probably figure out, means "think of something cool that libertarians would like well enough to finance."

So I'm thinking. If anyone has any ideas, let me know. Speaking engagements, maybe? Some kind of campaign for political or party office? Personal escort service for your friend who can't find a date? I'm not proud.

One thing about traveling has changed for me, and one thing hasn't.

The thing that has changed is that now if I travel by bus, I've got Internet access via free wi-fi. So far the experience is that it works sporadically and not especially well, but I think if I went on a lengthy tour around the country or whatever, I could get work done on the buses (or buy one of those "hot spots" that gives you wi-fi-to-cell Internet access in your car).

Except for the thing that HASN'T changed, which is that I hate working on a laptop with a tiny keyboard and a touchpad in the middle instead of a mouse on the side. But I think I can deal with that. Next trip, my carry-on bag contents will include some kind of hard flat surface -- a lap desk, more or less -- and a full-size keyboard and mouse (when I go to conventions and such where I have a room of my own, I usually take a full desktop rig). The only deficit that will leave is an extra display (I prefer to work with two monitors, something I thought sounded crazy until a couple of years ago but that I find it painful to do without now). Greyhound features more room between seats and so forth these days than it used to, so I should have room to do things up fairly right. The Greyhound buses also have power outlets next to each seat. Very nice.

What would be really nice is if Greyhound still offered their "unlimited travel" passes -- a flat fee and you're good for a week, or a month, or whatever period you bought for. But that seems to have been discontinued.

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