Paul Jorgensen

I live in Tokyo as a consulting security practitioner. I use Emacs & Orgmode for as much as I can. I study and apply Stoic philosophy as a way of life. I continue to slowly learn and practice Japanese. I cook and eat and drink. I travel and experience. I read and write.

Where the Crawdads Sing

Quick review – I don’t know of a book that undelivered compared to the hype yet was a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Cobblestones Pub and Biergarten

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
Back in the USA. What did I miss?

#ek201 is going nowhere so far #dxb #jfk

Dubai International Airport (DXB) (مطار دبي الدولي)
Next time hope to spend more time in Dubai. Would like to spend less time in the airport

03:55 departure time sucks. Just sayin’. Pls Enjoy the RUH terminal 1 water feature.

King Khalid International Airport (RUH) (مطار الملك خالد الدولي)
Good trip to KSA🇸🇦. Ready to go home to USA🇺🇸

Some travel mussings

I’ve been in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia again. My timing is best described as interesting as there was much strife in Iran and Iraq around the time I traveled here. The news reported on volcanos and wild fires. It all got me thinking about how I am traveling and contingencies.

Minimal is sexy

My trip was rather last minute due to some travel agency nonsense. As a result I had to travel with more stuff than I wanted, both left in the States in the trunk of my long term parked car and in what I carried. I’m still doing all carry-on with two bags. With some time and a place to safely stow my stuff I could drop 6-7 lbs.

While weight is a factor, the bigger part is being portable and quick. I don’t want to lug 46KG (about 100lbs) of luggage (the typical checked baggage allowance) when trying to evacuate on foot.

Also, I find the more stuff I bring the higher the percentage of stuff I never touch on the trip. Anyway, if there’s something I don’t have but need most places I visit will have a means for me to acquire it.

Make packing cubes work when at rest

There’s one school of thought about packing cubes: that one should keep their clothes in the cubes when in the hotel. I do not think that is a good idea. I empty my cubes (and compression sack) and put things away properly. This is particulrly important for nicer clothes. They should be hung or folded with air around them.

One thing I started doing several years ago was using my Patagonia day bag as a large packing cube, turning it into a multitasker. It works really well for my clothes bundle – a specific method of folding button down shirts and trousers and suits and skirts and blouses and … The bundle can get big, bigger than a typical packing cube. The day bag, however, can take it with room to spare.

I’m taking that idea further soon. Tom Bihn sells two packing cube bags. One is a backpack and the other a shoulder bag. They also sell a backpack called the DayLight, which one can also turn into a packing cube. These aren’t crazy expensive but are not cheap. The fact that I can get dual purpose out of them while providing me with a lot of bag flexibility on trips is attractive.

Tidy is as tidy does

Once a number of years ago I had to evacuate my hotel room in the middle of the night due to a water problem. My room was something of a mess. The chaos and sleepiness lead to me leaving several items behind and damaging some others. It took me way too long to get packed and out of the room.

I keep my room picked up at all times. No dirty clothes on the floor. Shirts, trousers, and jackets are on hangers. Most of my toiletries stay in my Dopp kit. Papers and cables are kept as neat as possible and returned to their home in my bag when not in use.

On this trip, even with my extra kit, I was able to pack in 30 minutes. That was a lazy pack. I could do it in under 20 minutes. That is key.

Registration has its privileges

Any time I head to a foreign country I register with the U.S. State Department’s STEP system. I also look up the embassy and consulate contact information and put them in my contact list. The hotel’s information goes in there, too.

I keep up on the local news. iOS and Android make it easy with their respective news apps. And I keep my weather app aware of my location to notify me of weather events. For example, last trip to Riyadh it rained most of the time I was there. It never occurred to me there might be a flood risk, but my app pinged be about flash flood warnings.

If I’m somewhere with active volcanos and earthquakes I will fire up the local government agency’s app for notifications as well.

Cash is King

I always carry local currency as well as American dollars. ATMs and credit card processors might not work in an emergency. Plus, it’s hard to tip with plastic.

I’m a cool frood who knows where his towel, and passport, is.

Yes, I travel with a towel. More importantly I travel with a passport. I’ve gotten in the habit of carrying the passport with me at all times.

A colleague of mine traveled to China last year and left his passport in his room when he went to work out in the hotel gym. When he returned he was unable to get back in his room for a few hours without explanation. It ended up being nothing, but had it been something he would have had a time getting help without it.

And so it goes …

There are other things that I can’t think of as I am sleepy. What things do you do when traveling to keep yourself safe?

In the Wild

I was in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) last week. While there, a colleague showed me his Samsung Galaxy Fold.

It was unexpected, him having this device. When he started using it folded, it looked like a small clunky generic Android phone. Then he flipped it open to take a look at a map.

That’s when it got interesting.

And then it was no longer interesting. It works, but not in a way I would like. The basically square screen one gets when opening the unit would be ill suited to reading PDFs or eBooks, or watching movies, or anything other than generic web browsing and email. Well, I guess Maps would be good, too, which was why he opened up the phone.

I’ve been casually thinking about what kind of a fold-out form factor would work for me and I can’t come up with one. I’m still stuck on the idea of an eInk tablet.

Gipper’s Restaurant & Ale House