Out of Office: What am I carrying?

As you read this post, I’m out of the office on my first business trip since the summer of 2019. My day job is working in marketing at an agency that caters to crafty entrepreneurs in the fiber and fabric space (think yarn stores, quilt stores, yarn dyers, needle manufacturers and more!)

The truth is I don’t travel much, but I do tend to go to an industry trade show about once per year. Or I did until 2020 happened. This week I’m in Chicago at the first big industry show since COVID.  Not traveling often, and not having traveled for work for 3 years, I was struck with a bit of a panic about what to bring. I had time to order a few things, but I thought I’d cover my “carry” for this show.

One bag to rule them all – The Baron Fig Tote Bag

Those of you who were around for the Kickstarter days of this one may remember that it was the subject of a bit of controversy. However, I’ve recently rediscovered my Baron Fig Tote Bag and I have to say it’s checking my boxes lately. The straps are wide and comfortable and will be nice and utilitarian for carrying a bag through a conference floor. It will easily hold my marketing materials (biz cards and postcards), a notebook for keeping notes on my meetings, my wallet and phone. It doesn’t have a lot of pockets, but I like that one on the front for my keys and phone, and the rest will be contained in zippy pouches and the like.

When I’m not on the conference floor, I can slip my laptop in the bag (in a new sleeve, keep reading) and head for coffee to catch up on my notes. And there’s probably still room for a knitting project.

The Laptop Sleeve – Rickshaw Horizontal Laptop Sleeve

When I realized I wanted to throw my laptop in the Baron Fig Tote rather than carry a more padded bag (I’d rather carry less weight on the trade show floor), I decided I needed a sleeve to slip my laptop into to keep it safe and scratch free. Cue Rickshaw. I ordered myself a Horizontal Laptop Sleeve in the custom color of my choice, added priority shipping and I had it in just a few days.

The Notebook Cover – The Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter

A while ago Ana gave me her Roterfaden Tachenbegleiter on loan, and it is the perfect tool this week. It’s lightweight, made primarily of felt and cardboard, with lots of pockets for biz cards and other things. It’s got metal tabs where you can add notebooks, and a pen loop so you have a pen handy. I don’t see these amazing zippy colors (Ana says this was a special order), but you can find more details here at JetPens.

The Notebook – Midori A5 Color Paper Notebooks

I ordered a stack of the Midori A5 Color Paper Notebooks ($3.25, Jetpens)  these a while ago, and I just need a lightweight notebook I can dedicate to this show – my notes on meetings, photos, leads to follow up on and more. I “customized” mine by adding a leftover holiday card envelope (using washi tape) to the inside front cover so I can store lots those biz cards I collect with all my notes.

The Pens – An assortment of favorites

As much as I love fountain pens, they’re just not always the most convenient at a working show. People are always asking to borrow your pen, cartridges somehow always explode all over me and I just need something quick and reliable. For this show I opted for the following three:

  • Zebra Zensations – I don’t like going disposable, but I’ve been very pleased with these. If it walks off at the show, I won’t be super upset, and I’ve still got lots of ink left, so hopefully it will get me through!
  • Spoke Roady – I just got this one last week and I’m eager to take it out for a drive. It’s a combination of fun and convenient. I’ve got a brand new refill in it and I’m ready to go!
  • Kaweco x Hello Kitty AL Sport – Ok I can’t resist so I’m taking one of my favorites with me. It’s filled with KWZ Raspberry Ink and it will be super fun to use!

All of these are stored in my Unicorn Snot (Spa Blue/Lime Green) NockCo Sinclair pen case which I use as a combo pen case and wallet when I travel. My id, a few cards, some cash and 3 pens and I’m good to go.

So that’s what I’ve got with me this week. What are your must haves when you travel?

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5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I love this! Beautiful colors and great tools. My (not-so-inner) knitter wants to know about the blankets in the background! Do you mind sharing details and/or the patterns? Thank you

  2. Sure! On the left the pattern is Memory Blanket by Georgie Nicholson and I knit it in scraps. On the right is Ten Stitch Twist and I knit it in an Opal Advent Calendar.

  3. I travel quite a bit (2-3 times/month). And even though most trips are driving trips, I still like to carry light. I use my fountain pens everywhere I go – whether out into the field (mostly Safaris and Looms), or into a corporate office. My field pens go into a ManhattanPortage zipper case (in bright red so it is easy to see). My field notebook is Traveler’s Notebook Passport with TR paper inserts. This fit easily into my cotton/mesh vest along with my Garmin, iPhone, camera, knife, etc. For all other places, my portable office goes with me – a Rimowa rolling briefcase. My pens go into Franklin Christoph Penvelope for 6 pens, and I use my William Hannah A5 notebook. My 17″ ultralite laptop goes into a Rinowa padded laptop sleeve. Peripherals like my power cords, surge protector, portable memory drives, etc. all fit in various cases inside the briefcase, along with a few limited office supplies. My Nikon z50 camera, iPhone, wallet, keys and a few other things fit nicely in the briefcase as well. I have had the same rolling briefcase for almost 20 years and it works as well as it did the day I bought it.

  4. Weird! I was at the same show in Chicago, I guess! I didn’t bring a fountain pen, as I was worried one would leak on the plane, but I did get a Benu Talisman when visiting Atlas Stationers right before the show on Wednesday!

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