Tips for Long Trips
One of the most difficult parts about living on the road is that we circus folk have to be minimalists. That means limited wardrobe, supplies, and entertainment. Of course working in a circus does not, by any means, imply that you won’t get bored. Everyone needs something apart from their work to keep them sane; especially with the amount of effort and time that one must put forth to live the circus life style. For example, my parents were kind enough to provide me and my sister with a small television and VCR when we were children and the countless reruns of Disney classics kept us from killing each other after weeks of being cooped up in a trailer.
It was always tough for me to choose which books and video tapes I’d be taking with me on my family’s long, seasonal trips but thanks to innovations in technology, my favorite books and movies are a lot less bulky and much easier to bring along on my travels. Here are some examples and tips on how to bring your favorites with you while packing light!
1. Leave the CDs at Home!
Honestly, if you haven’t got an mp3 player by now, you should really consider getting one. It is so much easier to carry your music library with you in a small little wonder of technology than to lug around a Walkman and a CD case. Depending on the size of the mp3 player you can store from 1gb to 60gb (About 15,000 songs), much more than anyone could fit into a CD case.
On top of that, most mp3 players can play videos, movies, and have all sorts of applications like games, maps, and even ebooks. Some can access the internet and allow you to check emails and social networking sites. Thanks to my iPod touch I can leave my computer at home for most short trips, which makes for quite a light load. And now that mp3 players are so commonplace, it’s easy to find a good one for a reasonable price.
2. Consider E-Readers…
Amazon.com’s “Kindle”, Barnes and Noble’s “Nook”, and Apple’s “iPad” are the leading products for e-readers; a very practical alternative to hard copies of your favorite books. I know, I know…it seems sacrilegious. I am a devout book lover, I love the feel and smell of paper, the weight of a good book in my hands but let’s be sensible here. If you’re packing for a year-long tour, how many books are you going to be able to fit in your trailer without having to remove your refrigerator? As I recall, I had almost no storage space for books when I was traveling, which made the packing process heartbreaking.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! E-readers are an incredible innovation that allow you to bring an entire library on the road with you. Some even have internet connections, so that you can download new books once you’ve cleared out your library. Prices for e-readers range from about $114 to $500. This may seem a little pricey but we have to keep in mind how much money we spend on books anyway!
3. Choose Wisely.
Alright, maybe we can’t all afford these fancy new electronics but this final tip is one that I employed before mp3 players even existed. It seems one of those things that goes without saying but, believe it or not, some people have trouble with this. When packing books, music and movies, pack only those that you can read, listen to, and watch repeatedly. For me this means most Disney classics and a few horror movies but bear in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean your “favorites”. For example, say that your favorite movie is Spielberg’s AI. Sure, that’s a great movie but it is depressing and gruelingly long. How many times do you plan on watching that during your weeks on the road?
Pack a book you’ve read before and would like to read again. I recommend short stories as there you have many stories in one book which are brief, entertaining, and can be skipped through, finished quickly, and reread. Pick the CDs that you could listen to all day long. The ones you never skip a track on. Something you love to listen to and won’t get tired of. The same goes for movies, pick only what you know you’ll want to watch, probably over and over again.
So, there you have them! Three tips on making packing easier. I hope it was helpful and good luck! ■