Getting ready doesn't mean pack my bags and grab my plane ticket. I'm researching out there so that means I need to know what I want to harvest once I'm there. I need to make sure my "ToDo" list up to date. I have to bring my microfilm and book call numbers list up to date also. I want to be prepared so I don't waste my time. I have a brick wall to break down. I need to further my family history story experience.
Every year I go, I take less than the year before. It is almost like packing the diaper bag for the first trip to grandma's with that new baby. My, my. Did we really need all those diapers, bibs, one-zies, bottles, etc.? Each trip after, less and less gets packed.
The first year I went, I packed a giant suitcase with enough room to pack for every scenario I could think of – in went sweatshirts, several pairs of slacks and jeans, t-shirts, coat, gloves, scarf, rain gear, etc. Whew! I didn't want to be without what I might need. It was October – need layers. And then there's the roller bag to carry my laptop, camera, device accessories, files folders stuffed with printouts, censuses, gedcoms, notebooks, enough stationery supplies to restock Staples. Any overflow went into the big suitcase.
This Sunday - seven trips later, my suitcase and carry-on will look a quite different. I'm packing a considerably smaller suitcase for the week; I have learned to do without. It's only a week and I'm not going camping!
My carry-on has been reduced to a large computer bag. It looks like an over-sized purse, but will be big enough to hold my MacBook, iPad, digital camera, and a few folders and a notebook, but small enough to fit under the seat.
I'm excited to have an option of taking very little paper with me. I'm embracing technology. I do use my digital camera instead of making photo copies and have memory sticks incase I want to copy something from one of the library's computers.
This trip, I'm also taking the "Cloud" with me. Fantastic! Files accessible from my computer, iPad, and iPhone! I've spent several weeks digitizing notebook pages from past trips, sorting out images of censuses I have marked up with notes and questions. I don't need all that paper. Whatever I think I need to reference, I uploaded to Dropbox and I'm using iCloud (for Mac), too. I've been playing with Dropbox for a couple weeks now so I kind of know how much "free" space 2 gig can hold and how I want to use it. Right now I do believe that amount of space is enough and it is FREE. As I increase my usage, I will have to pay for more space.
I think I have pushed what I need to the cloud. If I didn't? Well, the Family History Library should have enough material to keep me busy. I probably won't miss much left behind anyway.
The best thing is I won't be dragging around all that ephemera!