Two years ago, I completed the Hand Luggage Only project, roaming across Australia for a month with only what I could fit into a single carry-on bag. Ever since then, I've been looking for a more extreme travel challenge. The solution? Go on the road for work with no luggage whatsoever — and no computer.
Aside from an obvious personal trend towards masochism, there is a more nuanced reasoning behind this. Travelling with as little as possible is a constant topic of discussion around these parts, and with luggage fees increasing across the board, any strategies to minimise baggage are worth exploring and testing. I've already demonstrated via Hand Luggage Only that you can travel with just a single case and actually get a job done, so I didn't want to revisit that territory.
The most notable development since I last tried this kind of thing is that smartphones have become even more powerful and more flexible, to the point where it seems feasible to use one as my main working device. I already routinely write and edit stories and approve Lifehacker comments on my much-loved BlackBerry Torch, but I've never tried using it as my sole device for more than an evening out or a lunchtime press conference. However, knowing that it offers a solid battery life and most of the apps I need for day-to-day writing and publishing — and that it has an actual keyboard which makes sustained writing easier — that should be achievable.
From a working point of view, then, I don't necessarily need anything other than a BlackBerry, a charger and some headphones. None of those are so bulky they need to be carried in a separate bag. Reflecting on that, it suddenly hit me — I could try doing this with no luggage whatsoever, merely what I could carry on my person. Device (and wallet) aside, the only other things that I wouldn't be able to get staying in hotels would be teeth-brushing stuff and deodorant.
Obviously, that does leave the small issue of the clothes on my back. However, one thing I learned during the Hand Luggage Only experience was that I needed to wash clothes every single day anyway. So why I shouldn't I just wash the same garments every night for the next morning? Provided I had items that could dry quickly, and occasional access to a washing machine and dryer for a more thorough clean, that should work OK, and I can sit around the hotel room wrapped in a towel in the evenings. (Apologies for that mental image.)
So there's the challenge. I'll be on the road from Monday to Saturday next week, and travelling to a different state almost every day. I need to do my regular gig of running Lifehacker, including meeting up with and interviewing people and attending events. I'll be staying in a range of different hotels, and using as many transport options as possible. BlackBerry has come on board the project as a sponsor (thanks guys!), and Van Heusen has also loaned me a crush-resistant Peforma suit to wear so I don't look quite as crumpled by the end of the week.
My journey proper begins on Monday. Tomorrow I'll outline in more detail what I'll be taking with me on the road (though let's face it, there's not a lot of detail to share when you can only fill your pockets) and where I'm going. There'll be regular posts throughout next week on the project, and I'll also be tweeting on my personal Twitter account using the tag #noluggage and sharing photos via Lifehacker's Facebook presence. Despite my inherent fear of laundry, I can't wait. Share your ideas on what I should get up to, and what difficulties I'll face, in the comments.