I have wanted to do this for awhile and last month I finally did it-I kept tally of the activities and time I spent preparing for a recent 4-day gig in Tucson. You might be surprised to know what goes on behind the scenes for traveling quilt teachers!
My prep for this engagement had some unique factors: I was teaching a class I hadn’t taught in a while (Trapunto), I needed to make kits (I don’t usually have to make kits), there were 2 lectures and 2 workshops, and I was determined to finish a sample for one of the classes before I left. I also had my QATV taping to think and pack for, with one day in between engagements. So prep for this trip was unusually complex.
Here we go:
-Research and book flight, variety of necessary correspondence to coordinate the trip. 6 hrs
-3 weeks before-take inventory of my retail products, determine what products to order, place order, process items received and add price tags to new product. 2 1/2 hrs
-Make up 18 trapunto kits (some extra). 2 hrs
-Decided to redo the drawings for one of my handouts. 1 1/2 hr
-Decided to redo the outline for one class. 1 hr
-Which required redoing my Teacher’s Outline! 1/2 hr
-Print out, collate, staple handouts for both classes. Create kits with handout, pencil, grid. 1 hr
-Assemble and organize necessities for each class. 1 1/2 hr
-Create new price list for retail, print and cut. 1/2 hr
-Minor repair work to two quilt sleeves-this happens a lot as my quilts are hung and folded and handled a lot. Stuff happens. 1/2 hr.
-Wash and block 2 of my larger quilts. They get handled a lot and get dirty. 2 hrs.
-Wardrobe plan-this takes longer than you think! It’s not about fashion but about comfort, being prepared for too much a/c as well as too much heat, nicer garb for lecture, and clothes for casual time with my son. And the right shoes. I always have to try on each item-otherwise I might arrive and discover a missing button, a stain, ripped hem, etc. 3 hrs
-Make food for the plane; shop and pack protein sources-sometimes you just don’t get fed because of unexpected events or timing. 1 hr
-Shop for depleted personal necessities for the trip-vitamins, skin care, shoe repair. 2 hrs
-Pack 2 29″ suitcases with quilts, supplies and student needs, making sure it fits and is less than 50 lbs. This is tricky! It involves a scale, careful folding of quilts and protecting them, and lots of shuffling back and forth between pieces. 2 hrs.
-Pack personal carry on, organize 15 lb tech bag. 1 hr
-Unpacking upon return home: inventory, teaching paraphernalia, personal items, sewing notions, quilts-all returned to their native habitat. 2 hrs
So that gives me a grand total of 42 hrs of prep/packing/unpacking and that does not include travel time! I left with Uber at noon on Monday and returned, happy and smiling, on Saturday at 11PM. I did tack on a day with my son-what a treat! And God was smiling on me as I got the best Uber driver ever for a return from the airport.
And we don’t travel light! How do you maneuver 2 29″ 50 lb bags, a carry-on, 15 lb tech bag and a purse? Suitcases must have spinners, put them back-to-back and grab both handles at once (hard for people with smaller hands like me!). Make sure your tech bag has a sleeve and slip it over your carry-on and wheel that behind you with your purse over your shoulder or strap it onto your carry-on. It’s fine on smooth floors but the whole plan falls apart on hotel and airport carpets. Someone needs to design industrial carpet that does not produce drag for luggage! Any takers?
There are a few things to note: airport trips take a lot more prep and time. Local jobs are significantly easier and faster to prepare for. Also, this particular trip had two lectures and two workshops, requiring more prep than a simple lecture/workshop. And I took it upon myself to finish an entire new small quilt for the occasion. I am lucky-I have made almost all of my quilts with wool batting which weighs a lot less than cotton, so I am able to fit more quilts in my 50 lb bag-this is a huge benefit for me and the guilds I visit.
For teachers that teach mixed media and/or painting, their prep can take even more time. Each bottle of liquid needs to be double or triple bagged-every single bottle. And they have more “stuff” to carry for their workshops. And it’s heavy! Some teacher’s trunk shows feature large quilts-that is tricky to fit all those quilts in a suitcase, especially if they used cotton batting. All these little things can add even more challenge to the mix.
There are some challenges to being a traveling teacher but I love what I do! I would not change it-I get to meet all kinds of people from all walks of life in all kinds of interesting places. But it does take quite a bit of prep to do that. Enjoy that traveling teacher that comes to your guild or local shop-they did a lot of prep work to get to you!
I’ll be linking up to Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday where all the good links are!