Friday, July 19, 2013

The Home-Away-From-Home Office

I can work anywhere!

I’ve been giving my office set-up some thought in preparation for my online teaching debut that will be combined with a 3-week road trip come September.   But I don’t think it will be difficult to get all this

into this

I admire this set-up below but don’t have that much space to work with. 
My Roadtrek 190, with its minimal storage capacity, provides 6 x 14 feet of office space.  But really, that's OK.  Keeping it simple is appealing. 
So I’ve winnowed down to the essential carry-ons.

This magic gizmo makes it all possible.  Smaller than a deck of cards, it brings you the world. 

By Steri-Lite.   Doubles as storage


Enough room for computer and books.

Office supplies

Course material notebook

Paige Bridges sent me this postcard the last time I bought one of her vintage RV paintings.

I’ll have frequent need of a printer.  I have to have hard copies to grade papers.  I will then transfer my comments into the student’s submitted Word document and return it for revision.   I thought about getting a wireless printer but ….where would I put it? 
So I’ve decided to transfer papers to a smart stick and take it to a FedEx or Staples for printing.  If I discover I absolutely need a printer, I can store the printer where my cereal stash is and stop eating breakfast or something. 
I love it already!


  1. Why do you have to have hard copies? Just grade them online using track changes. I wrote a short ebook about how to grade papers fast and easy! It's on Amazon -- Grading Made Fast and Easy. Honestly -- don't waste the paper and time and aggravation printing. And here's another tip that will make your online teaching work way faster -- get a small cordless keyboard and mouse. Here's the one I have used for three years and it's a champ! Verbatim 97472 Mini Wireless Slim Keyboard and Mouse from Amazon

    I never ever ever ever print anything. I mean NOTHING ever. Also get a good offline file back up system -- I have used carbonite and SOS. I like SOS better. You can also use google drive or google dropbox but that's not automatic. SOS automatically backs up files once a day or you can back up manually just by clicking a button anytime you've finished grading (or saving photos or whatever).

    My "office" on the road consists of my laptop, nexus 7, keyboard and mouse. That's it. Nothing more. I don't even carry my textbooks for classes. See if you can find your textbooks online in ebook format -- that would save LOTS of space. And remember that everything you spend on stuff for your job is tax deductible. Happy teaching!

    Oh BTW -- we're heading up north to Acadia last week in Sept / first week in Oct. I hope you're coming up my way before then. Plan on staying in our driveway as a home base if you like -- you don't want to miss Williamsburg, Jamestown, and all the cool stuff in the Tidewater area of VA.

    1. I was hoping you would give me some input into the rolling office. Everyone - Nitewriter has been teaching online for years. And she travels in her RVs. She's the only person I've met so far who combines both. She's been a great resource for me in launching my own online career. Check out her blog.

      I've taught writing for years (I also review manuscripts for a peer-reviewed journal). I have tried to do everything on the computer but I just can't. It's like trying to use my left hand - it's damn near impossible. I'll try again if the printing gets onerous.

      Thanks for the invite!!! Not sure when I'll be leaving; not until the kitchen is done anyway. I'll keep you posted. We've visited Williamsburg and Jamestown - loved it! Talk about a history lesion.

      Acadia is on my to-do list!

    2. By the way, I just ordered your book!

    3. It takes a while to get used to doing everything on the computer. When I first started taking online classes for my masters degree (over a decade ago), I printed everything! A few years ago I trashed all the print stuff and reorganized my original computer files (from which I printed all that stuff). When I first started teaching online, I started grading with track changes in MSWord. It took a while to get used to it but actually I had not much choice. I've had surgery on both hands in the past 15 years and now I simply cannot write by hand. There's a blog post here about how to use track changes the easy way. I'm a tech moron, believe it or not! LOL So I have to have step by step "how to" and it has to be easy enough to remember! It does take some time, but getting used to doing everything online, especially grading, doesn't take long. Then you'll wonder how you ever kept up with paper.

  2. That is going to work just fine! Good plan. I suggest you go on a short trip with your system and see if there are any quirks. Oh wait. That's because I want to go on a short

    1. Good idea Dawn. I think my trip up to D.C. will do the trick. I'm sure there will be quirks-a-many.

  3. Congratulations on your teaching job. Nitewriter seems to have it down pretty good.

    Have you ever seen those little tables that fold flat? The are adjustable for height. Walmart, sells then in black, Camping World also sells them and cost more. Theirs are white and they are heavier but still fold flat.

    Have a wonderful experience.

    1. I really like those tables. In fact, we have one we use at the house. No way though it would fit in the Roadtrek. I actually have another table that is built-in that I could use when I swivel the passenger seat around. I'll experiment with that and let you know.

  4. Kim, what you are doing is proud of yourself for creating this most perfect lifestyle!

    1. Awww, thanks Lynne. Sometimes it seems too good to be true. We'll see how the reality plays out but I'm pretty pleased so far.

  5. I use my Ipad so that I can write notes in files. I can write with my finger or type in comments. I can make it look just like I took pen to paper. I know use my printer less than once a week. Some months I don't use it at all.

    You don't need a printer if you have an Ipad.

  6. I would not be able to work at that desk. But, I have one of these which would work just fine:

  7. Hi Kim,
    Have you ever tried a bamboo pen and tablet? I only ever tried one with art but you hold the pen just like you would a regular pen or pencil. Once you sync the tablet with your computer screen, you can literally write on what ever you are looking at, in your own handwriting.

    In particular the 'bamboo connect' states this in it's description-- Bamboo Connect helps you become a visual communicator, so you can sketch out ideas, mark up or annotate documents, take handwritten notes and...

    When I used the bamboo tablet I loved how the pen 'felt' as it moved over the a well sharpened pencil gliding over a linen finished could actually hear it...


    1. Here's another possibility for traveling - I don't use this one but I do have one of the bigger ones I use at home with my recliner. The base is too big for an RV. What I do in the camper and RVs -- I use a very small table to put the laptop and mouse on (I can't function without a mouse!) and then put the keyboard in my lap.

    2. I just looked at the airdesk. That is seriously cool. I like it!

  8. Great, Kim!

    I also need some things printed out. Like crosswords. I've tried them online and hate it. I want a paper crossword!

    My VERY favorite desk is a laptop desk that has the bottom padded with styrofoam beads. I love it for writing and also sometimes as a breakfast table. Walmart carried them last year for back-to-school for around $14.00.

    I do know they sell small, compact printers. I haven't looked for them lately, but they are nothing like our home office monsters.

    I am amazed at what a functional, minimalist office you have come up with.

  9. Sleek! I like the idea of not having to print out hard copies of something no one wants, but you will find what works best.

  10. We have this printer:

    Bought it when we lived in an RV full-time. We don't print as much as we used to do but it lets us do so when we feel a need. We've printed business cards and typical paper things on it but have never tried labels which some reviewers say are a problem. But, you are not looking for a label printer.

  11. Kim,

    Just wanted to let you know about a potential urban "boon docking" site for your trip to the DC area. The street is Army Navy Dr right beyond the Pentagon City Mall. If you are interested in more details just let me know. BTW it is also a good place to park and walk to the metro system.

  12. I have the Verizon 4G MiFi as well (for when I'm in the States) and love it !!

  13. Last weekend, I seriously needed a scanner. Bad. I flew to Dallas with my netbook & accessories so I could do a photo slideshow of a friend that passed away for her celebration of life event. We needed to make a memorial program one had a scanner that was usable :-( A friend bought one of those scanner bars, but we could not make it work. Another friend's scanner wasn't hooked up to her computer & no disk was available to install it. (she was at work). I FORGOT that I had camscan on my phone because I've not used it yet! We had to take the photos to a print shop instead. But I would have preferred to have done this on the netbook & then copied a sample to take to the printers....

    Do you have a table that you can use outdoors when the weather allows? If not, check out one of those fold up type that you can bag. I love mine! I use it outside all the time.


Let's chat !