When I (Katie) first started digital scrapbooking back in 2005, I used the desktop computer that everyone shared in our house. Soon, we found ourselves battling over computer time and I developed a longing for a laptop of my own. It seemed that everyone in the forums posted about how they could take their laptop anywhere and scrap all the time. This motivated me to start selling my own digital designs and idea files so I could save enough money for a laptop of my own. By 2006, I had my very own laptop and I was thrilled to finally be able to scrap somewhere besides at our home office desk.
Over the years, I have learned a lot about what it truly means to be a portable digi-scrapper, and I can honestly say it isn’t all about having a laptop (even though that does help). Oh, and I will let you in on another secret… no one can really lay on a tile floor (like the model in the above picture) and work comfortably! Even if you are working on a laptop, you will need a place to sit and a few other basic supplies.
IF YOU ONLY HAVE A DESKTOP COMPUTER:
You aren’t going to be very mobile in general. Most of your digital scrapbooking, photo editing, online shopping, and other computer related activities are going to happen on that desktop computer. If you want to take your work to another location, you will need to have supplies backed up on dvds or cds, SD cards, flash drives, or an external hard drive and use another computer. If you are traveling to visit a friend or relative and want to bring these things along, you should be sure they are ok with you using their computer and check to see if they mind you hooking up a device like an EHD into their system. Understandably, some people will not like this idea.
It’s ok to take a break from online activities and your computer once in a while anyway (yes, I actually do believe that!) so if you don’t have a laptop, consider it a great way to force yourself to take some time out for other things. If you really want to use someone else’s computer for scrapbooking related activities, consider editing photos online with a website like picnik or photoshop.com. You can also upload pictures to online sites such as flickr or post entries to your blog for future inspiration.
IF YOU HAVE A LAPTOP:
Not only can you work in different areas around your house, you can also take your laptop on the road for ultimate flexibility. The amount of mobility often depends on the type of technology and accessories you possess. A lighter laptop will be easier to pack around. If you have an extra battery on hand, you won’t be tied down to an outlet for charging as often. If you have a lot of free memory space, you can keep a good amount of supplies right on the hard drive of your laptop. If you are reliant on an external hard drive, that can also be packed up and moved around, or you can use a selection of your supplies that are backed up to a flash drive or SD card. I rarely pack my external hard drive because I find it cumbersome, but if I were going on a long trip where I would have a lot of scrapbooking time, I would certainly consider it.
If there is a wifi internet connection around, most laptops will be able to hook you up to the internet. If you are staying in someone’s house you might need to see if they have a router that you can tap into with their password. This might not always be possible. I’ve stayed in plenty of places without an internet connection and I often find that I can get a lot more scrapbooking done without the distractions of hanging out online.
PLANES, TRAINS, & AUTOMOBILES:
I have actually digi-scrapped in a moving car, in an airport, in the waiting room while my car was being serviced, as well as several other unusual locations. I have been able to do this because of some advance planning and organization. If I have a folder loaded with kits and templates I want to work with, that is a big help. Also having a folder of photos to use makes it easier to get down to the business of scrapbooking on the go.
Once your laptop leaves your house, it is a good idea to use a protective bag or case of some sort. Avoid dropping the laptop of course, but if you do, then hopefully a padded carrying case will decrease the damage. I use a Swiss Army computer backpack when I travel with my laptop because it is so easy to carry. This same backpack is the carryon I take on airplanes and it holds everything I need to travel, even my camera(s). There are plenty of fashionable laptop bags in office supply stores, Target, Walmart, and even on Etsy. Be sure you pick a bag with enough room to add a few other important essentials (like a mouse and power cord).
When I travel, these are the things I always bring (unless I will be without electricity):
- laptop power cord
- wireless mouse
- point and shoot camera
- extra camera battery
- wrist brace (I have wrist issues)
- iphone and charger
When I’m going on a bigger trip, I pack accordingly. I still only use my computer backpack to carry everything that I need.
- laptop with power cord and extra battery
- wireless mouse with extra batteries
- point and shoot camera with cord, extra battery & charger, extra memory card
- dslr camera with cord, extra battery & charger, extra memory card
- dslr macro filters. I did not bring the extra lens I have in this case
- dvds for burning pictures to share and a sharpie for writing on dvds
- flash drive and SD card loaded with digital supplies
- iphone with charger cord
I actually took these photos while on vacation at my Mom’s house so I can tell you honestly that these are the things I pack when I want to scrap and take photographs. No matter if I pack light or pack up all my goodies, I always feel a little nervous about carrying such an expensive bunch of gear around. Of course, it’s nothing compared to what professional photographers pack around, but it’s a lot to me! I’m careful to keep my backpack on my body or I lock the strap around my leg when I’m sitting in the waiting area of the airport. I also try to be aware when I’m going through the security lines since that is where a lot of theft can occur.
I do realize that I’m lucky to have such a great collection of electronics and gadgets to help me digi scrap in almost any location. It has taken me several years to collect this gear and not all of it is essential. Please don’t feel like you have to have a lot of “stuff” to be a successful photographer and/or digiscrapper.
Here are a few great tips that are helpful:
One last reminder…Don’t miss out on the places you are going to by spending the whole time with your head buried in your laptop. Enjoy the scenery, the experiences, and of course, the people!