Once again, I write from an Amtrak train in the middle of nowhere. The capitol limited is snaking its way up the mountains of the west coast. Later this evening I'll disembark and begin my biking adventure.
I really have no idea where I'll be going or what I'll do while I'm in Portland, with the exception of Open Source Bridge from Wednesday on. Some friends have given me comprehensive lists of things to do and stuff to see, and I'm intent on visiting ^H, the Portland hackerspace.
Being immersed in hacker culture affords me certain niceties. The one I enjoy the most is being able to show up in a distant land and be able to find new friends who share the hacker ethos.
More importantly though, this trip is an opportunity for me to get caught up on that important work/life balance. Its been three months since my last trip to Bellingham, WA for Linux Fest Northwest. Just over four months before that was a visit to the Chaos Communications Congress in Berlin. I've been working in industry for the last 8 years, and I'm starting to finally get the hang of figuring out this burnout stuff. In two years of working for Collabora not once did I plan out a vacation where work and life were kept completely separate. Didn't end up good.
Now, hacking for Ripple Labs, I've figured out that taking a week off every three months is a sustainable pattern I can live with. The last week before this current trip I noticed that I was losing steam and all my motivation was starting to dry up. The last time that happened I immediately planned my LFNW trip but it was too far in the future; two weeks prior I had to take off to recuperate from a stressful breakdown.
This vacation feels like just the thing I need at just the right time. It'll give me plenty of time by myself to reflect on my dayjob, my art, Noisebridge, and the loving relationships I keep.