I have been hesitant to write my next post. Mostly because I always think of it as my last Six in the World post, and there are so many things I want to say. I want to talk about what we learned, how the trip changed us, all the things I have come to understand in its wake. There are also so many people I want to thank for making our trip wonderful. But that post has to wait. I decided to take up the pen today because I am noticing how circular life can be.
When we returned to Georgia I wrote a post complaining about the lack of democracy in Georgia compared to California. Watch out what you wish for. I am now inundated with information, some true, some spurious, about ballot propositions, candidates, etc. Sifting through that in the upcoming weeks will be interesting. For those who may have missed it, I currently work at MySpace. I am in charge of their product management, which means I get involved in every project. I’ve have had a great time in the past 9 months helping make the site better and creating more tools and toys to connect people and conversations. One helpful new tool revolves around our presidential debates and I hope you all will check it out. The site is www.mydebates.org.
The second and much larger circular pattern I’ve noticed started three years ago. In the fall of 2005 I attended a conference called Google Zeitgeist. It is a small industry conference put on by Google and is filled with interesting people and stimulating speakers. It was three years ago at Zeitgeist that I first vocalized my desire to take my family away for a year and travel the world to a friend. At the time it wasn’t much more than a hope for future days, but the act of telling someone else was important and probably gave the trip ball more momentum as our lives hit some bumps in the ensuing months.
By the next Zeitgeist, we were in Australia or New Zealand. I would like to say I didn’t notice it was happening, but I did. As the conference went on and friends of mine got together, I had thoughts of being back at work. It may sound ungrateful, but there were times (this is the one that stands out along with Garry’s (my former CEO’s) passing), that I actually longed to be working. Then I would take the kids surfing, to a world heritage site, or just spend a quiet night helping with schoolwork, and it would pass. During last year’s Zeitgeist, I was still reeling from an unexpectedly rough reentry, namely my layoff from EarthLink. Since I was jobless, Google decided not to invite me. In many respects, and in true American form, it seems what I do is more important than who I am. (I don’t agree, but meet an American and within 20 seconds they’ll ask, “What do you do?” In other countries that is not the case. One of our key learnings from the trip.) My friends went off to hob nob and this time I really felt left out. Well, a lot has happened since then–a new job found me, we moved back to California, I am once again working with Google, and this morning is the start of this year’s Zeitgeist. I am glad to be on the guest list, but even on days like this, I think about climbing a giant sand dune, floating down the Mekong, or wandering a spooky cemetery in Buenos Aires.