Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bye, Bye, Fun-Employment!

Fall is upon us in Austin, and it has been a year since I began my temporary retirement. (Technically, that year has been over for a few weeks now. I'm just now catching up with the blog.) This means that it is time for me to start earning money again. I decided to do my own thing and work as a freelance consultant for IT security for a while. Check out Secuilibrium's website!

But this also means that it is time to reflect a little bit on the past year.

View from the Chimney Rock Trail in Capitol Reef National Park
If you have been following my blog, you know that -- beyond any doubt -- I have had a splendid time! Now that I'm back, people keep asking me: Which of my adventures was the best? This is a tough one. There wasn't one that wasn't fun. Nepal was a fantastic way to start things off, and an environment I had never before experienced. Caving in China was a blast. And so was hanging out with old and new friends in various parts of Mexico and Europe. Burning Man was an incredible experience. And all the little side trips just added to the amazement.

I hadn't read as many books in a long time as in the evenings up in little tea houses in the Khumbu, thanks to my Kindle. Sitting out rainy days in Puebla and hiking around in the karst gave me a lot of time to ponder ideas about what to do next and scribble into my little notebook. And I got reminded of the awesomeness that are inspiration-instilling podcasts while driving around the western US in my little pickup truck. Somewhere I read the other day that traveling and driving are some of the best activities to foster new ideas. I can readily agree with that.

I know many people who claim that they wouldn't know what to do with their time if it wasn't for their work. I'm not one of them. If I had the money to retire for good right now, there would be tons of caving and other projects to pursue -- there are still a bunch that I never got to in the past year. But since that's not an option, I am actually quite excited to get back to work and put a somewhat different spin on information security than what used to be my main bread and butter. Many ideas have been spooking around in my head, and there are a number of topics I want to look into. Hopefully, working as a freelancer will give me opportunities to do this!

The beard's back to normal. (Photo: Logan McNatt)
I also thought about pursuing a completely different career. Importing caving gear from Europe, working as a rope access technician, ... But in the end, it turns out that I love technology, and am still passionate about all things information security.

Having been back in Austin for a few weeks now without plans or a budget to travel extensively in the foreseeable future has its plus-sides, too. More time to hang out with my friends, be involved in the local caving and security communities, catch up with old contacts, ... Thanksgiving is around the corner and will see a road trip to Big Bend National Park.

Another fun thing is catching up with a year's worth of my favorite online comic strips. If you are curious about what makes me smile on workday mornings, here they are:
xkcd: Exploits of a Mom
I would like to thank all of you who have supported me over the past year instead of calling me crazy, those that have had encouraging words for my endeavor to start my own consulting business, and everybody who is sharing their advice with me. It's good to have friends in the world!

This blog will probably see less frequent entries in the future, but I'll keep it up for occasional posts about outdoor exploits and such...