I’ll be speaking at Ignite 13 in PDX

• ~500 words • 2 minute read

I'll be speaking for 5 minutes (literally) at Ignite Portland 13 this year! The event is on November 2nd at OMSI, the doors open at 6:45 and the presentations begin at 7:30pm. Seats are first-come, first-serve, but there is a registration page setup on Eventbrite to help them gauge attendance and also a Facebook event.

If you're unfamiliar with Ignite Portland this gist is this: speakers get on stage and present on a topic they're passionate about. They get 20 slides with each auto-advancing every 15 seconds. It’s a little like PechaKucha only instead of seven minutes we get five.

I'm going to be talking about the year I spent traveling and working around the world — what it was like, what I learned, what I’d suggest to others aspiring to something similar. I will try my best not to let it devolve into a bunch of vacation photos... but that might be my backup plan if words fail! I have no doubt that certain photos will be making an appearance.

So if you’re in Portland, Oregon and need something to do on Wednesday, November 2nd, please come and say hi! And if you’re curious, here’s what I wrote for my proposal:

As a freelance web developer my job has always made me more location-independent than most, and in 2013 I decided to explore what a the lifestyle of a “digital nomad” might look like. I spent a full year traveling and working, literally circumnavigating the globe, through 18 countries.

From Portland to Argentina, Iceland, Kenya, Turkey, Japan and many, many more places inbetween, it was a very ordinary year (in some ways) set against an extraordinary backdrop and sprinkled with extraordinary people and experiences. I worked. I cooked meals at home with food I’d find in the markets. People came and went in my life. I’d go on long runs in the woods, or beaches, when I could.

Good things happened: I made new friends that I’m still in touch with. I ate amazing and exotic foods. I saw beautiful things I’d only seen in photos. I was touched by the incredible kindness and trust of strangers all over and — in what was probably a highlight — met long-lost family members for the first time in Serbia to put a bookend on a family story 60+ years in the making.

Some bad things happened too: I was robbed after a lapse in judgement. A long-distance relationship fell apart. My grandmother passed away and I found myself homesick, from time to time.

But most of these things could happen in an ordinary year, even if I’d never left Portland. It was, in words I found in an email from that year, when describing this endeavor to a friend, “a year like any other year, just somewhere else.”