Without a Cause

One week ago I woke up at 7 a.m. in my hometown of Boston, took a shower, checked email and read the front page of Hacker News while I drudged into the office, made the coffee, sat down in front of my machine and did my daily fire-fighting-12-hour-understaffed-and-underpaid-learn-something-new-every-day-wouldnt-trade-it-in-for-a-normal-job-ever routine at the startup I have come to know and love over the past 3 and a half years.

Today I woke up in Rwinkwavu, Rwanda, my home for the next few months. I still took a shower (well actually a bucket bath), I still checked email and read the front page of Hacker News (yes there is Internet in Africa) and I still made coffee and sat down in front of my machine, but for the first time in quite a while my view is different. [1]

At this very moment in time, I have no cause. Responsibility is now a word that I can only associate back home with Boston. Anyone who has ever been involved deeply in a startup knows what its like to be totally consumed by the role. It is incredibly rewarding but can be, at times, stifling as well. The recently popular and eerily opportune article on The Busy Trap seems to fit so well with what myself, my colleagues and many of my friends experience every day. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to break out of it.

I like to make things, to create things, and to be responsible for them: from the inception of an idea straight through to its aftermath. This includes all the steps in between: its actual creation, its deliverance, its success, its failure. It's why I became an engineer, why I learned to code, why I always plan to work in an environment where the primary focus is entrepreneurial, the goals are disruptive and the coffee flows like Saudi Arabian oil.

I have no cause, but this is not cause for alarm. I have room to create again. I have room to do all the things I want to but haven't been able to: to give back to open source projects, to read, to write, to code, to learn outside the lens of my where I work, to explore.

I plan to document my progress and my projects here, not just now but into the future. First goal is already accomplished: you are reading it.

In short: I have "left" my startup as I know it [2] and am here in rural Africa to do all the things I was always too busy to do, too busy to make, too busy to create. I am breaking out of "the busy trap" and reflecting on my past roles while finding exactly what the next one might be. Wish me luck.

[1]My New "Office" View
images/rwink-office.jpg
[2]"Left" is a strong word, "in transition" might be better. Let's be serious, it is hard to ever leave something you have put so much into and so I am still involved (with ever decreasing responsibility) in this time of transition. While it is bittersweet I am ever hopeful for continued success. Removing a link in the chain always forces chaos, but strengthens the overall structure as well. I am so grateful for the support of my colleagues in my endeavors and look forward to what is to come.

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About

Started writing one year ago, the day after heading out to travel around the world for a year without a cause.
Current Location: New York, New York

Previously:
Mexico City, Mexico
Tokyo, Japan
Hanoi, Vietnam
Vientiane, Laos
Phuket, Thailand
Kathmandu, Nepal
Rajastan, India
Kerala, India
Mumbai, India
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Koidu, Sierra Leone
Mombasa, Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya
Kigali, Rwanda
Rwinkwavu, Rwanda
Boston, MA

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