2011 Recap: 80,000 miles, 3 moves, 2 new jobs, and more

To say it was a tumultuous year would not do it justice. To think it was only a year would be to underestimate it by at least a lifetime.

It all started innocently enough in the middle of a snowy Russian winter and at the home of a prominent Moscow lawyer. I distinctly recall having real black caviar for the first time in the last 10 years. My wife and I couldn’t find their building in the middle of a snowstorm, and it was also the first New Year in Moscow when they stopped selling alcohol at 8pm on December 31st.

One could sense right then that the world was a-changing.

Right before midnight we went to Patriarchy Ponds to see the fireworks  and to drink champaign al fresco in the company of random strangers. I also managed to slip and bruise my tailbone crossing the street. Right before we went out that night, I quietly deployed the first version of Turn-O-Phrase.

On January 1st, still not entirely sober and with my tailbone still bruised, we flew to Vietnam. It was unbelievable. I had my sister’s Starwood Family Member Blah Blah discount so we stayed at the best hotels for 50% off. I’ve never had this much fresh seafood, and I’ve never feared for my life as much as I had while driving around Vietnam (I wasn’t behind the wheel). Two of us and two of our friends hopped 4 cities in 2 weeks.

After coming back to Moscow for 2 days, I flew to San Jose, California, where I was due to start a new job at Atmel on January 16, 2011.  In the course of the next 4 months, I would make 4 round trips between California and Moscow. On one of these while back in the decidedly frosty Moscow, we moved apartments. It was surreal.

By mid March, I have made a trip to Honolulu, Hawaii, by mid-April to Dresden, Germany. I spent the next six weeks in California — while travelling regionally to Utah and Colorado and re-launching Turn-O-Phrase — only to embark on my first ever around-the-world trip on June 5th.

Somewhere along the line — on May 5th to be exact — I celebrated my 30th birthday in San Francisco.

On June 5th, I flew from San Francisco to Shanghai, then to Tianjin and Beijing, then to Singapore, and then to Moscow.  After swinging by Dresden once again, my wife and I took a two weeks vacation in Turkey, where I went paragliding off a 2600 meter cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. Then next day I got sea sick on a boat we rented, and my wife “found” herself an annoying persistent Turkish stalker. I found out what baklava is supposed to taste like.

I returned to California (via Moscow) on July 17th. On August 29th I took another trip to China. This time I only visited Shanghai and Shenzhen, and this time I knew that I wouldn’t be back for a long while.

While in Shanghai on a business trip for Atmel, I accepted a job offer from Wireless Generation in Brooklyn. I already knew I would be parting ways the company and moving to New York in time for my wife’s start of graduate school at NYU (for those of you keeping track, I just moved to California 4 months prior). She eventually deferred until January 2012.

I resigned from Atmel on September 16th and moved to New York that weekend. I started at Wireless that Monday. Besides changing the coasts, I also changed industries, going from embedded wireless to enterprise-grade data warehousing systems for schools. It’s not all about the physical distance, you see.

By this point in time, I have moved the total of 7,500 miles and travelled well in excess of 80,000. The last three months were a cakewalk in comparison. I only only managed to get out of the city twice, travelling to North Carolina on both occasions (with a weekend in Atlanta, a second one this year).

If this wasn’t ridiculous enough for you, here is something else. I plan to be in Moscow again before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, 2011. Yep, you heard me right. There is just no better way to ice this cake.

So at the end of this whirlwind year, which is hard to recapture and harder still to repeat, and a whirlwind essay, which I hope you liked, I’ll leave you with this one parting thought.

Realizing that you can have some other completely and extraordinarily different life (if only you choose to reach for it) is as close as I’ve ever come to feeling immortal. It’s not a recipe for immortality per se, but I believe it’s the best we the mortals can ever get.

Here is to an amazing 2012!


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