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Restart, Reboot or Reinstall?
I have a Windows VM image on a USB stick I use while traveling. It allows me to access my personal compute environment separate from my work compute environment. So I use a hypervisor to help create a work/life balance, on my PC at least.
One night, while sitting at my hotel, I came up with a nerdtastic idea: what if I install a logical “hypervisor” layer between my home and my work so that I can take my family with me and take this idea of location independence to the next level?
What if I could give up the constant travel and just find a long term project in a city where we would enjoy living…and move the family so we can be together? I discussed it with my wife and she instantly LOVED the idea.
Simple Living. High Thinking.
Since my son was about to start kindergarten in the Fall, we had to move quickly. Three hectic months later, we rented out our house in San Diego and relocated to San Francisco (actually in Pleasanton, halfway between “the city” and “the valley”). It was not easy giving up our comfortable lifestyle in San Diego. But, like the vikings who burned their ships upon conquering new lands, we gave away most of our belongings (don’t worry, I didn’t give any of my guitars away) and just took with us what we would need in our new, much smaller place. Retreat is not an option!
Don’t get me wrong. Moving from a 3,000 square feet house to a small apartment takes a huge leap of faith. But what we gave up in square footage, we gained in other ways.
First, we now have a real work/life balance (and not just on my laptop either). I come home from work every night and see my family and eat a home cooked meal. I take my son to school every morning. We walk to the park to play tennis or check out the amazing Farmer’s Market every Thursday. I actually have a life again!
Second, we have the flexibility and mobility that I talked about earlier. My wife can just call someone (other than me) if the sink is clogged. And we can just pack up and move if we decide we like another place better or if a more interesting project needs me…whether it’s around the corner or around the world (as long as it doesn’t conflict with the school schedule).
Third, this decision is empowering. Rather than living out of a suitcase 4 days a week, I modified our living situation so that our work and life intersect more frequently. We win.
So What Have We Learned?
If you can’t tell, so far we are thrilled with our decision. My son loves his new school and is making new friends. My wife loves walking to Safeway…and all our favorite stores and restaurants are nearby. So if they are happy, I’m more productive at work. Which makes me happy.
On the other hand, I will soon lose my “Executive Platinum” status with the airlines, hotels and rental car companies…and I will have to stand in the long TSA security lines next time I travel. Whatever. My biggest concern at this point is that when my current project ends, I don’t know if I’ll be able to go back to traveling full time again. Yikes!
Luckily, there are some interesting local projects brewing that may allow us to stay here longer. At least for another school year. Wish us luck.