My last post makes me sound a little curmudgeonly, and I'd hate to end the year on that note, so here are some additional thoughts about moving. On my morning readabout, I ran across a recent piece by Marko Ahtisaari called "Intelligent Travel," written as an essay for Joi Ito's book Freesouls. Marko writes about themes that has recurred in my life over the past few years—travel, "ripples", connections, dislocation, blur. But instead of being another complaint about the drudge of travel, he turns to a more positive thought: can travel become good again, possibly through "engineered serendipity"? Can the process of moving from place to place, entering and spending a moment in the lives of good friends, colleagues, new acquaintances, and other cultures be a good thing? Maybe, if the right tools are used with the right intentions.
Two and a half year's ago I wondered aloud on this idea, bouncing off a then-recent concept put forth by Joshua Ramo, who Marko references as well now, in a post about Ramo's concept and my own experiences of blending travel, social media and communication, "Personal Velocity, Placelessness and Virtual Social Connectivity". It seems a long time ago, but the experiences I've had this year have been similar. Airports, text messages, phone calls, images, experiences, the thrill of being home at the end of it all. When I started Changeist last year, I didn't expect I'd spend the first year taking 25 trips to 17 cities (and that's just what I was keeping track of). Thanks to Marko's next adventure, Dopplr, I now know that. That's 25 experiences to relate to family and friends who'd listen, 25 chances to meet somebody new, and least 25 times to explain who I am and what I do. And as Dopplr has so kindly informed me, in 2008 I had a personal velocity of around 11 km/h, about the same as a butterfly. I don't think I could take anything faster.
As 2008 ends, I want offer thanks to everyone I met on, or who facilitated, those 25 trips. Thanks for the sofas, beers, coffees, curries, calls, encouragement, attention, ideas, connections, boosts, honest critiques, and best wishes. Thanks to everyone who lent a hand, made an introduction, or just listenend. At the end of a treacherous but inspiring year, a very deep thanks. Here's to an illuminating 2009.