2014 Travel Stats

Last year around this time, I posted my TripIt travel stats after a year of constant living as a nomad. Before 2014’s data disappeared, I thought a comparison was in order.

This year, despite settling in Southern California, I managed to visit 53 cities across five countries. I covered 94,518 miles (152,112 km) in 210 days. Compared to last year, I traveled 92 fewer days and 35,891 fewer miles.

All told, TripIt reports I’ve traveled 304,626 miles (490,248 km) to 108 cities in 10 countries, taking 671 days.

I loved the two years I spent wandering, but it’s been really nice to spend many consecutive weeks at home. I look forward to even less long-distance travel in 2015.

Header photo from https://i.ethitter.com/2014/04/driving-pch-ventura-sf/.

Yes, I Abuse My Tether

I’m fortunate enough to grandfathered in on an unlimited-data plan with Verizon. I’ve bought devices at full price to maintain the old plan, because I really do use it.

Why?

Besides the obvious need for my work at Automattic, I stream all of my entertainment via either an Apple TV or a Google Chromecast. I’ve peaked at usage of 175 GB in a month, and 60-75 GB isn’t uncommon (between two people especially).

The current Airbnb I’m at provides a 1.1 MB/s connection; my tether provides a 30.7 MB/s connection. This is pretty typical.

With the tether at my disposal, why wouldn’t I abuse my tether?

Our Western Migration: The Route

Chris and I leave for Los Angeles on Monday, and we’ve finally sorted the route. We’ll take six days to make the trip from my parents’ house in New Hampshire to Ventura, CA, stopping to visit a few friends and family along the way.

Our destinations each day:

  1. Erie, PA, with a stop at Niagara Falls (610 miles)
  2. East Troy, WI (531 miles)
  3. Manhattan, KS (651 miles)
  4. Grand Junction, CO (735 miles)
  5. Kingsman, AZ with a stop at the Grand Canyon (609 miles)
  6. Ventura, CA (362 miles)

If we stick to this route, we’ll cover 3,498 miles along the way. My 2007 VW Rabbit averages between 30 and 33 mpg, so the journey should take about eight tanks of fuel.

We’ll see 15 different states as we go: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and California.

Though we’ve only planned stops at two attractions along the way, Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon, I fully expect we’ll interrupt each day’s drive as we notice amusing or interesting things our route takes us near.

I’ll post photos at https://i.ethitter.com/ as we proceed.

It’s A Sign

After another month-long stay in California, it’s time to return to Boston. Holidays and commitments made before deciding to live in SoCal both require it.

The crazy thing is that even though I’m moving out here–so I know I’ll be back–I’m still quite unhappy to leave. I’d say the impending move was the right choice if a two-month absence troubles me.

Following sports as a nomad

One early struggle with not having a television came when trying to watch a baseball or hockey game. For starters, Airbnb rarely feature TVs that receive useful channels, nor do hotels.

I solved most of the problem with an Apple TV and subscriptions to MLB.tv and NHL Center Ice, save nationally-broadcast and playoff games. This was particularly vexing during last year’s MLB playoffs while I was in San Francisco.

Thankfully, there exist services such as Adfreetime and Unblock.us, like VPNs, that circumvent geolocation restrictions. Their advantage is that rather than routing both the location check and video stream through their servers as a VPN does, only the geolocation request is intercepted. The result is a smoother streaming experience.

Remembering Where I’ve Been

As I wrote about yesterday, colleagues struggled to track my whereabouts, so I created https://whereis.ethitter.com/ for real-time updates.

I’ve since discovered that my coworkers aren’t the only ones who can’t track my movements–I found myself struggling to remember where I’d been at a certain points as well. Borrowing the idea from Philip Arthur Moore, I created a WordPress plugin that uses a custom post type to record my travel history. The end result is at https://ethitter.com/timeline/.

I haven’t released the plugin yet, but if there’s interest, I’ll clean it up and post it to GitHub.

Tracking A Nomad’s Whereabouts

One of the unique challenges I encounter as a nomad who also leads a team is accessibility, both to my team and my coworkers in general. While I can predict when my team will be working based on their locations, they cannot do the same for me.

Following a rather entertaining conversation in which I asked a coworker about the weather where he lives and he couldn’t respond in kind, I created https://whereis.ethitter.com/. Currently it’s just a series of scheduled posts, but I would eventually like to tie it either to TripIt or Foursquare. As it happens, I’m running Beau Leben’s excellent Keyring Social Importers, so I already have data from those services accessible within the multisite installation that runs all of my sites.

Are there other, non-homegrown, solutions to accomplish the same? I’ve found a few, but all try to do too much for my needs. One of these days, I suppose I’ll get around to leveraging the data I already have so I can automate this process.

If you travel frequently, have you encountered the same problem? How did you address it?

My Love Affair With Scenic Drives

Perhaps it’s because I grew up in New Hampshire and had to drive everywhere, often on bucolic country roads. It could’ve been the boredom-induced exploration of a state just-moved-to, one with relatively few urban areas. Or perhaps it’s the experience of rounding a corner on a winding road and being confronted with overwhelming natural beauty. I’m not sure what is the genesis of my insatiable desire to drive long distances to experience natural beauty, but I also don’t mind that California is replete with options to satisfy my needs.

Continue reading My Love Affair With Scenic Drives

Decades

Three decades gone, here’s to three more.

I’m not much for celebrating to begin with, milestones are infrequent these days, and age often bears influence on little, so as my boyfriend and I drive the California coast today, I can’t think of another place I’d rather be or anything I’d rather be doing at this moment.

Moving on from always moving on

Five years ago, I was unemployed and bored, and somehow happened upon the idea of a WordCamp. As luck would have it, there were plans underway for one in Boston, and help was needed. With an abundance is free time, I gladly volunteered–a decision that led to a job and my current career.

The last five years have been a wild and often-surreal experience of travel, growth, and so much WordPress. Boston has been my base through this time, and New England where I’ve always called home, but soon that changes.

For more than two years now, I’ve been a nomad in a long-distance relationship, but I’ll soon drop both descriptors. Chris and I are moving to Los Angeles this summer.

I love traveling and the nomadic lifestyle, but I’m ready to settle down with my boyfriend and move on with our life together.