Believe it or not, I’m not the biggest fan of travel. Oh, I used to be, maybe 10+ years ago when I was just starting to travel as part of my career. Being in your 20’s and getting paid to literally circle the globe isn’t all bad… especially when you’re single.

But the truth is I got tired of travel long before I started a family. Traveling every now and then is a wonderful experience that can change the lens with which you view the world. Hitting the airport once or twice a month, on the other hand, does little more than disrupt your life (and I know plenty of people who travel even more than that). I miss being on a routine, and I really miss the strong local social bonds I used to have.

Travel killed my chances of moving up to my next Black Belt. It wrecked my fitness consistency (yes, I still work out a ton, but not so much with other people, and bad hotel gyms and strange roads aren’t great for the program). It killed my participation in mountain rescue, although for a couple years it did let me ski patrol in Colorado while I lived in Phoenix. That didn’t suck. It mostly hurt my relationships with my “old” friends because I just wasn’t around much. Folks I basically grew up with, as we all congregated in Boulder (mostly) as we started college, and learned to rely on each other as surrogate family. Complete with Crazy Uncle Wade at the head of the Thanksgiving table (Wade is now in the Marshall Islands, after working as an electrician in Antarctica).

On the other hand, I now have a social group that’s scattered across the country and the world. I see some of these people more than my local friends here in Phoenix, and we’re often on expense accounts without a curfew. I was sick last week at Black Hat and DefCon, but managed to spend a little quality time with folks like Chris Hoff, Alex Hutton, Martin and Zach from the Podcast, two good friends from Gartner days, Jeremiah, Ryan, Mike A., and the rest of the BJJ crew, and even some of these people’s spouses. Plus so many more that going to DefCon (in particular) now feels more like a week of summer camp than a work conference.

With beer. And parties in the biggest clubs in Vegas (open bar). And… well, we’re not 13 anymore.

What’s amazing and awesome is almost none of us work together, and most of us don’t live anywhere near each other. And it isn’t unusual to roll into some random city (for a client gig, not even a conference), and find out someone else is also in town.

We live strange lives as digital nomads who combine social media and frequent flyer miles to create a personal network that’s different from seeing the same faces every weekend at the Rio (Boulder thing), but likely as strong. I don’t think this could exist without both the technical and physical components.

I still miss the consistency of life with a low-travel job. But in exchange I have the kinds of adventures other people write books about, and get to share them with a group of people I consider close friends, even if I can’t invite them over for a BBQ without enough time to get through their personal gropings at the airport.


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Remember, for every comment selected, Securosis makes a $25 donation to Hackers for Charity. This week’s best comment goes to Ed Bellis, in response to Say Hello to Chip and Pin.

Since this doesn’t help security for card not present transactions I don’t see them being able to prevent merchants from touching payment data for those transactions(which is a significant portion of the market and growing). While it’s a step in the right direction, it doesn’t fully address the fundamental problem of payment card security. It’s also a very costly transition. I would imagine for a lot of merchants, PCI compliance is cheaper than switching to chip and pin. I believe the only way they were able to pull this off in Europe was through regulation.