North America 2013: San Francisco

I love travel; I love exploring new places, meeting new people, trying new food, seeing different ways of doing every-day things and having my comfort-zone pushed… I love the lot. Fundamentally however, there comes a time where you start to itch for that feeling of being productive again. At heart I’m a nerd, and my fingers were missing writing code and my mind was both starting to overflow with ideas and starting to panic about atrophying. A recent visit to MIT did not help these feelings.

So, it was time for a holiday from my holiday—time to chill out without too much pressure to explore or plan the next few day’s travel, and time to hack if and when I felt like it. San Francisco was the perfect spot for this: I’d already visited in the past so wouldn’t feel like I was missing out if I didn’t spend all day exploring, and of course it has a thriving tech community. Add to that a couple of friends in town and the deal was sealed.

It was glorious: I rented a nice room via AirBnB, perfectly located in a great area near Alamo Square and on a couple of bus routes; I went to meetups and pitch events; I had a lot of great coffee and food; I hung out with friends, and wrote code in cafes.1 Nerd-wise it was exactly what I was looking for, although no-less intimidating (“Hi, what do you do?” “Well, I wrote WireShark, but now I’m…” to pick a random example). I can definitely imagine working in SF for a few years to turbo-charge your development, but by the same token it is also easy to see why people feel the need to work such crazy hours just to keep up, which doesn’t seem sustainable or healthy.

I did of course still do plenty of walking—it’s a very pretty and walkable city. My charmed run of weather continued, barring a single morning downpour while I was doing laundry, in flagrant violation of the apocryphal quote “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”.2 The lack of touristy activities unfortunately meant that I took very few photos; the car show pictured was a random find on a walk through the Castro when for some reason I did happen to have my camera with me.

  1. Yes, I’m sure this all makes me a closet hipster, but I just can’t wear plaid and I don’t think my legs would ever fit in jeans that skinny. ↩︎

  2. Probably not Mark Twain, but let’s attribute it to him since everything else is. ↩︎

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