I never said 2016 will be my year. That will come later, but 2016 will be huge, and you won't have to wait much longer.
This was a mixed year. The year started with my needing to stop running a business, and so Fun and Plausible Solutions came to an end. Ben couldn't have been a better business partner. However, the burnout was real, and it was my feeling that I needed more regularity and structure in my life. I needed to get a real job (gasp).
So I went on the hunt for a job. After talking to and interviewing with a few excellent companies. I joined DigitalOcean. With that, came a whole new set of challenges. Joining DigitalOcean lead me to the largest cause of emotions in my year, the US visa application process. Getting a US visa is tough. It's frustrating, it's a complicated and difficult process. It'd have been entirely impossible without the help of both the wonderful people team at DigtialOcean and the team over at Samuel Christensen, I'm truly thankful for their work.
I have my visa now, and I work in New York. I'll expand on that in a bit.
Between agreeing to join DigitalOcean and the end of my first week working there, two things happened. One great, and one not so great.
The great one was a mini-tour of the US that I did, Boston, Atlanta, Florida and New York. This was back in March, some 6 months before I'd even be ready or able to move to the US. Florida was home to the Ancient City Ruby conference, at which I debuted, what is perhaps my best talk ever, What is Processor. This tour was spent with friends and family, enjoying my time and celebrating my soon to be new job, which was very exciting to me.
Shortly after getting back from my trip, came my first day at DigitalOcean, for which I was very excited. It was in London. Some cool people had been sent to help on board me. Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse.
On that day, it turns out I had a life threatening illness which originally presented as just some bad flu. Fast forward two days, and I'm in hospital, being treated by consultants. The NHS is actually an incredible force to be reckoned with. It's the first time in my adult life I've had to seriously engage with them. I can honestly say that without the NHS I would not be alive today, and that I am so grateful that we have this great healthcare system in this country. I'm also super grateful to my good friend Dave Worth who went severely out of his way to ensure that I got home safely while I was essentially dying.
After the illness cleared, however, I'm glad to report that working at DigitalOcean has been an absolute blast. I'm learning from and getting to enjoy the company of some incredibly talented, experienced and warm people.
This year, I haven't been as present on the conference circuit as I'd like. I missed RailsConf, because it overlapped with the illness mentioned above, but just in general, I haven't been travelling as much. The primary cause of that is the visa shenanigans, and I fully intend to get back on the road in 2017. I'd like to give a special shout out to Brighton Ruby, which always stands out as an amazing well put together conference. Andy you are perhaps my favourite conference organiser who's still doing the thing. I hope you invite me back to speak next year.
So, New York. I live there now. Moving to the US is a complicated beast with many moving parts. The process of becoming a normal adult in a country in which you haven't lived forever is weird. There are all these things people assume you have, like a proof of address, or a social security number, or a US phone number that you simply don't. This stretches the limits of customer service people's abilities, but usually they're able to deal with it.
I can't wait to get back to the city in the new year and hit it. I think it's going to be amazing.
So to conclude: this year has been probably one of the most complicated in my life. I have my first real job, but because I'm incapable of doing anything simply: I moved to another country to get it. I didn't do as much conferencing as I was physically capable of this year, but that's probably a good thing. If nothing else, I'm reminded of how lucky I am to have my existing great friends, the new ones I've met, and the good outlook going forward into next year.
Thank you all so much for being a part of my 2016. I can't wait to see what we all get up to over the next year.