Hey, I'm Back

Recently, I realized that I haven't written anything since 2014 when I wrote about heading off to Colombia by motorcycle. Someone could easily assume that I'd ridden off a cliff, never to be heard from again. Well, no cliffs were ridden off and I'm alive and well. Maybe a bit too busy working, but that's an occupational hazard.

The Trip, in Brief

I did make it to Colombia for the first Drupalcon in Latin America, only I didn't ride the whole way. A couple of things happened to prevent me from riding through. First, Mexico is an amazing, beautiful country and it was easy to settle down for a while. Second, I got busy. I was working on a project where I was supposed to be replaced, but they didn't find anyone else. I didn't want to leave the team hanging, so I agreed to stay on and fly round trip to Bogota from Mexico.

I spent a lot of time on the west coast in a little town called Lo de Marcos about 40 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta. There was a little house on the beach for $500 USD per month, so I snapped that up. A fellow motorcyclist gave me a tip to look for Pueblos Mágicos (magic towns), a designation given to towns that have special historical or cultural value. Highlights were Tapalpa, a little town on top of a mountain and Guanajuato, which is like a European city with narrow, twisting lanes running up and down the hills. If your idea of Mexico is the beach in Cancun or what you've seen in movies, there is so much more you never imagined.

Drupalcon

Drupalcon Bogota was one of my favourites. It was a lot smaller than the American or European conferences and a lot easier to meet people. I really enjoyed the people and the city. You won't be disappointed if you ever visit.

Aftermath

On the way back home, I crossed over into El Paso, Texas. The guard thought it was mighty suspicious that I'd been travelling Mexico by motorcycle. Even worse was the fact I'd been to Colombia! Surely, I was up to no good. They handcuffed me and put me in a holding cell for a while. Everything was searched and a dog inspected me and my bike. Nothing was found, of course and after a delay I was sent on my way.

That seemed like the end of it. Thousands of people cross the border every day and only some of them are given any secondary screening. After the thorough check, surely they know I'm clean, right? Apparently not. Each time I have traveled to the US since then, it's the same story. The border agent grabs the passport, looks at me, does the routine checking and is about to send me on my way. Then he looks a little more intently at the screen and there's an involuntary twitch of the upper lip. A slip of paper is filled out and he says, "Take this paper and head through that door." I can bear the interrogation that follows, but I don't not like knowing if I'm going to miss my flight.

Traveling to the US in recent years has become increasingly troublesome and now that I'm on a list, I tend to avoid it. That's one of the reasons that for the first time I skipped a North American Drupalcon. That, and the busy thing. I'm talking to a lawyer in Buffalo, NY about a process where I can clear my name and hopefully get out of the secondary screening. You might just see me at another Drupalcon or other tech conference in the US.

What Else Has Been Going On?

I've worked on a number of different freelance projects since spring 2015—probably the most variety of any other period so far. I worked on a couple of Drupal 7 sites for a cable TV network, built a decoupled D7 back end with custom Elasticsearch integration and now a fairly-complex Drupal 8 site. On the non-Drupal side of things I've done Yii (a fast and lightweight PHP MVC framework), Backbone.js with Coffeescript and a smattering of Laravel. Today, I'm getting way outside the Drupal world and get back to my functional programming roots with Elixir.

As far as travel goes, I'm writing this from Chiang Mai, Thailand. I'll be spending the winter in South East Asia and doing a bit of remote work.

Back to Writing?

Now that I got that out of the way, maybe I should try writing about technology again. Unless, you know, I get busy.