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What's next for Pete?

As some of my friends know, shortly before leaving to South America for the 2009 Mototaxi Junket I gave notice at Blackboard where I have worked for the last 4+ years.  On negotiation with my management we decided on a final day of December 31, 2009, which is now rapidly approaching.

The first question people ask on hearing this is inevitably "Where are you going?" implying that I'm leaving because I have a better position lined up - in fact, I do not.  I decided to quit my corporate job in the middle of a recession to focus on improving myself outside the workplace as well as to position myself towards new opportunities that simply aren't available within a company like Blackboard (I've been carefully planning for this financially for years).

I'm approaching my upcoming freedom with great joy and figured I would share some of plans, since so many of my friends keep asking what I will be up to.  The nutshell is simple - six months of personal improvement and experience before a return to a "normal" professional career.

Personal Improvement and Experience:

Over the next six months, I am looking at spending a large amount of time away from home.  I will still be based out of DC and keep my same apartment, but I expect to disappear for a month or so at a time quite frequently.  I'm still organizing all of the logistics, but as of right now, this is roughly what I am considering:

January: Road trip across the US, visit the family, and get the last couple states in my "Visited All 50 States" cap.  Ending January with a ski trip in Utah with friends.

February: Extended vacation to Southeast Asia.  Tentative plans include a minimum of a week in Cambodia visiting the Angkor Wat as well as a few weeks in Phuket (Thailand) training Muay Thai in a local gym (research for later).  I'd also like to visit Australia while I'm in this corner of the world but I'm not sure if I can pull this off reasonably, because...

March: Back to South America!  This trip will include a visit to Antarctica on an adventure cruise (including kayaking, hiking, and camping on the peninsula), probably a week or so in Patagonia, and most likely a second attempt at the Mototaxi Junket.  This time we will be starting in Paraguay and I will have plenty of time to explore and use the information gathered during the first run to finish it off in style.

April:  Finish up the Mototaxi Junket then come back to the US for a couple weeks to relax and unwind.  Last week of April I'm hoping to visit Amsterdam and maybe spend a couple weeks in May wandering around Europe.

May/June:  If my experience in February is positive, I'm hoping to return to Thailand for a month or two for additional extended training in Muay Thai.

After that, we'll see!

Professional Stuff:

Obviously, I have a lot of people wondering what my plans are in the professional arena next.  I'm in the process of working to clarify and outline my professional goals, but I'm currently leaning towards a high end consulting position with a cutting edge company that would allow me the freedom to continue to improve and explore personally while offering fulfilling technical work that challenges me and allows me to drastically impact companies I work with. 

I plan to start a technical blog around deep IT strategy in order to ensure that I keep my mind focused on this area during my personal exploration and will be available for various short term consulting engagements during this time (I have a couple of these in the pipe already).  More on this as things progress, but don't think I'm planning on leaving it all behind!

Now you know what's next!  And yes, don't worry - you'll be able to read all about it on my blog. ;)


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