Another year arrives! Woo! Of course, it’s quite predictable, although what happens each year never follows any logic or sense.
I share only a little about myself online, but let’s say that 2006 was probably a year which, for me, could have become pivotal for so many reasons. Experiences which I’ll never forget, such as climbing Machu Picchu, nearly being struck by lightning on a Chilean mountain, having a botfly removed, launching a new business venture… all incredible. Friends have been similarly amazing. I also took second place overall yet again in the Liverpool and Chester Speed Championship as well as a brace of class positions in the ANWCC championships.
The downside of all this has been nearly burning myself out. I think one can only take so much excitement in a year and I really went to town in 2006. I also decided that it was finally time to attack my house and renovate. Me being me this didn’t mean a quick re-decorate but a strip down including a full re-wire, some re-plumbing, and lots more besides. Not something I’d do again to a house I live in, to be honest, but it’s been a fascinating learning process. Not least of which is just how well dust can get through underneath doors, into drawers, cupboards and clothes. It’s coming on now, but has a fair way to go.
The website has come on rather a lot too. I’ve had a ‘place-holder’ site for years now, but persistantly failed to do anything much with it. However, with the rise of blogging software to make maintaining a website easy I decided it was time to do something about it. I still had a very basic site, but now it contained a blog so people could follow my travels in South America. Then I added stuff about my motorsport… and well, it just took on a life of its own. The site especially took off when my tale of botfly woes reached some popular websites like b3ta.com and I found myself with thousands of visits. Since then the site has managed to average around 4000 unique visits per month, with peaks of up to 12,000.
So where now for the website? Well, I travel a bit, and have noticed that the popular guide books vary somewhat dramatically in their usefulness and advice. Some are verging on the downright dangerous in some cases – for example I saw a (admittedly oldish) Guide du Routard from France which suggested that the YMCA in Liverpool’s Mount Pleasant would be an interesting place to stay. Yes… a typical middle class, French backpacker may initially be fooled by the building’s gothic facade into thinking he or she had arrived in a hostel of quite exceptional standards. Perhaps if the traveller had arrived late when most of the alcoholic and junkie homeless residents had settled in for the night the dangers would go un-noticed, but otherwise I have a feeling that there are quite a few French student travellers who’ve left Liverpool with an altogether inaccurate view of what consitutes fun in this wonderful city. On the other hand, Jean-Paul Sartre is something of a French hero who believed in holding few possessions – if you wish to move towards such an existentialist existence then perhaps this is the ideal way to start?
I could easily ramble on about the problems with guidebooks, but I won’t until I start a new section. Yes indeed, I’m going to start a guidebook review section. I intend to take the three key books to any particular location I cover and will test it for accuracy. If you’d like to send in reviews of what you’ve found, then please do so and they could well be included on the site. If you’re good, you’ll even get a contributor’s account and be able to add your own entries.
As the site generates a fair bit of sprint and hillclimb related traffic, other drivers have expressed an interest in contributing. Whether I add sections to this site to that end, or whether I create a new community site is still something I’ve yet to decide. Watch this space….
I’m certain to be travelling more, and covering some new locations. But as usual I don’t announce these trips in advance, nor do I announce when I return. The site is often updated on different dates to the exact time I travel as well. Why? Well, security, basically. If people know where I am, and when… it could mean trouble. I trust most of you of course, but the internet’s a very public place and you never know who’s watching.
Although I’ve had my own business for many years in order to be a freelance contractor, it all changed around dramatically this summer when I decided that PeopleSoft was a declining force. With this in mind I knew that I’d find it hard to maintain rates, and even harder to find work I could travel to easily. Although the travelling has been enormous fun, I was rather tired of constantly uprooting myself. I was also missing my friends and had a peculiar social life.
With all this in mind, I relaunched the company as Interconnect IT Ltd, joined forces with James Whitehead, and we set to the task of forming something new and exciting. We started out with a vision for a generalist technology consultancy – solving the technology related problems all companies come across. However, the most common problem right now appears to be getting a good website running. So by and large we specialise now in Web Design. It’s fun, relatively straightforward, and creatively challenging. 2007 should hopefully be the year we turn it into a profitable company once more. But if you happen to know anyone who needs a website….
So here’s to 2007! Let’s make it a great one, with lots of fun, work, travel and motorsport!