I’d like a (selfish) vacation

August 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

I need to get away! OK, I know this is going to sound greedy (I am literally on vacation now–check out that 20+ lbs striped bass caught off Cape Cod), self-centered (I actually do love hanging out with the extended family and friends: 19 in total over the last two weeks) and probably lame (boring) to many, but I’d really like to find a “get-away” vacation for programmers.

I’m currently toying around with several ideas, trying to get caught up with a couple of projects, while also interested in contributing to a few new things emerging out there. I was hoping over this vacation I would be able to find a quite spot, open up my laptop and wonder through these various interests. For me, programming is not just part of my job, it’s a hobby–like solving puzzles, or playing a strategy game, or reading a good book (even writing that perfect crime novel you are sure would be a best-seller). Honestly, I really don’t think spending the day contributing to a project is any different than taking a few books you’ve always wanted to catch up on during vacation and reading through them in a nice hammock out on  the deck–sounds nice and relaxing, right? However, with my family, vacations are often “working vacations,” that is, my family tends to favor adventure-based get-aways rather than the rest and relaxation kind.  During this week, we went; deep sea fishing; surfing/body-boarding; “on geo-quests;” paddle boarding; sea kayaking; hiking; biking; whale watching; to a drive-in movie; to the beach; etc. All living up to the cliché, “I need a vacation form my vacation.” Indeed, there is a real anti-“just sitting around doing nothing” attitude with these folks. We only play board games if the weather is bad. In addition, many of in my family see technology as something to be avoided during a vacation. It’s understandable as most of the interactions (perceptions) they have with a computer is either as work tool–i.e. checking emails from the office, checking lab results/patient status (eight in my family are physicians), office productivity (writing up proposals, presentations), etc.–or as a video game console for the kids, and kids should be out enjoying the beach, not inside cooped up playing video games like a “vidiot.” Both of these perceptions lead to a bit of guilt on my part, my family might offer, “It’s a beautiful day outside and your just going to sit in here and work all day?”

So what I’d really like to find is a place which would allow me to escape everything, and without guilt, indulge myself in uninterrupted peace where I can work (no, bad word… um, create, or better still, actually enjoy myself). There are plenty of writer’s retreats (like this or even this) and workshops (like this or this) where aspiring artists/authors escape the confinements of their everyday lives to lose themselves in research, discovery, writing and editing: couldn’t a “programmer’s retreat” or workshop provide the same thing?

There seem to be many many “workshops” or “camps” where folks can go and attend courses, listen to experts, learn a new language, etc. There also seem to be several language or project specific events (i.e. unconferences). I don’t want these: I’d like to find a place were several folks are working on their own projects, independently or even perhaps as a small group, but within a common environment/location. I could spend the day alone, focused on a specific bit of programming, or talking with a like minded peer on common interests to get ideas or inspiration, or even just wondering alone, thinking of, and pondering ideas. There should be private rooms, community space, family-style dining (with an option for take-out meals), great wireless, access to a local amenities (e.g. a coffee house, general store, bookstore, restaurants, etc.–all also with great wireless) so folks can change things up.

I’ve been searching around and have not found much, at least in the Northeast where I live.

If you know of anything, please let me know. Maybe I should start my own?

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