Another year is starting to blur in my memory and so it is befitting to reminisce and get down all the crazy fun things which have happened this year.
Esther and I had decided to do a leadership, character and identity course over in Toronto, Canada and so the year began with winding down at Aqueduct. It was sad to leave the team there who have become close friends.
It was a close call because 2 weeks before our flight, after a long search and two false starts we hadn't found someone to live with us in Toronto and watch the kids while we were in lessons. Of course we only wanted the best, our amazing kiddies are very much our priority and if we couldn't find someone who would love them as well as look after them then it would be better to call the whole thing off. But we trusted that this was the right thing to do and sure enough in a few days we were introduced to the lovely Brittany who had been hoping for an opportunity like this. It was amazing how it all worked out.
We spent 4 months in Toronto (next to the airport) in a pretty full-on environment, living with 70 other people in shared accommodation. We then spent a month travelling: a week near the Niagara Escarpment in a town called Milton (with Brittany's amazing family); then a week over in Montreal and then three weeks in Denmark on a little island called Bornholm.
Don't let your gift take you where your character can't keep you! James Levesque
Even if the teaching hadn't taught about character, shared living certainly helped us grow. We made some great friends and have some great experiences to look back on. I was able to do some speaking and writing on some of the big areas which I am passionate about like passion and honour.
We were fortunate to listen to some amazing people, with amazing life experiences.
I managed to do some freelancing while in Canada but coming back to England in August saw the start of Pogo Kid my new company set up to enable me to continue freelancing and contracting.
Loads of people have asked me why I decided to start my own company and I've boiled it down to three main reasons:
- I've always loved investing in people's potential. I want to give back
- Meet and learn from new people by stepping outside my comfort zones
- Flexibility as my family are looking at moving to Bath next year
It has only been a few months and so I am still on a steep learning curve for running the business side. I have already met some amazing people and worked with teams all over the world.
New Technologies and Learning
Even with a five month gap I have been able to be involved in some fun projects this year. I have worked with The RFU Six Nations, The Football League, Sitecore, Adam Ball, ClearPeople, United Studios and a few others I cannot mention.
I have worked on a whole range of technologies and frameworks. 2011 has been no different to previous years in that there is always new things to learn and new ways to develop. This year I have focussed on Node.js, Express, Backbone, responsive sites, TDD, Grunt.
What am I looking for in 2013
I am becoming more daring in my old age, looking to take my dreams and see them become a reality so this year I am allowing myself the freedom to dream big and allowing myself to be vulnerable as I try new things.
I am excited about settling down in Bath, England with the family, seeking out a place to be creative and new people who will continue to push me and inspire me.
I started doing some speaking and workshops last year amongst friends but I want to be a bit braver and speak at an open meet-up. I've come to the realisation that it's ok if I don't know everything to be able to speak, in fact it can be a great learning experience and a good testing ground for my ideas.
I finally want to expand my experience of programming languages and work with people using Ruby, Java, Python etc...I am excited to already be doing some backbone work alongside a Rails app, working with Matt O'Riordan on easyBacklog.
So here's to the new year. I feel so privileged to be able to know so many amazing people and be involved in so much fun life things :)