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On The Move Again, This Time San Francisco

Posted on : 25-05-2010 | By : Chikodi Chima | In : Peripatetic

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London in movement #4
Roughly defined, peripatetic can be used as a noun or an adjective to describe someone in the act of walking or in motion. So it is in that vein that I’m writing about moving again, or perhaps just taking flight. San Francisco beckons.

I’ll be moving to California for work in late June, and I’m giddy at the prospect of returning to the Mission District, one block from my old apartment. Though my job could conceivably be executed from anywhere on the West Coast–nay, anywhere in the world–a Cali homecoming is a true thrill. Previously I spent two month in San Francisco as an intern at Google News.

Just under a year ago today, I crammed what little I own into boxes and launched what I believe will result in a life of endless adventure. Nearly two months of the last twelve were spent in São Paulo, Brazil (with almost an entire weekend in Rio de Janeiro). After quick stopovers in New York City, it was off to India, from which I only recently returned. During those seven uninterrupted months afield, I explored many corners of India, as well as visiting Singapore and Malaysia–which feels so close I can nearly reach out and touch it. After two nights in London, I was on a plane and headed to my parents’ house.

Coming back to Seattle, it felt like I’d never left. While the light rail system was a new addition to the scene, little else seemed different from everything I had known in India, in spite of the fact no place could be more different. I had reached a point where I felt as though, yesterday I was there–Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, China, England–and today I’m here: Malaysia, Nigeria, New York, Chicago.

In that regard, it’s tough to say whether I’m really moving this time, or just making an extended cameo. In three months since I came back to Seattle, I’ve returned to something like life as I’ve known it before. On the one hand, I’ve reconstructed a social web and routine, though always keeping in the back of my mind that I am an impermanent visitor. On the other hand, because of the same social media tools that allowed me to feel a sense of belonging. I’ll keep just as close with the people I know, as if I hadn’t left.

I’ve always longed to travel, and I thought that business trips would be the coolest thing ever. After a single working journey, I was cured of any romantic notions.

While living in Bangalore, we traveled to Delhi to meet with consultants, and host an awareness event for the TEDIndia conference. Hopping on the 6:30am flight meant arriving at the airport an hour early, and leaving our place in Whitefield by 4am for the bonecrunching, hourlong ride. By the time we checked in for our flight, we were in a panic, as only a whisper thin margin separated us from being bumped to the next plane. Once seated, it was nice to know that in India, someone will always show up later than you, though it never pays to take chances.

After 2.5 hours in the air, we arrived in Delhi, hired a taxi and headed to our first meeting. After the initial adrenaline abated, I felt myself drifting in and out of consciousness, even as words were coming out of my mouth. That can’t be good. From this two-hour meeting, we headed to lunch, and then to a hotel, where I flopped down on the edge of a bed hoping for 20 winks. Far too soon, I was up and we were heading out to a series of high stakes social events with global marketing honchos from Barclays bank. Some hours and some whiskeys later, we had accomplished all we set out to do and it was now after 10pm. At last, to bed–once we figured out where we sleeping.

I don’t know if all business trips are this intense, but we made seven appointments in two cities during a single day. If work travel is anything like this, I would prefer to have as little of it as possible. As much as I love to travel, being somewhere is a far better thing.

So yes, I’m on the move again. Fortunately (or unfortunately) the big day is a month from now. It seems like a long time, given that I’ve only been in Seattle three months. The process of disentangling begins anew and this rolling stone keeps rolling.