At one point when I was in college, I spent a few weeks touring around Europe. I had a bicycle with me, a backpack with a couple changes of clothes, and wandered throughout parts of France, Spain, and Italy, staying in hostels and living a carefree life. However my few weeks were nothing compared to what many students in Australia often do. I met a few dozen students at different times from down under that were on a walkabout from school, traveling around the world for a year, experiencing life on their own terms, far away from home.
I was somewhat jealous, and I even considered joining them for an extended vacation of my own. I never did, but I've always wondered if I should have. My wife and I read One Year Off about seven or eight years ago and debated taking a walkabout the world with our kids, but decided against it. As I've gotten older, I'm not sure it's the way I would want to live my life, but I admire those that can live like that. Personally, I'm not evens sure what I would do on a sabbatical, something that my company, Red Gate Software, has provided to a few of my co-workers.
James Moore of Red Gate, is combining the idea of a sabbatical away from work with a walkabout in another country. As James looks forward to the future of software tools, he's decided that reading feature/bug requests and doing customer surveys isn't enough. James is actually touring the US, meeting with customers, watching their developers in action and trying to learn how database development is evolving in a rapidly changing modern world with cloud services, new version of SQL Server and ever increasingly complex applications.
I don't know how this walkabout will turn out, but I think it's great that my company is actively trying to make sure that they solve the right problems, in the right way, for their customers. I think Red Gate has done a great job in building simple, intuitive, but incredibly useful tools over the last decade and I'm looking forward to seeing what James comes up with after this trip.
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