The next decade

When I turned 30 about six months ago, I sat down in the garden at my parents house, looking over the city of Cherbourg, thinking about the earliest memories I could possibly remember. Most of them were in that house. It is easy to feel that you have fallen short of your own expectations of the future; what was then a wild sea of possibilities turned out to be more like swimming a river upstream.

As you get older, it seems that the decisions you make set you on a path that keeps getting narrower. However, not making decisions would mean that you’d stay where you are. I guess it is better to move forward on a narrowing path than to be stagnant. At least, that’s how I saw things. But sitting at that table on that afternoon made me want to revisit this. Maybe I could swim back to the ocean and see if I could explore other rivers. After all, I’m quite free. My parents are healthy and they do not need me at the moment. My sisters are growing our family. I’m happy and also healthy. What could possibly go wrong?

So, after working for fifteen years in the technology industry, I took an afternoon to think about the past, the present and the future. I thought about where humanity could go, and I thought about where I’d like us to go. I’m happy the way my last decade turned out but it felt more like I was safely floating around on a tube rather than making daring decisions that could make me keel over. I wanted to have a goal for the next decade— A star to follow, a core idea that I’d like to invest my time into and see how I could contribute to it. I found a few of them.

The next decade

Franchise Freedom

The California Zephyr

A few months ago, I watched the movie Murder on the Orient Express and it made me want to do a long journey on a train. It turned out that I wanted to go to Philadelphia to visit my friend Marie later this year and that a scenic train, the California Zephyr, was going from San Francisco (at Emeryville Station) to Chicago (view the route here).

I never really think twice about things and my friend Jorge is quite the same so we both booked a one way ticket to Chicago on that train a few days later. We boarded yesterday.

It departs on Friday at 9:10am and is scheduled to arrive on Sunday 2:50pm – at total of 51 hours 20 minutes – but at the time when I’m writing this (Saturday at 11:51am), we already are at least an hour late.

Superliner Roomette
This is the cabin we had, a Superliner Roomette

We booked a tiny sleeper cabin that has two seats facing each other that can be turned into two bunk beds during the night. The train is composed of three sleepers cars, one restaurant car, one lounge/scenic car, and three seaters cars, mostly for people who don’t travel the entire trip but just do a leg. It is hauled by two General Electric P42DC locomotives.

The trip costs $770 for two (I believe this is the cost of the cabin whether you’re two or one but I’d have to double check on this). The food is included, and so far, it has been good. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner and every time the service was perfect, and the meal themselves pretty good for something you’d get on a train.

The best part about this trip though, is not about the food.

It’s the scenery. The United States have some of the most beautiful landscape, especially from the west coast to the midwest as they are less people settled there. You get great views of nature miles ahead and you sometimes forget that you’re on a train and not in a movie.

It’s the perfect desk for a remote worked. There’s network often enough (although not all the times), all-you-can-drink coffee and really, the only thing you need to think about is how to occupy your day. Bring a book and great music (Aretha Franklin is a great start, followed by Nina Simone).

The train over-all is pretty well maintained and clean, there is a shower and four restrooms per sleepers car. I don’t think the bed can be described as comfortable but they’re good enough to fall asleep. Last night, we had a stop at Salt Lake City which woke me up.

I would recommend this to everyone. It is so beautiful especially at that time of the year because you can see the trees getting into their fall colors. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments or tweet them at me.


Je me souviens bien de cette époque, il y a une quinzaine d’années, où tout le monde sur Internet (ou presque) avaient un blog. J’ai rencontré tant de monde virtuellement et dans le monde physique en sautant de blogrolls en blogrolls, à la découverte de ce que lisaient les blogueurs que je « suivais ». Le web d’aujourd’hui m’à l’air plus déconnecté. Il me manque de parler, de discuter et d’argumenter de façon posée sur un support qui n’a de limitations que celles que j’impose.

Mais le web d’aujourd’hui m’appartient bien plus que celui d’hier, alors me revoilà, à bloguer de nouveau.

I remember this time quite well, about fifteen years ago, when everyone (or almost) had a blog. I met so many people – virtually but also physically, hoping from blogrolls to blogrolls, discovering these who were read by the one I was “following”. Today’s web seems far more disconnected. I miss talking, exchanging and arguing calmly on a medium that has only limitations that I decide.

But today’s web belongs to me much more than yesterday’s so here I am again, blogging.