A Candle

 

It has been over two months since I last made an update for Ad Astra.  I love the blogs where you can see what is going on every day / week with folks, all of their hikes, sails, photos and adventures.  But I knew that would not be the blog that I kept for Ad Astra.  For one, my interests change constantly and if I set myself up with a scheduled blog update then I would fear that it come to feel like some sort of work.  And that is not what this is about.  I would like to think my posts so far and been nice, topical entries that have some meat to them.

Surely something significant or at least noteworthy has happened over the last 70 days?

Well, how about Ad Astra, where is she?  Since December we sailed up from Grenada, spent a week at Union Island, where Kyle and I learned how to Kite Surf!  Kite surfing is amazing, when you finally learn how to set the board into the “slot” and you just lean back and drive that line!  We have had just 3 days of lessons, so we have a long way to go to learn the sport, but I know I will enjoy it for years to come.  We will most likely buy our own kite gear a 9 and 12 m2 sizes have been recommended to me.  Union itself was surprisingly fun, and the shallow reefs provide the ideal training grounds to be able to stand in waist-deep water with the year-long constant Trade Winds.  I suppose I could write what it is like to learn in more detail, but I think there must be dozens of better sources.

From Union, we made a brief stop in Bequia and met up with our good friend Kerry.  With an eye on the calendar we decided to sprint up to Martinique to celebrate Kaiwen’s birthday, xmas and New Year’s there.  We have been here in Martinique ever since.  In short, it seems like France’s Hawaii.  Strong local economy from both agriculture and tourism.  Beautiful volcanic mountains and rolling hills with huge white cattle combined with the tropical sunlight makes everything look so beautiful it is from a dream.

But that is not what this post is about.

The reset I have been looking for is happening.  

For 22 years I worked very hard in the game industry – like everyone else in the games biz: many “crunch periods” that lasted for more than a year.  Many times I had to cut my salary to make ends meet, other times publishers failed to be good partners.  And the worst, of course, when the planning and designing, development and operations – just end up not quite being good enough.

It is a tough business.  

Of course, I have hundreds of happy experiences and wonderful times as well.  I wrote a book on Game Development and Production, I spoke over 50 times including a few keynotes.  But I lost my love for games somewhere back in 2012.  With Bee Cave Games, I felt a great passion for working with the team at Bee Cave Games, and the city of Austin is an amazing place to live, work and to play.  We made, I believe, the very highest quality social casino games ever created, but in the end we were just too late, I underestimated how quickly the costs of user acquisition were going up.  This is despite having a world-class education in user acquisition techniques and costs and a friend network that includes virtually all the rest of the people best in the world.  We had the full support of our investors, great team, even support from facebook.  But in the end we could never quite catch the falling knife.

I had lost my love for games.  I had to just leave that life.

Over the course of a month-long party of open fires and pizza in the backyard of Gillespie – we practically gave away everything we owned  – save for a couple of items we sold.  Many hugs and farewells.  Some tears.  But we slipped the dock lines.

/ / /

The holidays here in Martinique turned out to be a lot of relaxed fun – met a few dozen other cruisers and had some open-air beach BBQ good-times.  We rented a car for a week and toured the small, lovely towns.  Land-folks would not appreciate how awesome a good supermarket, but Martinique has *many* great, huge supermarkets with anything you could possibly want (other than IPA beer grrr).

Then late in December a warm, magical candle sputtered to life again.  I was excited about games again, I started playing Factorio with Max and Kyle for hours and hours at a time, fired up my World of Warcraft account for the first time in six years!  The family started playing together at 6pm each day, we would use up all the amp-hours in the house bank and reluctantly put the Macs to rest at 10-11pm.  It felt great to be a gamer again!

 

Next, I fired up PyCharm (a Python IDE) and started to work on Something.  After a few hours, I got Something doing Something.  The next day I worked on Something for over 8 hours, then the next day, and then the next.  Pretty much every day for the last two months I have been working on Something.  I signed Max and Kyle on github and connected them to Something.  They have their own sections of the code, have learned how to get, merge and push their changes.   There is a changelog and every day Something has a bunch of changes.

My love of games and the making of games has breathed back into life!

/ / /

At the same time, the pace of my life has slowed way down.  Yesterday I went on an hour kayak paddle, beached the kayak, walked up ordered a beer, sat in the shade of a coconut tree brilliantly backlit by the tropical sun.  It was a Sunday, I tried to think really hard about something I had to do, or where or what in the world should I be doing.  I kept coming up with nothing.  So I faded into a nap.



Now we cook virtually all of our own meals on Ad Astra, and spend so much quality time together.  I can feel my mind changing.  Much more calm and much more settled.  I am spending the least money I have ever in my life, but the happiest I have ever been.

Life is really good.

 

3 comments

  1. Hi Erik
    Very happy to see you post again, and a very good post it is. The L450F is my boat of choice as well and when I find one in the right price range will be putting some money down on it. I really like the mods you have made to yours and hopefully when the time comes I’ll be allowed to copy your designs. The 2 tender garage and berth at the helm station are brilliant.

    So keep enjoying the life and know that your blog posts are great.
    Cheers from Canada
    Steve

  2. You have no idea how happy this post makes me feel. Like teary eyed happy. I have a deep love and connection to you, Kaiwen, and the boys. I am so so happy to hear how very happy and at peace you are. All my love to each of you as you continue your healthy journey of peace and family time.

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