Doug's Exile To California Ends

Griffith Observatory - Los Angeles

When I returned to my home in Austin after my trip to Australia and New Zealand, I found a message on my answering machine from a client of my former company (SSI).  It seems they were moving from the SSI software to a billing system from another vendor and wanted my assistance during the transition.

The job was to last "a couple of months".  So I thought, sure... why not?  That will allow me to have some work done on the house to get it ready to sell, and put a little extra traveling money in my pocket as well.

A week later, I was in Los Angeles.  On my first day at the office, we had a planning session - during which I realized that it was going to take longer than two months - I estimated it at six months.

As the project progressed, we had delays in delivery of the software from the vendor; we had management changing our priorities; and finally, we had new management changing to a completely different system from a different vendor.  All these factors combined to turn my two-month stay in California into...

...almost two years!

Twenty-one months to be exact.  All the while, my itch to travel was getting more and more intense.  Not that I didn't scratch it a bit from time-to-time.  Early on, my client sent me to Hawaii to meet with their software vendor.  And, while in California, I made various one- to five-day trips up and down the Pacific coast -- including four trips to San Diego, two trips to San Francisco, one to San Jose, one to the Gold Country (north-central California), and a couple of motorcycle trips to Yosemite National Park (returning along the coast on Highway 1).  Add to that a trip to England with girlfriend-at-the-time to visit her parents, and a three-day sailing trip to the Channel Islands, and you can see that I didn't stay in one place very long.

My involvement in the project finally came to an end on December 17, 1999.  With the holidays approaching, I knew it was not the best time to put my house on the market, so I decided to traipse around Europe for a month.  Besides, I needed a break after the extended job in California.  Little did I know, it would be another year (almost to the day) before I would finally depart the U.S. to begin the world tour I had been planning for so long.