I grew up on a farm in Tennessee. I had lots of room to run and play, 90 acres of it! My grandparents owned a store called the Book and Hobby Shop, so I had plenty of access to information and inspiration from an early age. My grandfather was a programmer with punch cards, and my uncle worked with computers in the 1970’s and 80’s.
I started coding when I was 14. This was pre-internet and pre-hard drives. By the time I was an adult, I pursued other ambitions and traveled around the US working at Renaissance Festivals until I was about 29. I had a wonderful time, got married and have 2 wonderful kids. but all good things must end. My marriage ended in divorce and I decided I needed a change. I got back into coding about this time. After a five year interval, my friend introduced me to my now wife. At the time she lived half a world away in Thailand, but that just made life much more interesting. We exchanged letters for almost 2 years until I went to meet her in Thailand(which is awesome, by the way), found work as a programmer and we got married in the fall of 2003. We moved back to the US in 2006, bought a house in Wisconsin, and I worked for a Thai company remotely from the US until about 2008 when I started working for American companies.
In 2009 I went to Silicon Valley for the first time and really fell in love with it. Mostly because of all the other geeks I got to hang out with, and partly because of the money. I only spent about 8 months there because I needed to return to Wisconsin for my daughter’s school. After she graduated, I put out feelers to return to California. We loved our house, but I wanted something permanent in the way of employment. I got a call for an interview at Gaia online, for a four-month contract, which turned into four years. I worked with wonderful people and had a great time.
Fast forward to July of 2015. While I still loved the job and the company, and especially the people I worked with every day. I was getting burned out on California. Prices had risen dramatically. Our rent that was $1500/month at this time was $2280 and would have climbed to $3000 if we stayed. My salary, though six figures, was not enough to keep up with the rising cost. Also, my wife’s parent’s health began to fail, and with my children grown, we decided it was a good time to come back to Thailand to be able to take care of them.
My Workspace in Thailand
Due to my own fault of misunderstanding my visa, I have had to return to the US for a year. The founder of Gaiaonline, Lanzer reacquired the company in December of 2016. I was fortunate enough to be hired back the following February. I am now working remotely from Wisconsin, avoiding the crushing cost of Silicon Valley. I miss seeing my co-workers face to face every day but am greatly enjoying the work, and the freedom the new position give me to travel.