A Lifetime of Connections and a New Era of Exploration

Early Life and First Steps in Travel

Recently I heard someone say this is the Age of Travel, and talking about how easy it has become to travel and see the world. I’m doing it now, but this is nothing like my past life. My past life was about connecting to the world.

I was born in Florida, but barely remember it as my mother divorced, left my father, and brought me back to her hometown of Atlanta. My mother told me we traveled as far as Oregon when I was 2 or 3, but I only have a faint memory of it.

After high school I had a friend in college just decide to drive to Seattle, a 2500+ mile odyssey. Another friend even went to Alaska in his twenties. But I stayed in Atlanta and learned how to dance. I also became fascinated by the internet starting in 1999.

Building a Digital Network

The internet was the start for me making friends all over the world. I worked for a a dance studio and there was a computer in the office. Sometimes, I stayed awake until daybreak, surfing the net and learning about it.

I started learning how to build websites, and perhaps by 2001 I found rent-a-coder. It was a marketplace where one could find programmers, and for a very good price. A website initially built for over $30,000 was rebuilt by me and Adrian from Romania for less than $2,000. At that moment I knew I was on to something.

Collaborations and Success

I went on to collaborate with many other programmers. I wanted to build links to a website because that was when Google was starting to get big, so I got Bogdan from Romania to make a small software tool to help me facilitate email requests for link exchanges.

Then I needed someone to find more sites to request link exchanges and I found Annada from India. I let him use the tool, and introduced him to my friend who then gave him more business. Annada went on to build a multimillion dollar company called Auroin with over 600 employees.

Then I realized that tool Bogdan made was something special, and at my Canadian friend Colin’s urging launched a software product called phpLD. And that product got really popular with 100s of thousands of people from all over the world using it. I hired several people to help but one person who really stuck by was Sergei, who has worked with me weekly for nearly 15 years.

Stepping into the World

Also around 2003 I was working part time for another dance school, and they needed a better way to organize everything, and the result is I found Volodymyr in Ukraine, and I have now worked with him for over 20 years. Volodymyr also introduced me to Mike from his hometown.

And then starting 12 years ago, I started learning Chinese, and I still study everyday and have many Chinese friends.

As you can see I was extremely connected to the outside world, but never set foot outside of the USA! (Unless you count Canada) haha

Embracing the Age of Travel

Anyways, since last September I have visited 14 Cities in China, and climbed the Great Wall. I went to the largest city in the world by population, Tokyo. Went to Thailand. And I started working with Annada in India. And by “in India” I mean I went to India! A few times.

And soon I will see Volodymyr and Mike!

At least for me, this is unequivocally the Age of Travel. I’ll be landing in Dubai in another hour or so. As I look out of my window seat, I can see there is only ocean below, I must be over the Arabian Sea. Pakistan is just to the North, and soon it will be Iran. Then I will land in Dubai.