Sabbatical Update, Week 1: Camping

4 minute read

Welcome to my first sabbatical update post! I'll be publishing one of these every Friday or Saturday (yeah, I know my first one is on Monday) which gathers together everything I've been working on and what I plan to work on next. Since I live alone and am working alone on most of these projects and nobody is paying me to do any of it, I need to make up some mechanism of my own for accountability. I hope publicly committing to things and explaining what I've done can serve as that mechanism.

The source of record for my weekly updates will be my Zettelkasten. If you haven't yet, check it out – it's a fun place where I take notes and share what I know with the rest of the internet. I will be cross-posting update posts on Control-Alt-Backspace every week, but you may have a better experience reading in the original format using the link provided below, especially if you want to follow some of the links (they'll open in the same browser tab instead of loading the same giant page a bunch of separate times). If you notice a bunch of WordsSmashedTogetherLikeThis throughout the post, that's just the way I do links in the Zettelkasten (see WikiCamelCase).

If you're currently on Control-Alt-Backspace, you can read this post on Soren's Zettelkasten.

I spent this last week camping in southeastern Minnesota (at GreatRiverBluffs and BeaverCreekValley state parks) to give myself some space to decompress and switch off my old job before switching on my new job. I've been hiking, reading, playing lots of LaBelleLucie, and thinking big thoughts.


Nothing around the web this week (I didn't even have internet access most of the week!).

Selected new/updated/newly relevant ideas from the Zettelkasten:


Finished (follow the link for my summary and thoughts):

Lifetime reading progress: 1/2 books for August.

Tasks and projects completed

Nothing, since I didn't do any work this week (as planned). Actually, I created some new tasks and projects!

Miscellaneous thoughts and anecdotes

  • I got to the end of my list of hand-off tasks at my old job two hours before my walkout time. It's not often that you get to say “I got to the end of my to-do list.”
  • A public Zettelkasten is a way of saying, “This is what I've learned about life so far. How about you?”
  • Spotted at an interstate rest area: a disabled-parking-only sign indicating a $200 fine for parking in the spot without a permit. Then, on the back of the sign, a sticker indicating a $1,000 fine for defacing the sign. I'm not quite sure what it says about your society when the penalty for damaging the sign is five times more than the penalty for actually doing what the sign tells you not to do, but it's something...maybe just that the laws are too complicated (see LargeGovernmentVsVoluminousLaws).
  • TheLinkedIn has now sent me three emails suggesting that I apply for the open position at TheFederatedInsurance that I just resigned from. I'm glad they think I was a good fit, at least.
  • In Victorian Britain, eating fried mice was believed to cure bed-wetting, according to Wikipedia (cited in a source I can't easily verify). Let me know how that one turns out for you.

Looking ahead

Next week will be dedicated to planning and cleanup of both my digital and physical life, so I can start in on real work with a clean slate. I probably have enough cleanup to fill several weeks, but I'll get bored if I try to do more than a week, so I'll tackle the high-priority stuff this week and then mix in the rest over the following weeks.

I have dozens of small items on my to-do list, but a couple of particularly important ones:

  • Develop a system for when I will work deeply and when I will check my email, the news, social media, etc., over the coming weeks, and figure out how to enforce it using technology as appropriate (e.g., Freedom).
  • Gather together lists of all the software changes I'd like to make and blog posts / other writings I'd like to publish during this sabbatical into one place.
  • Clean out my closets and finish moving some books (I got new bookshelves a few weeks ago and still haven't put all my books back where they belong).
  • Deep-clean my apartment.
  • Finish importing a wide variety of items from information tool to information tool (add topics to my Zettelkasten, add bookmarks to my bookmark manager, pull the handful of notes I took at my old job that weren't specific to that job and deserve a permanent home into my personal systems, transcribe reminders, and on and on).