It hadn’t really dawned on me before now but a year ago today I arrived in Ireland.
My initial plan was to take three months out from thinking about work to reconnect with what’s most important to me, and then start taking on projects. Well, so far I’ve managed to pretty much stretch that three months into a whole year and who knows how much longer I’ll be able to get away with it for?!
Its not all be play and fun (but a lot of it has been if I’m completely honest) and I’ve enjoyed dabbling in projects both here and back in the UK, some paid and some favors. I’ve built websites, helped organize grassroots digital engagement, helped to record a literary festival with some great bloggers, done digital strategy consultancy for a few different types of business, and am working at the moment on what could be a really huge, great project (but I can’t say too much about that just yet).
One thing though I have deliberately avoided getting involved with is central government projects. I really wanted to try and shake all of that out of my system. By the time I left, I had pretty much given all the energy I had to my work at the Ministry of Justice and needed to get some distance from it. At the same time that meant that a lot of the stuff I did, and the people I worked with, was (and is) close to my heart.
But of course the beauty of the connected world is that I have stayed in almost as close contact with many of my former colleagues and friends in Whitehall as I had when I worked there. I’ve also indulged in regular flying visits to London to catch up with people (and sneak up to the Apple Store for technolust injections).
Two weeks ago I was back for the third barcamp and a chance to hear from those still at the forefront of government online. Still loads of energy, enthusiasm and optimism. But also still lots of the same frustrations and blockages that got in the way of my job (and despite all the great strides forward that have occurred over the last year). Amazing how much, and how little, has changed.
Its a funny old thing and I find that, despite myself, I still care a lot about what happens in that world.
And I still have opinions.
And I realise that I can voice those opinions more freely now than before.
So, I might do that.
And I might start doing some more work back there (if anyone will still have me. And lets be honest, a few people were glad to see the back of me).