Now You Are Free

It’s been several weeks since the mad rush to Christmas. I managed to finish writing up some thoughts about Amazon and alternate publishing models in the last hours before the holidays. The article had been waiting for about three weeks before I was able to write a few last bits and do the fact checking. It wasn’t the greatest timing for the post, but it was the best I could do. My routine seemed so hectic. Now it all seems so long ago.

On Christmas Day, I left for a two-week holiday in Morocco, and I confess I’ve had a hard time getting back to my normal routine. Those of you who follow me on Twitter may also have noticed that I’ve been even less active than usual. I haven’t even looked in on CES yet to see what new technologies were announced this year.

The details of my trip probably aren’t of interest to many of you, but disconnecting completely made me think about many things some of which will certainly influence what I talk about here.

One of my favorite photos from the trip is this one:

Tomas

The man in the photo is Tomáš Tomeček, an automotive engineer and race driver with a history of championships in the truck category (twice winner of the Africa Eco Race, several times winner of Morocco and Tunisia rallies and first place as navigator in the Paris-Dakar with Karel Loprais in 1995) and a passion for long-distance offroad competitions and Africa.

The picture was taken as he was waiting to start the third stage of this year’s Africa Eco Race. The day before, he had lost a lot of time because of badly filtered diesel, which caused a loss of engine power. His team had drained and cleaned the engine and tanks the night before, and in a short while he would leave the starting line to see what the day would bring.

He explained all this to me when I had first seen him the evening before at the bivouac. Very approachable, his humility is pleasantly surprising, and he was gracious despite his bad luck during the day. In my enthusiasm, I asked how the race was going. With no Internet and no GSM, I had been cut off from all the updates posted daily on his website and from the tweets he sends by SMS. Before telling me about the race he said, “Now you are free.”

I did feel free for two weeks in Morocco. It is hard to come home.

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