A (late) look back at Rails Camp US West 2016

A (late) look back at Rails Camp US West 2016

Going to Rails Camp changed my life (bear with me here); attending my first camp back in June 2015 and meeting 150-odd other like-minded people gave me the confidence to start putting myself out there and applying for my first developer role after having spent the past eight months learning to code on my own. I started at Icelab around three months later, and three months after that I sold almost all of my stuff and left Australia for the foreseeable future to start working remotely while travelling long-term.

With tickets now on sale for the 2017 edition of Rails Camp US West I figured it was time to finally punch out this post and share my thoughts on Rails Camp US West 2016.

The setting for Rails Camp US West 2016 couldn’t have been more perfect: Camp Perkins on the shores of Perkins Lake, just outside Stanley, Idaho.

Perkins Lake, Stanley Idaho
Perkins Lake

I’ve been to two Rails Camps in Australia but the vibe at Rails Camp US West was markedly different (in a good way). At the camps I’ve been to back home the focus for the weekend was to spend time “hacking” on a project (either solo or as part of a team) and to then show off the fruits of your labour to the rest of the group on Sunday night. At this camp however, there was almost none of that; I didn’t open my laptop at all over the weekend and I reckon the same is true for probably 80% of the other 40 or so attendees. Instead, we spent the weekend playing basketball and volleyball, kayaking, hiking, and even fishing. After spending most of the previous six months in large cities in Asia, getting back to nature and getting active for a few days was exactly what I needed (not opening my laptop for three days was an unexpected bonus).

Rails Camp US West 2016
Shootin' the breeze

I met a bunch of cool people, had some surprisingly in-depth conversations about life, and finally realised the scale of the lifestyle change I’d undertaken in 2016. Earlier in the week I was in Kuala Lumpur and had stopped over in Hong Kong and LA on my way to Stanley, and here I was, camped on the side of a beautiful lake with 40 or so other like-minded people, 7000ft up in the Sawtooth Range. Pretty awesome I reckon.

Perkins Lake, Stanley Idaho
How about that view?

Rails Camp US West 2017 will be held at Camp Granite Lake, around an hour’s drive from Denver, CO on September 1-4. Follow Rails Camp USA on Twitter and keep an eye on the website for more details. I hope to see you there!

Lastly, a big thank you to Zach Holman who took 50% of the pics I’ve used here.