I'm Tom, serial boat bum, traveller and geek. Currently all round IT Guy somewhere around Australia. You could hire me if you want.
How this website came to be.
In late 98 I found my self in a Car Rental come internet cafe In St Lucia, West Indies having just sailed across my first ocean. I needed a handle, and an Email address. "Oceanhippies" was a T-Shirt from the 1/2ton Raceboat Dragon Fly I'd raced on previously. I was far from home and hairy, it seem like a good idea at the time.
Some months later I wrote some simple HTML newsletters, with photos scanned in. By the time I'd sailed half way across the Pacific it was on Geocities.I had a blog, years before the phrase was invented. Initially a way of sharing my travels with family and friends it mouldered a bit after my second trip, I was working as a party themer then as a physics Tech. In 2003ish I got involved in community WiFi and a new site spang up, this time on .net. With the Travels mouldering on .org. Geeky stuff about Wireless and linux.
The WiFi got me a new job in IT, new career, then I'm off again 10 years on form the original trip, I'm sailing across the Atlantic again. I mashed the 2 sites into one and this was my travel blog again. A flight home from Austraila, a year working in the UK and off again. This time I did what I should have done a decade earlier, got the off the boat in Darwin Australia.Five years later and I'm an Australian Citizen.
I resigned the nearest thing to a proper Job I'd had at Lewes College in 1998, hitched a lift across the Atlantic on a friends boat Ramprasad. Unfortunately we joined the ARC, the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. It has lectures, Jimmy Cornell founder and then owner of the ARC was supposed to be giving a talk on Atlantic Weather. The talk he actually gave was more like World Cruising routes. Odd that he's got a book by that title..... I however was immediately smitten, If i could only hitch a lift to these far flung places I'd never heard of.
As we got to the Caribbean the need for modern com's raised its head, I duly searched for a handle, something that summed me up that I could use as a handle.
"Oceanhippie" seemed to fit the bill, it originated from a T-Shirt design (that I've never actually seen) from a racing yacht called "Dragonfly" from, Brighton Marina Yacht Club. At this point it was just and email address on hotmail set up in the Rent a car office internet cafe in Rodey Bay. Hotmail frequently didn't work so it soon moved to @yahoo.com. It didn't become a website till mid south pacific. In the late nineties internet access in the Pacific Islands was not very developed. It was much better to upload small photos to a free system like geocities than it was to email them. This website was born. The content of this site's still arround, its called trip one.
The original design was based on one I'd done for the Uni of Sussex Sailing Club in 95ish, that due to the slow moving nature of the net in those days was still available on the Uni's servers. The old purple background was originally acquired in the early nineties from a server at reading university.
On my return to England just in time for the millennium, equipped with some dodgy software from Asia, and a yellow book on HTML it got "improved". I wasn't back for long, after a brief sojourn working for what's now called Amazing Parties, I hitched a lift with Campbell and Skanna to the Caribbean and got a lift back with Sam on Ramprasad. Content from this period I call "Trip Two". By this time I was skint, really skint. Fortunately Steve my boss from Amazing Parties accepted my help in dragging his hobie tiger up the beach on the sunday (with my ruscsack still on my back) and I was at work on the wednesday. I should mention sherm at this point. She's a mate from long back, she has a house, she frequnelty refers to me as her "Rent Boy". Without her non requirement for deposits id be long dead.
Sherm had also taken my Job at Lewes College, left for trip one and subsequenlty moved to Varndean College. I was looking to leave Amazing Parties, unless you've worked in the party industry at Chrismass you won't know how manic it is. The award winning Captain Nemo, Submarine and Atlatis party in a freezing dark marquee in London Zoo nearly broke all of us. I wanted out. Shem's job as Physics Lab Tech was duly passed back to me.
Part 2 the geek years.
A bit of badly spelt HTML (yeah I know but can't be bothered to fix it) isn't terribly hi tech. As time went on things did get more technical, prettier and better layed out. Then Matt, long tern sailing mate wrote Brighton Sailing Club a program for scorring races. I was then their webmaster, and sailing sec. A better way of pubishing the results to the website wias right up my street. I forced him to use MySQL not access for his database. Seriously nasty query's ensued but his soft and my website shared a database. I could now geek.
Exposure to just how geeky professionals could get came when I contacted PierToPier.net I was keen to expand they're wifi net to cover the SC, so I could upload the results before I got drunk. Things went badly wrong. PierToPier was full of people who rather liked fiddling with computers and drinking. Two subjects I could equate to. I had time. The Post of Lab tech at Varndean was not exactly arduios, and it was term time only. Plenty of time to learn new stuff.
At this point the website split, the old one called oceanhippie.org stayed unchaged and a new oceanhippie.net appear with wifi computers and dingy sailing in etc in it. The 2 site ran in tandem.
This was the neares thing to a settled reliable period my life has seen. Hell I even bought my one and only return air ticket.(I'm big on singles)
2 music festivals and few broken dinghy masts later, the IT dept at the college decided I was too much of a risk left as a user and I moved sideways into the IT dept. Found I could do IT proffessionaly quite well too. Exposed me to a proper developer. However 5 long years speant a varndean the departures of close friends to london, Australia and other factors it was time to leave. This was brought home when 3 IT colegues handed in their notice. A month after that I was unemployed cluctching the details of 2 stangers called Steve and Katrin who owned a yacht. I think you can see where this was going. Its going west again.
Part three Off Again.
The site by this time was database driven and so on, but still needed work. org and net got merged. Old out of date geekyness got thrown out back in with the travels. Oh and haven't you heard of we 2.0 darling? this is the 21st centuary. Still it wasn't ready, but I was packing a laptop and knew how to use it. Even though I still didn't know how to use its spell checker.
Possetion of superior laptop, superior as in smaller, better made equiped with a 12volt PSU and a boosted wifi antenna rather the PC world Stats. Off I toddled.
Steve and Katrin deposited me in Rodney bay marina, clocking up my 4th Atlantic crossing. Alan then took me on to Oz and a reunion with old friends from Trip One and home. The Pacific allowed further developments, thos long night watches are jsut hte hting for playing with CSS till it works. Unfotunatly no employment was forhtcomming on my return, well not steady. But there was the volvo ocean race and the Vendee Globe on net to watch. So some cool ideas and a bit of work made for pretty galleries. Chrismass saw me employed working christmass for Amazing Parties.... Sigh..... Due to whats known as a "Cock up" we ended up marrooned in a hotel in Nottinghapton on the day before new years eve. Ouch. A complely new look was born that day and in the van on the way home.