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2015-6-1 by Kerrie Durham

The beginning of Travel Labs

Life is full of surprises. Four years ago, if I was told that one day I would be writing a travel blog about coding, I would have laughed. Four years ago I was herding cows in the Atlas mountains in Morocco, living with the Berber people in a tiny village that didn’t have running water, let alone internet or computers. Even up to a couple of months ago I hadn’t the slightest idea of what coding entailed or what Ruby even was.

Morocco 2012, Imgur

One night, a good friend of mine started pitching the idea of coding over a couple of beers. It was cold outside and the two tankards of Blue Moon had warmed me up to the idea of learning a computer language. After all, I thought, I am a linguistics student, learning a computer language can’t be all that difficult after my experiences learning languages such as Chinese and Russian. Boy, was I wrong. After just a few weeks with my Learning to Program by Chris Pine, I quickly discovered that learning to code is a whole different animal. Not only are you learning how to create code in order to communicate to the computer but you also have to learn how it thinks. I no longer consider sorting words in alphabetical order to be an easy task. Things that I had taken for granted such as defining ‘word’ and the idea of compiling a list has had me pulling my hair out as my code would fail again and again. But it is through these failures that I have learned what I know about precious Ruby and have come to realize that so far I am actually thoroughly enjoying myself.

In less than a month I’ll be doing what I was born to do; traveling. Every summer and every chance I get I pack my bag and head out to new country to explore life and all it has to offer from the riches of Chinese five star hotels to the rustic Moroccan village. Except this time it’s going to be a bit different and my bag will weigh just a pound heavier as I travel with this tiny Dell Chromebook throughout the roads of Peru and Ecuador. While there, I’m going to be learning to code everyday and writing about my experiences at least once a week. I’m only at the initial stages of learning how to code and the more I study and practice the more I realize that there is so much still to learn. I’m writing this blog as a way to keep myself disciplined and to track my progression as I conitnue to learn Ruby and travel. If you’re reading this I hope you enjoy what follows and I would appreciate feedback since this is a new experience for me!

Kerrie Durham is a fourth year student of linguistics at the University of Florida. She has traveled to five continents and is now embarking on her first trip into the world of Ruby.