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Pat Dryburgh

It started with an email from a woman named Diana. It was December, 2010. I had just crossed the 6-month mark as a full time freelancer, and was being presented with a job opportunity at a little company in Palo Alto, California.

A little company called Aol.

After several phone interviews, I was asked to fly down to the Golden State for further discussion about the teams that were looking for fresh design talent. One of those teams—the mobile division—was headed up by a fellow Canadian by the name of David Robinson. David and I hit it off right away, and by the end of the trip things were looking like I’d be joining his team as a mobile user interface designer.

If only I’d gone to school.

You see, the immigration office of the United States of America has tightened up the rules for those coming into their country to work. Even with a job offer in hand, I wouldn’t be able to get into the US without a post-secondary degree. As a bible college drop-out, I simply don’t qualify.

I was bummed, mostly because I was excited to work with David and his team on some pretty awesome projects, including what would become their rather impressive iPad app, Editions.

Back in Ontario, my freelance career continued to grow and develop. I was working with awesome clients on awesome projects. At the beginning of the year, I found myself in California for a few weeks working with Ongo. California was awesome. The West Coast was awesome. And I wanted to see more.

So, I made my way to Vancouver, BC.

The city was beautiful. The weather was much nicer than what we were experiencing in Ontario and the people seemed very friendly. I really enjoyed my time there, relaxing and taking in the scenery.

And then, I got a Twitter message from David Robinson.

Turns out, David’s brother Danny was based in Vancouver and was working on a new start up business and I should meet up with him because we’d really hit it off and there might be an opportunity to work with Danny and his team.

He was right.

Danny and I grabbed coffee and talked for an hour or two about design, apps, user experience, the city of Vancouver, and more. The projects he was working on all sounded really intriguing, and he felt strongly that there was a place for my input and expertise.

I started doing a bit of freelance work with the team. They were really happy with what I was doing, and wanted to have me work from their office in Vancouver.

So, that’s where I’m going.

In less than four days I will be flying across this great nation of ours to a city I never dreamed I’d move to. I’m excited, anxious, and a bit nervous about shipping all of my guitars.

It’s been nearly two years working by myself. It’s been awesome, but I’ve definitely missed working closely with a team. I will be working full time with Danny and his team, as well as maintaining my freelance work on the side.

I can’t wait to share what we’ll be working on on the left coast. But first, I’ve got a plane to catch.

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