The Hacker Zephyr.2021-07-25 · 3 min read42 people. The worlds longest hackathon (3,502 miles). A life changing adventure.
The Hacker Zephyr, a hackathon on a train, that went across the country, was one of the craziest, and most fun experiences of my life.The way I ended up finding out about being accepted to the Zephyr was super funny. As soon as pairings were announced for the 2021 National Debate tournament, I hopped onto a call with @max, where he invited me. During the whole time, my partner was beside me, asking tons of questions, and prepping for our upcoming round. At that time, I couldn't have known how much that single call, and train could change my life. And here I am, 2 flights, 4 train rides later, writing about what happened. In the past year or so, I've lost contact with what I liked about programming. Entangled in school, assignments, efficiency points, I ended up losing sight of what this all was for me, just a way to make. The Zephyr was unlike any other hackathon, because there was no real competition, but just a collective goal, of making 500 ships (projects) during the entire ride. They were themed around the idea of "building your own internet", where we had a full on intranet setup on the train. This was the perfect setup, for me to build tons of micro-projects, that just spurred my inner maker, especially being surrounded with other excited people like me 24/7. Meeting people like the Libermans, and people at Vercel, also gave me perspective onto why I do these things, that risks are normal, and what I'm actually working towards whenever I create a project or company, a better world and community.The Zephyr also gave me the nuance to life I've been searching for in so long. I saw so many different places, and experienced so many new ideas. All of these, combined with everyones perspectives, really gave depth to things I've seen. For example, the simple fact of looking at how people formed connections, and how almost everyone we met was so friendly, really gave me the sense that we're all in this together. Almost every person we met, helped us and had good intentions behind what they did. Along with that, the sheer fact of looking out and seeing the sheer vastness of the desert as soon as you wake up, just gives you the perspective of how small you really are, compared to the Earth.I've also gotten to bond with my friends so much over this trip. At the start I only knew the other 41 people through interactions on the slack, and mostly online, and now I value them as some of my best friends. I just wanted to let everyone on the train know how thankful I am for ya'll, and that that train ride, truly, was a life changing experience.For pictures, check out on the ZephyrBook or check out my highlights!
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