Copy of Unnamed Design (55)
Gavin Williams

Senior Software Developer
RMS Team Member Since 2003

About Gavin

Working at a busy small-town pharmacy in the late 90’s trying to make sense of a mixed assemblage of loosely connected systems that not even the vendors seemed to understand, I faced a challenge. How to make it all work for us?

Lunch breaks, late evenings, and weekends were spent studying operating system guides, application manuals, scripting languages; basically, anything that might help me understand what we had to work with. 

When the manager for our Point of Sale vendor eventually heard that some of his team had been calling our store for help, I was brought to Atlanta to work for National Data Corporation - and that was when I first met Brad Jones. Brad left NDC a few weeks later to start what is now Retail Management Solutions. But we did continue working together on occasion and in early 2003 he offered me my first position with RMS.

My career here has proven a rewarding experience in various ways.  The dynamic nature of our industry has forced this autodidact to continue growing and learning, to develop new skills as needs be. Working as a remote employee provided me with the flexibility needed to raise three children alone. 

And now, I have finally reached a point where I find myself with a chance to discover new interests and some opportunities to explore them.

Recently, I took advantage of some vacation time to spend five weeks walking the Camino de Santiago, a 9th century pilgrimage route across Northern Spain.  While many people walk the Camino for spiritual reasons, I wanted a full-immersion cultural experience and what better way than to travel at walking speed through a foreign country for hundreds of miles, alone and unsupported.

There are several routes but the most traditional, the Camino Francés, begins on the French side of the Pyrenees at St. Jean Pied de Port and follows a network of ancient roads, trails, and footpaths for 500 miles through interior Basque Country, the wine region of La Rioja, across the Meseta Central to the region of Galicia and ultimately the Cathedral of Santiago de Compestela.  It is a route steeped in centuries of history with traditions that echo back generations.

Life was perfectly simple during my pilgrimage in Spain.  I got up before the sun each morning, packed all my possessions into a single bag strapped onto my back, and walked.  There were no appointments, no phone calls, and no expectations to meet, with only the vaguest semblance of a schedule to keep.

I wanted to remove myself from the context of “normal life” and experience the culture and history of Spain. But while walking there I encountered a global culture and spirit of universal good will which affected me deeply.

A trek like this reduces life to its basic elements – eliminating things that normally distract us and divert our attention. The more isolated towns and villages were some of my favorite places; these were places where we most often prepared meals together, and someone would find an old guitar and start playing and others would gather around to sing along or maybe just listen and feel a part of the impromptu family. Simple gifts were the ones received with the sincerest gratitude. Preparing a meal for a dozen new friends with basic rations, one dirty pan and a couple broken kitchen tools – stressing over it like a holiday turkey because providing a beautiful meal shows that you care about them, even though they all know and acknowledge the challenging conditions and have no expectations beyond sharing with you. Time spent with someone you just met being sincerely interested in who they are, what their life´s struggles and joys are, and remembering their name the next day. Offering to share a dry place to sit and rest when someone walks by who looks like they could use a break.

There is a place for these things in “real life” but their value is so often lost. Grace is often missing from the giving and gratitude from the receiving. I don’t know how to change that for everyone – but, I hope that my experiences from the Camino have taught me enough and will stay with me long after.