I'm always amazed at just how much happens in a year. At the end of each year, grateful for a gimme topic to write about, I sit down to write this post. And each time my first thought is, "Yeah, but not that much happened this year." Then I go through my archive for the year and look at the titles of my posts, and I realize that the previous year's farewell post seems to have been forever ago, and that tons has happened since then.
Some quick highlights of the year:
1. I bought an island with nine great friends. I've already written about this ad naseum, but it's one of those ridiculous life goals that you hope might actually come true, worry that it might be too farfetched, and then is every bit as good as you had hoped when realized. I'm really grateful to all of the people bought in and trusted me to make it happen, and for the sellers who were great to work with. This upcoming year is going to be an exciting one for the island.
2. We made some huge progress on Sett. We opened it up to the public and now have over 4500 blogs hosted, growing at a steady 10% per week. We're still in our infancy, but I'm really proud of the platform we've built, and I'm humbled every day by the great blog posts people host with us. Even if your only interaction with Sett has been reading my blog, you've been a part of the process, and I'm grateful for that.
3. I didn't miss a single post on my goal to post two blog posts per week. That's 104 posts this year, which is daunting even in retrospect. I'm not one hundred percent happy with the quality of each of those posts, but some of those posts were really good, and I'm glad I was able to come up with something I considered to be good for every post. I also stuck to my promise to not go to a single movie in a theater all year.
4. I became prompt. I'm on time to the minute around 99% of the time, which was something I was really bad at before. I feel like this shows a lot of respect for my friends and new people I meet, which makes me happy.
5. I fixed my credit and finally got into the free-miles-for-getting-credit-cards game. I earned over 250k frequent flyer miles, which I'm just starting to spend, and I have 150k more on the way.
6. I traveled to around fifteen countries and over thirty cities. New countries this year were: Holland, Switzerland, Guadaloupe. British Virgin Islands, and Turks and Caicos. The travel highlight of the trip was going to Japan with nine friends. In fact, that was one of my all-time travel highlights. I also went on a great Transatlantic cruise that was probably the best cruise I've ever been on.
7. Speaking of cruising, I built Cruise Sheet, a site to find and book the best cruise deals.
8. More than any year in recent history, I feel like I made a lot of great friends this year and deepend several important friendships. I'm grateful every day for the amazing friends I have, so it was surprising to see such an improvement here.
9. I wrote a book about habits, which I'm working on editing now and will release in January.
10. I started a bunch of new things, including learning ballet, meditation, working out, and running linux on my computer.
11. I don't know the exact stats, but I gained a lot of muscle and lost some fat, changing my appearance and strength in a way I would not have thought possible. All credit is due to Dick Talens.
There really weren't any lowlights to speak of, but I was not as disciplined and productive as I was in 2012. My productivity was so high and focused that year that it's a really high bar to reach, and I did not reach it. What got in my way was travel, and I worry that I'm traveling too much. Even now, I have a trip planned every month of 2013 except for June.
When I'm home in the RV I have a very strict regimen and schedule that I enjoy and which enables me to be extremely productive. When I travel I probably cut my productivity in half on average. I'm not exactly sure what the solution is, but it probably requires some structure and restraint, two things which have been real weak points while away from home. A running todo list, which I haven't kept in a while, may help me transition from travel mode to work mode faster.
So, although I don't set resolutions, an immediate goal that coincides with the New Year is to improve productivity while traveling. I think I should be able to do that within the next few months.
I've also lost a little bit of focus. It hasn't really impacted my work with Sett, but alarm bells are going off in my head to make sure that I don't regress back to having a million projects at once that never get finished. Right now I have Sett, Cruise Sheet, the Island, a new backpack to release, and a book that needs to be finished. Once I finish the book, get the backpack moving, and get Cruise Sheet to where we can accept bookings directly, I'll feel much better. I have no new projects on the horizon, so I think that i should be able to get back to a tight focus in the first few months of the year.
I intentionally did not date at all in 2013, which I plan on continuing until the end of 2014. This was easy almost, but not all, of the time. I look forward to enjoying that freedom from distraction in 2014, but am also looking forward to switching gears a little bit at this time next year. I hope that by then I'm in a position to focus on dating and eventually building a family.
I was hoping to read one hundred books this year, but actually only read around forty. Working out left me more tired at night, which cut my average reading time from an hour and a half to less than an hour, and I didn't keep up with the reading habit while traveling. I'm not really too broken up about missing the mark on this, because I think what replaced reading (travel and excercise) made it worth it.
One interesting insight I had this year was that I don't really want to be traveling solo very much. I've done a fair amount of that, and I enjoy it, but at this point if I'm alone I'd rather just be working. If I'm going to be traveling, I want it to also be creating shared experiences with friends, and be time spent bonding with friends.
Goals and Thoughts for 2014
My biggest goal by far in 2014 is to get Sett to the point of making real usable revenue. I have a lot of goals on the product side of things, but we've been at this for a while now, and it's time to really move from being a product to being a business. I think we're in a good position to make that leap, but it will take a lot of work.
My next biggest goal, which is tied to the first one, is to improve my productivity while traveling. This will be my last year of not dating, so it's important that I really work as hard as possible and maximize the focus that comes along with that sacrifice.
I'm also really looking forward to establishing the island. This year we'll build the main yurt, clear all of the trails, and build the fire pit. That, along with some basics like a boat and a composting toilet, will make the island into a place that can be enjoyed, rather than just be worked on. The temporal scale of the island is really exciting to me-- I love that we're starting on something now that will be part of our lives forever.
An island-like goal that has been bubbling up towards the realm of possibility is to buy an airplane. It's not remotely financially feasible for me to do right now, but I'm hoping that it will be within the next two years. I have this fantasy of becoming a pilot and flying around, taking my friends and family with me as I go along. Buying the island made this more practical, since I'd be able to get there very cheaply in just a couple hours from Boston, where I have a lot of family.
Well, that's my year and some thoughts on this next year. My favorite thing about this sort of reflection is looking back at the highlights and realizing that almost all of them were complete surprises. Every year seems like it will be predictable and go according to plan, but it never does, and the results are always better than imagined. I hope that the same could be said for your year, and that we can all say the same next year as well.
Photo is sitting on top of a skyscraper in New York.
La Revedere means Goodbye in Romanian. To make these posts have less boring titles, I'll do a different language every year.
Well, there goes another year. Every time a new year rolls around, my initial impression of the past year is that it was pretty uneventful compared to previous years. Then I go through my blog archives and think about what has happened, and I realize that it has been, again, a pretty monumental year.
First some highlights:
As expected, dating was a big theme this year. I started out with a new relationship and ended the year with a failed attempt at another. I definitely had a fantasy that I would fall in love with the first person I met and settle down with her, but that's not how it happened. Still, it feels good to be dating again and I do feel like I'm moving towards finding someone to settle down with.
I love San Francisco so much that every time I return here from a trip, I resolve to stay for a while and enjoy the city. That never happens. Next week I'm going to Tahoe, then Vegas the following weekend, and then to Austin for SXSW the week after that. Cabo or Hawaii follows in early March, but in late April comes the most exciting upcoming trip: a sixteen day cruise to Rome.
Cruises are full of old people. As best I can tell, that's because young people haven't figured out how awesome and cheap they can be. In fact, I can easily say that of all the travel I've done, cruises probably represent the best bang for the buck.
Before I tell you how to get them cheap, let me tell you why cruises, especially long duration one-way cruises are amazing.
One of my favorite aspects of cruises is that they can take you to places you may not otherwise visit. For example, the cruise my friends and I are taking stops in the Azores, Seville (Spain), Valencia (Spain), Barcelona, Monte Carlo, and Rome. Without cruising, I probably would never make it to the Azores, and those southern Spanish cities are unlikely as well. They're just too remote and too expensive to come up at the top of my list when choosing a trip.