I can't believe the year's over already! As I look over my past year, it feels like the things that happened last January were just a few weeks ago. Trips blended together to create a whirlwind of a year that, as asual, was packed with a lot more than it feels like at first glance.
This was a frustrating year for Sett. At times I really got into the groove, but a lot of times it felt like I was putting out fires and struggling to figure out how to make Sett earn money. It's a bittersweet decision to stop actively working on it, but it feels good to start this next year without that obligation. I've already written about this in detail, so I'll move on.
Between a series of crazy flight deals, a great cruise, an obscene amount of frequent flyer miles, and a newfound interest in very rapid-fire trips, I went to a ton of places this year. There are so many that I'm not really willing to sort through TripIt's terrible interface and count up all of the places I went. My guess is 20 countries and at least seven months on the road.
It's been an amazing time, but it also feels a little bit unsustainable. Right now I probably have 4-5 "bucket list level" trips planned, and what I'm most excited about is finding some time to sit in a room by myself and work. The idea sounds downright exotic right now.
The biggest travel highlight was definitely the cruise that ten of us went on across the Pacific. Great stops, and a fantastic group of people. I have two cruises booked for the next year, and I'm very excited about them, even with my looming fantasy of blocked-off work time.
My favorite new country this year was probably Austria. I was only in Vienna for two nights, but I instantly fell in love with the city. Definitely looking forward to making it back at some point.
In 2014 I also started to learn a bunch of new languages by doing a Pimsleur tape every day. I completed three months of German, Russian, and Italian, and the single month available of both Thai and Arabic.
The three month courses are great and very much worth doing. Even Russian, which was the hardest language I've ever learned, left me with enough proficiency to be useful in Russia. The one-month courses didn't leave me with much. I went to Thailand after doing the Thai tapes and felt like I couldn't do much beyong saying numbers.
Going forward I'm demotivated from doing those short courses. The long ones I have left are French, Portuguese, and Korean. I'll complete those this year, which will bring me up to thirteen languages total. That might be enough for me, and then I'll circle back and reinforce languages I've already learned.
Superhuman By Habit
In last year's post I claimed that I was going to release my book in January. Then I got busy with Sett and travel, began procrastinating on it, and didn't get it out until September. I'm not proud of that delay, but I'm very proud of the book. It has excellent reviews on Amazon, has been selling fantastically, and has already started generating some really rewarding success stories.
The success of this book has gotten me excited about writing books again. I have two non-fiction and one fiction in mind for 2015. I think I may write one each on the cruises I'm going on and on the Amtrak trip I won. Or I may just focus on one or two.
Mixed Martial Arts
Unexpectedly, I got really excited about mixed martial arts this year. It's a weird fascination for me, as I had literally zero interest in it in 2013. I took one lesson, went to two UFC events, one Invicta event, and one amateur MMA event. I've also signed up for some boxing classes, so I'll learn a bit more. I'm a little too scared of injury to do much personally, but I continue to enjoy it.
Just a few weeks ago I decided to move to Las Vegas. Tomorrow (or so) I'll close on a condo. A few days later I'll visit and get to see it for the first time. I'm really excited about this, but it's hard to articulate why. Maybe it's just because it's a big change and I'm shaking things up a bit. I'll write more about this in the next couple weeks as I see Vegas through the eyes of a resident for the first time.
I won an Amtrak residency, which is probably the coolest thing I've ever applied to. Some time this year I'll get to take a very long distance Amtrak ride in a private compartment, and spend the time working on a book. I'm equal parts flattered to have been chosen and excited to get to do the trip.
I also won the Ubuntu wallpaper contest, so my photo of the Peruvian Andes is shipped with every copy of Ubuntu 14.10. I don't normally enter contests, so it was cool to win two.
I finally bungee jumped! I've been wanting to go since 2009 or so, but I've been waiting to do the tallest bungee jump in the world, the Macau Tower jump. It was a great experience, and I'll be going again in the next few weeks (it's much cheaper the second time).
Since some time in March, I've written a blog post every single day. This is due to a large bet with Sebastian Marshall, and so far we've both been consistent. Sometimes I really like this habit because it does spur some good blog posts, but other times I feel like I have higher priorities and I end up just writing as busy work. I don't think this is the best schedule for me, but I'm sticking with it for the bet, and am happy I've been sticking with it.
I've also continued my streak of posting twice per week without fail, bringing the count up to over 100 weeks in a row.
We made some great progress on the island this year. I was hoping we'd have the yurt up, but we didn't get it done. We did build out a really cool fire-pit area, get the yurt platform built, and blaze a mile or so of trails. I went up four times with family and friends, and really had a great time working on the island.
What's Up With 2015?
My predictions for the year are just perennially terrible, so I cringe even attempting it. The biggest priority change for me is dating. I've taken a few years off from dating, and I'm happy that my three-year ban is over. I'll write more about this soon, but dating is soon going to be a top priority, hopefully leading to finding someone to settle down with. My goal is to be in a relationship by the end of the year that's heading in that direction.
I'm also hoping to have a good idea on what I want to pour myself into next. My strategy with this is similar to my dating strategy: put effort into it, but don't force it. I'll put myself in a position to come up with ideas and hack on stuff, but now that I know I can fully commit to projects, I'm going to be cautious about pulling that trigger.
I see this year mostly as a year of consolidation. I've let things slip because of Sett, so the best thing I can do for my next project is to tighten up. New books for steady income, building a home in Vegas to have a high-productivity home base, good trips with friends, eliminating obligations, getting back into dating.
As I've said before, though, one of my very favorite things about life is the unpredictability. I tend to jump quickly on opportunities that drag my life all over the map, so the truth is I have no idea what this year will bring, and I'm excited about that.
I hope that you had your best year yet, and that next year is even better. My readers have been a really positive part of my year, so I hope I've been able to return the favor.
Photo is the Cathedral in Milan. The roof was the coolest part!
Since you're a Bitcoin enthusiast I'm wondering if you plan to implement a ChangeTip.com tipping button to your blog posts?
Tynan, I hope you are not offended if some of us secretly hate you :o) You are living the life we wish we were but we aren't motivated enough or adventurous enough to do it.
--- Great post. Kudos on your year.
Cool. I would encourage you to write books and online for your income. You have a great way of seeing the world and explaining that to the reader. And, you can write from anywhere in the world. Your not stuck in one location like other jobs.
It's more than halfway through the year, which means I'm overdue for an update on my dating situation. If you're just tuning in now, I took three years off dating with the intention of looking for a serious relationship, starting January 1st 2015.
Thanks to an introduction from a reader, I met a fantastic girl who I dated for a little over four months. I don't want to say too much about the relationship, mainly because I don't think she wants to be splashed around the blog. I will say that I think that the blame for us not working out falls squarely on my shoulders, and while I think that breaking up was the right decision, I'm certainly not sure.
If I'm honest, my motivation to date is really low. It's one thing to declare it as my first priority, and it's another for it to actually be the driving force in my life. It's definitely not.
Something critical I've realized through my re-entry to dating is that I'd rather be single than date someone I'm not extremely excited about. Just finding someone I'm excited enough about to go on a first date is very difficult. I've never actually met someone through a cold approach who I thought could be a long-term partner, and my online dating screen leaves me about half a dozen girls in any major city.
You know how you get excited to do all sorts of stuff, but you forget and it doesn't pan out? Well, like I wrote in "The Joys of Public Accountability," making a public commitment helps you follow up with things.
I'm going to set aside some of my income for charity henceforth forever. I'm thinking 10%, but I'm not sure yet. I just listened to the audiobook of "The Richest Man in Babylon," and it was really amazingly excellent and it's got me inspired. I ran a couple small charity events in the past in London, and given a bit of money to charity, but nothing systematically. So, I'm committing to doing that.
To clarify a few points -
Note that I wrote "set aside" - I'm not going to dump the money on whoever has nice marketing materials, I really need to do some research. If I've got the money sitting in a bank account marked for charity for a year or two before figuring out what has high impact, so be it. The path to hell is paved with good intentions, and I want to make sure I'm supporting the right causes. I'll let you know the who/what/when/where/why/how of how I'll be going about charity later.
Note that I wrote "some of my income" - I'm not sure exactly what I'll donate on. All cash received annually? Earned income? How about if I get stock options as part of a deal? How about if I'm in a deal where I've agreed to automatically reinvest the profits for the first few years? Only when I cash out? I'm not sure on these details yet. Definitely earned income cash, at least. I'll figure out the specifics later.