Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Homer's Travels Look Back At 2013

I've been doing these annual look backs since 2007 (2006 was the only year I didn't do one).  They've always been a comfort because I always feel like my year has been empty until I go back and read what I actually did.

This has been a good year I think.  Not spectacular but not bad either.  The year came to an end, for me, when I returned from my second Camino.  I've been a major homebody since then.  Staying home is how I handle the 'in between' times.

Let's look back at 2013, shall we:
  • January: No resolutions or goals were set after missing last year's goals so miserably.  A picture of a sad star brought on the most comments I've had in a long time.  I bought some new shoes for my upcoming Camino and I gave an email interview to a local newspaper. I ranted about an $0.82 cable and Best Buy.  I walked Indian Cave State Park using walking poles for the first time.  I participated in a Camino Conversation at a local outdoors store - a fun night of reminiscing and helping future pilgrims.  The month ended with an ice fishing trip to lake Cornelia.
  • February: The month started with a big hoot when we went to Duluth to dog sled.  The dog sledding led into a busy week including hiking (and slipping in the mud) and Oscar Short movie watching.  I observed President's Day with a short walk along the Lincoln Highway.  I wondered if reading internet articles were as good as reading books.  I trekked up the tower and bested my previous time by a minute and a half.  Some good blood tests prompted me to let loose a bit (The Brownies were yummy!)
  • March: I was unsuccessful in finding a Camino group.  My hikes were a mix of too much cold wind, closed parks, and urban decay.  The TSA announced changes to their rules on knives and trekking poles - a good thing for my Camino planning (the rules would got back to what they were later in the year).  I found out about the loss of a good friend RSS service.  We curled for the third time.  I started the planning of my 2013 Camino by posting the proposed stages.
  • April: The month started on a sad note with the passing of my uncle.  I began training with a pack.  I decided to set some definite goals, with dates, including when I was doing RAGBRAI and the Appalachian Trail.  The last week of this month was filled with four hikes and a second Camino conversation.
  • May:  I started this month with fewer hikes, the opposite of how I ended April.  It also snowed during the first few days of the month - a rather depressing occurrence.  The colder than normal weather didn't help when we lost at bocce in Sioux City.  I experimented and took strides toward happy hiking feet.  I bought a new set of trekking poles which I am happy with.  I saw Star Trek ... and moved on.  The month ended with me avoiding mud and rain ... and being disappointed that I avoided mud and rain.  The month also showcased a budding poet with two of her poem about walking and blisters.
  • June:  In June I decided to try to post more on Homer's Travels and less on Facebook and Twitter (despite the fact that I really don't post much on Facebook and Twitter).  Iago chased birds.  I returned to Boyer Chute and saw how the 2011 Missouri river floods had changed the landscape.  I binged on Doctor Who.  We left on our awesome summer vacation to New Orleans (documented in Homer's Travels in July) and places in between.
  • July:  July started off with the bang of fireworks - the most I've seen in a long time - and a visit to the In-Laws's lake house.  Our anniversary was celebrated in the hospital for routine tests.  My 50th Birthday was celebrated at a cousin's wedding followed by a relaxing lake kayaking trip.  I crossed the 500 mile walking goal I'd set for myself earlier in the year.  I revised my Camino packing list using the lessons I learned on my last Camino.
  • August:  My second Camino became real for me starting this month.  I started to have weird anxiety dreams.   I had one last training hike which resulted in an undesirable itching sensation.  I looked forward to all the new experiences on my second Camino.
  • September:  My nerves body slammed me only a few days before the start of my Second Camino.  I started walking my second Camino early in September placing Homer's Travels in hiatus.  I walked from Oloron - Ste Marie, France to Reliegos, Spain. 
  • October:  I walked from Reliegos, Spain to Fisterra and Muxia on the Atlantic coast of Spain completing my second Camino. I returned after a very successful Camino.  Physically I was in great shape and I didn't return with any major problems like I did last Camino.
  • November:  I spent most of November going through pictures and writing Homer's Travels' posts documenting my 2013 Camino.  I started riding bike again and slowly started to think about preparation for RAGBRAI in 2015.  I also dipped my toe every so slightly into the Appalachian Trail preparation.
  • December:  This month was, like last month, very low key.  I bought a bike trainer so I could continue by bicycle training in the house when it's too cold outside.  The Christmas spirit didn't stop at our house this year and only minimal decorations were put up.  I received my first piece of camping gear for Christmas - the Tarptent Notch.
  • This year I broke my personal record for miles hiked in a year.  Totaling the Camino training hikes as well as the actual Camino hiking, I nearly reached 1,232 miles (1982.7 km).  This was over twice the distance of the year before and over one and a half time my previous personal best (2011).  To top it off, I walked all these miles with minimal foot/leg issues.
  •  I kind of fell down on the biking front totaling only 48.5 miles (78 km) this year.  I have biked 108.2 miles (174.13 km) on my trainer in the last month as well.  I wish I'd restarted in the spring like I'd planned - probably would have helped my hill climbing on the Camino.  I'll need to get my act together if I'm going to be ready for RAGBRAI in 2015.
  • I've read zero books this year.  Well, that's not totally true as I did read the GodSon's book so I guess I really read one book this year.  Most of my reading time was spent on Wired and National Geographic magazines and articles on the internet.  I'm not sure I really liked not reading so I think 2014 will have to include some reading time.
  • In 2012 we went to no concerts.  This year I went to four concerts: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros with the Giving Tree Band, Billy IdolSteely Dan with Deep Blue Organ Trio, and Peter Frampton's Guitar Circus featuring Sonny Landreth, B.B. King, Larry Carlton, and Rick Nielsen. All of them were great. There were a few others I could have gone to, it was a very good year for concerts, but I limited my selection.
  • I posted 116 times this year.  Only one more than last year.  Since I got back from the Camino all my posts have been Camino related and I have struggled to think of any non-Camino subjects to post about.  I will try to change this next year.
I feel like 2013 started slow (the low number of posts says a lot I think),  peaked in September and October when I was on the Camino, and has faded, along with my holiday spirit, over the last two months ending with a whimper.  I suppose this is to be expected.  I had a lot of 'down' time after my first Camino as well but it was tempered by the sense of euphoria I had after completing the CAmino and Route 66.  The Camino glow I felt so strongly in 2011 hasn't been there this time leaving just a sense of blah.

I think part of me is in mourning.  The Camino is truly behind me now.  I have lived it so much the past three or four years that I think its completion is leaving a hole.  But it's time to move on to the next goal.  RAGBRAI will be here before I know it and I have a lot of training to do.  I have to teach myself the ins and outs of camping both for RAGBRAI and the Appalachian Trail.  We all need things to look forward to and goals to plan for.  I will be finished posting about the Camino in a month or two.  Then I can put it in the past once and for all and start moving full speed ahead.

Here's to a Happy and Prosperous New Year for all.
May all your dreams come true in 2014.

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