Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Homer's Travels Look Back At 2014

I'm not sure how to describe 2014.  It wasn't a terrific year.  It wasn't the worst year either.  The year just had a fuzzy, nebulous feeling to me.

The high point of the year was our trip to Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zanzibar.  Zanzibar has become one of our favorite places in the world.  After returning I sunk into ... not a depression really ... but a severe lack of motivation.

Not long afterward there arose a family issue that I have not posted about at the request of the Wife.  I will say that it made the last third of 2014 more challenging.

I avoided political news as best I could.  The non-political news, news I did follow, was never very uplifting.  All the changes in the world around us are still ongoing and unresolved.  This made 2014 feel like an in between year.  A transition from what was to ... I'm not really sure what.

Let's look back at 2014, shall we:
  • January:  This month I continued to document my second Camino de Santiago, steeping myself in the memories.  I got a new pair of glasses - bifocals - which I'm still not sure I like as of this post.  I sold four pictures to a magazine - very proud of that.
  • February:  This month I finished my walk down memory lane and completed the documenting of my second Camino de Santiago.  I watched a couple of the rare sporting events that I actually pay attention to (the Olympics turned out better than I expected).  I sadly missed an opportunity to sell more pictures.  I went to see the Oscar nominated short films.
  • March:  The month started with a nice, relaxed week - a good way to start any month.  I wrapped up the Camino coverage with a summary and a couple of gear lessons I learned along the way.  I experienced a shift in mood with the reduction of news.  I grew a beard and promptly shaved it off again.  The Wife's student wins the state Poetry Out Loud competition.  I celebrated π day.  We went curling this month ... an activity that I am loosing interest in.
  • April:  An article about public pianos reminded me of one I saw.  I shared a couple more gear lessons I learned on the Camino.  I ranted about TurboTax tech support.  I noted a similarity between the Appalachian Trail logo and a childhood memory.  I started to get ready for my first camping trip ever.
  • May:  This month started out a bit quiet.  I put together a camping cooking system.  I went for my first camp up at Hitchcock - a success.  After a successful first camp I rethought my hydration system.  After a minor hiccup our African trip plans were finalized.
  • June:  During this month we traveled to Morocco, Kenya, and Tanzania (including Zanzibar).  It was an amazing trip.  (The trip is documented in July and August posts.)
  • July:  This month I started going through pictures and documenting our African Adventure.  I went for my second camp at Indian Cave and tested a way to pitch the tent without tent stakes.  I celebrated my birthday with ice cream cake and an apology.
  • August:  I finished documenting our African Adventure.  I finally managed to go to a Jenny Lewis concert after having failed five times before.  I went for my third camp in Preparation Canyon, had my first bad meal, and successfully tested a fire starting method.  I purged some of my eighty-seven t-shirts.  I realized that I live in a backcountry camping desert.
  • September:  I struggled with a First World Problem.  I returned to the location of my first camp for my fourth.  I ended the month quiet, unmotivated, and a bit heavier than I was before.
  • October:  I mourned the death of the Saturday morning cartoon block.  I voted early in a rather lackluster election.  I began experimenting with wearing toe socks on my long walks and ... so far ... they are working magnificently - no hot spots or blisters on my toes or anywhere else on my feet.  I wish I'd had these on my last Camino!  My last camp of the year was at another repeat location, under the starry skies of Preparation Canyon.  I padded this month with a couple picture posts.  Overall the month was pretty good with me increasing my exercising and shedding a few pounds along the way.
  • November:  The changing weather scuttled a bike ride.  By mid month the temperature would plummet and we would have our first snow.  My sixth camp that I'd hoped to fit in was not to be.  The bike moved from the garage to the basement where I put it on the trainer stand.  The Wife and I went to see a movie together ... more of a rarity these days with Netflix and our slightly different tastes in movies.  Thanksgiving arrived, the cactus bloomed, and the holiday season began.  The month went by in a flash but I reached several of my goals and was quite pleased with myself.
  • December:  I finished my reading goals early.  The favorite post of this month apparently was a reflection of reflections, a photographic post.  After arranging, rearranging, and reversing campsites, I came up with a preliminary plan for my five day camp in Rocky Mountain National Park Next summer.  The big balls went up in the oak tree once again.  I missed out on a white Christmas but I did get some good gifts as a consolation prize.
  • After a record year of walking in 2013, I cut back quite a bit during the first half of the year.  The distances did begin to pick up near the end of the year as I regained some of my walking enthusiasm. I ended up walking 352.87 miles (567.89 km). That's not too shabby.
  • Biking was a mixed bag.  On the one hand I biked 635.77 miles (1,023.17 km) , the most I've ever ridden in a year.  On the other this was not as much as I'd hoped I would ride.  I ended up skipping a lot of rides due to wind, rain, and plain lack of will.  I did do pretty well on my trainer.  I rode 1,375.4 miles (2,213.5 km) in two chunks - one in the first half of the year and the other in the later half.  I rode more in the first half but did shorter distances.  The later half had fewer rides but were longer.
  • I read twenty-four books this year as I mentioned in this post.  This was more books in one year than any since ...probably ... college.  I don't know for sure since I've only kept count since 2009.  Still, it was a good year for reading.  I'm hoping to bump that up to twenty-six next year.
  • I went to two concerts this year.  The first was Jenny Lewis With Apache Relay.  I'd wanted to see Jenny Lewis for years and finally did - enjoyed her concert very much.  The second was The New Pornographers With The Pain Of Being Pure At Heart.  This was another enjoyable concert.  Both of these concerts were at the Slowdown, an excellent small venue.
  • I posted 122 times this year.  A little better than last year but well below the two hundred plus from the first three full years of Homer's Travels.
I have a good feeling about 2015.  Several things are planned for at least the first half of the year.  In January we're going to a Fleetwood Mac concert.  In February I attempt to best my Trek Up The Tower record.  In June we are planning a vacation in New England.  In July I ride RAGBRAI.  In August I do a five day camp in Rocky Mountain National Park.  There will be other awesome things along the way.

So, let's join the solar Pope and wave goodbye to 2014 and hello to the new year, 2015.


Here's to a Happy and Prosperous New Year for all.
May all your dreams come true in 2015.

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