Monday, December 31, 2018

A Homer's Travels Look Back At 2018

2017 was the year that I became lost.  2018 was a year of recovery and of finding my way back to my path.  Sometimes it has felt that I'm just floating along and my sense of time is totally shot - don't ask me what day it is, I won't know.  Recovery has been slow and there have been setbacks throughout the year but I feel the changes within me and they are in the right direction.
Let's look back at 2018, shall we:

  • January: The year started how it usually does.  The mild depression that had dogged me all of 2017 was still there but things were improving little by little.  Birds in the backyard always lift my spirit.  The loss of Dolores O'Riordan bummed me out a bit.  Our cord cutting experiment was not successful ... yet.
  • February: The beginning of this month was packed with the school trivia contest, escape rooms, and familyTrek up the Tower wasn't for me. I went to see the short Oscar nominated films, my on-again-off-again tradition.  I bought my seventh camera.  The Olympic games gave the end of the month a non-political backdrop to my life that I needed.
  • March: I welcomed an early preview of spring.  The Wife's Mom passed away not long after.  My annual blood test turned up crappy numbers.  A repairman's mishap ended up disconnecting us for forty-eight hours.  This may have started the ball rolling with our cord cutting plans.  The first to get cut was our landline and us entering the cell phone era.
  • April: The month started out slow.  I continued to walk and was looking forward to biking.  The mid-month snow, on the other hand, was not helpful.  Despite the late snow I really began to start feeling better.  The Wife's student reached third place nationally in Poetry Out Loud - the best performance yet.  The sun came out and I biked in the real world, something I thought would never happen again.
  • May: This month, while walking and riding, my depression began to lift and I caught myself smiling again.  My seventh Caminoversary came and went full of thoughts happy and sad.  I went to my first boxing match.  A new mix of bird seed in the feeder attracted more types of birds to cheer me up.
  • June: We lost Tony Bourdain to suicide.  Summer arrived with thunder and lightning bugs.  We started our train travels through Canada.
  • July: Our travels started in Vancouver with a visit with Just A Girl, The Boy, and E.  I posted part of our travels while I was riding the train.  Next came Jasper where we celebrated nature and relived our honeymoon.  Winnipeg was our next stop and was a surprise for me.  A nice city.  We temporarily left the train and flew to Churchill to see polar bears, beluga whales, and bugs.  We returned to Winnipeg where we spent a few more days due to the train schedule.  The next train leg was our longest at thirty-eight hours and felt like thirty-eight days.  This long leg dropped us in Toronto where we had a whirlwind thirty-six hours to see this modern city.
  • August: While I posted about my vacation mostly while I was on vacation, the last two stops were not posted about until August after we got home.   In MontrĂ©al I had my fifty-fifth birthday and, like many other past birthdays, I was in a terrible mood.  I managed to work myself out of my funk enough to enjoy the city.  I dreaded the last train leg to Halifax - I was tired of trains and all the sitting I'd done this vacation.  Halifax was our last stop.  It turned out to be a nice seaside city.  We managed to get out on the water twice - on a hopper and a tall ship.  As soon as we got back we started planning our next travels.  I end the month cycling in hail.
  • September: I'd started hiking with a pack back in August.  I continued these hikes into September including one hike where I got eaten alive.  I posted pictures of all the Canadian magnets we bought (I managed to get them all up on our magnet display).  September eleventh was remembered.  The Wife planted sunflowers.  I welcomed the Fall with a hike at Hitchcock.  The rain we had this month led to some minor flooding along the Missouri river.  This led to a rare hike in the rain.
  • October: I voted early and kept my fingers crossed.  We had our first snow in the middle of the month.  I managed to see the Fall colors this year.  I remembered the fifth anniversary of the end of my second Camino.  Fallen leaves and ladybugs livened up a hike at Indian Cave S.P.  Halloween came and went.
  • November: This month we finally cut the cord.  Actually it took place at the end of July but this is when it all sunk in for me.  The election happened and, mostly, things went in the right direction.  Took a long, cold hike in Indian Cave S.P. where my drinking water froze.  We attended a beautiful wedding in Sioux Falls, SD.
  • December: The Christmas season started with the blooming of the Old Lady.  I got my almost annual curling fix with the Omaha leg of the Curling World Cup.  I kept up my hiking even in the snow and mud.  We had a low key Christmas season.  Winter started with a frosty morning.  The last week of the year we spent in Iceland.  The posts about that adventure will have to wait until next year.
  • Walking: This year I started hiking more.  This is especially true after we returned from our Canadian By Rail travels.  I began hiking with a backpack to help strengthen my legs with mixed results - I am stronger but my range with a pack got stuck between eight and nine miles.  In the end I hiked a total of 458.12 miles (737.27 km) which makes this year the fifth out of twelve for miles hiked.  More than last year but I've done better.  It should be noted that my average walking speed is the second lowest in twelve years.  I guess the backpack ... and my aging body ... are slowing me down a bit.
  • Biking: After pledging never to ride a bike out in the real world ever again, I rode my bike out in the real world.  It took me two years and nine months to convince myself to get back on the bike trails.  The biking lasted about five months before I decided to concentrate on my hiking.  In all, I rode my trainer 345.2 (555.5 km) miles and my bike in the real world 719.89 miles (1158.55 km).  The real world miles in the second longest of the last eleven years.  Not bad.
  • Books: I'd set a goal of twenty-four books to read this year.  While I should have been able to meet this target I fell a couple short.  Part of that could have been the fact I didn't read on our Canada By Rail trip reserving that time for podcast listening and post writing.   Here are my Goodreads stats for 2018.  I didn't read any real clunkers this year nor did I find a gem.  Most of my books were in the four star range with only a handful of three star 'MEH' reads.  I don't think I really was into reading this year.  Just kinda felt like I was going through the motions.
  • Concerts & Shows:  We didn't go to many shows or concerts this year but we did start to go out to see more movies which has been fun.  The three concerts or shows this year were:  
  • I posted 113 times this year - the lowest since 2012.  I found it hard to get motivated to write this year despite this being a better year for me than 2017.  My posting felt like a chore and I often rushed writing the posts so my work was a bit drab, in my opinion.  Having so many television options didn't help either.
At the end of this year I am watching the news less - there is only so much politics I can take and remain sane - hiking more and just floating along.  So what's ahead for me?  I don't know but I am confident it will be filled with new places, new people, and new adventures.  A healing of mind and spirit may also be in the stars.  The only way to find out for sure is to go out there and live.

Here's to a Happy and Prosperous New Year for all.
May all your dreams come true in 2019.

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