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New year and so much to do…

It’s a new year, so time to get to work…

I’ve never been good at sticking to new year resolutions, but I’m going to make a good go of it in 2018. There is so much I want to accomplish that I haven’t decided where I want to start.

Most people would tell you to set small attainable goals in order to not be overwhelmed and actually reach some tangible results. I don’t want to aim too small though, so rather I plan to break down large projects into parts spread out through the year. I’m also trying a new productivity system this year as well, so this will be one big experiment.

Let’s start with a general list, and make a plan from there. Here we go…

Writing what I want…

I’ve been struggling to find topics to write about. This has come about with too much research about how to get people to follow your work. I’m sure many people are in the same boat. You need to this, that, and all this other stuff.

I plan to get past this by not really having a writing strategy this year. Write more to see what I like to write about. Commit to the act of writing more regularly and build a habit. No niche, no standard format or branding. Just words.

My writing in 2018 is going to consist of blog posts and short stories as they come to mind. Putting pen to paper, or fingers to keys on a regular basis.

Learn some real tech stuff…

I’ve been dipping my toes into the world of coding, and am really attracted to web design. So, I’m making a commitment to learning the fundamentals of HTML, CSS, and Javascript this year. I have this website I can play with, so stick around to see where this goes.

I also plan to tackle SQL, and hope to work this into my day job as well.

Product management and UX design…

Another area I have really become interested in is all facets of product management and UX design. A pretty wide scope of topics here so got to narrow this one down.

Content marketing…

Marketing is towards the bottom of my list, however, will be beneficial to the overall writing experience. I would like people to actually read some of my stuff…

Now what?

Now that I know what I want to do, the next step is to formulate a plan to work on all of this stuff. That should be easy with a full-time job and family responsibilities. Many have said that if you really want to accomplish something, you will make the time for it. More to come!


Choosing the mountains over the sea

Searching for the right spot…

I tend to wander between the mountains and the sea…

I was fortunate to grow up in Colorado which has amazing mountains. Now after living in Florida for several years, I’m realizing just how much I took my home state for granted. I have always been looking for another place over the horizon.

Most of my youth was spent outside climbing trees and camping. I started to get into hiking and climbing towards the end of high school, however, I felt this force pulling me to the coast.

My family and I took a vacation to San Francisco that completely changed life as I knew it.

One day we took a walk around some docks full of fancy yachts. At the end was this very run down green steel two-masted sailboat. At first, it was funny to see this mess of a boat sitting between all these very expensive watercraft, but after a few minutes, I fell in love with it. I could see the work the owner was doing, and where they were starting to make progress in fixing up this old boat. At that moment I was taken by sailboats forever.

changyu hu - Unsplash.com
chengyu hu – Unsplash.com

I could see this sailboat taking me on grand adventures to places I could only dream about. Why buy a house and be stuck in one place when I could live on a boat any place I wanted…

At that moment I think I became a wanderer. More consumed by the journey rather than any destination.
As soon as we got back to Colorado I started to take sailing lessons. I was able to find a Red Cross class that taught basic sailing classes. I learned to sail in a little Sunfish on a large lake not too far from the house. A far cry from that grand ship that inspired all this.

The class was great, and not too long after finishing I bought my first boat. My friends and I would take that boat to the lakes high in the Rockies several times over the following years.

And then I changed my mind…

Anyone that has been around me long enough knows that I change direction frequently, and quickly.

After I finished high school I had decided to move to Orlando to learn to work on boats. I had lost all interest in going up to the mountains and camping. All my focus was on getting to a nice sunny spot, on a boat of course. I secured my spot in school and even started to look at apartments.

After everything was in place I decided on a whim to just join the Army instead. With all this focus on boats and the sea, you would think that I would have chosen the Navy. I did go to them first, however, at the time, they were not guaranteeing what job you would end up with. Knowing my luck I would end up doing laundry, so jumping out of planes and blowing shit up sounded much better. Joining the Army was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The reasons behind that deserve their own post.

The next chapter…

Fast forward three years and I found myself working at Denver International Airport in one of the worst snow storms I can remember. After I got out of the Army I decided to go back home and enjoy the great outdoors Colorado had to offer. I started to get my hiking gear together and even joined a climbing gym.

Sitting in the break room that very cold evening, I found a SCUBA diving magazine. In the back, there was an add for “Paychecks in Paradise”. Having spent the last three years being cold, I thought it would be nice to get a little slice of paradise!

A month later I was learning to dive in the FL Keys. I finished dive school and jumped on a sailboat and headed to the Bahamas. After a few months I found myself in Seattle, but six months later I was back in Florida.

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rosin hormones – Unsplash.com

The nice thing about being a SCUBA instructor is that you can generally find work. You don’t make much money, but it did allow me to move frequently. I was really enjoying the warm salt water and sunshine, but then a familiar feeling came back.

The thing with being back in Florida was that I miss the mountains. There are plenty of places to go camping and hiking, but it isn’t the same. Florida is very flat… and also very hot. If you plan to do anything outside in the summer, it is best to make sure that it involves water. My wife and I spent a couple nights camping in the summer in Ocala and it was not very fun.

Finding a happy medium in the land of no mountains…

The bad thing about moving between such extremes is that balance is hard to find. While heading out to the beach here is easy, finding a nice hill to climb is more difficult. It’s not easy to find the time to make an eight-hour drive to the nearest mountain range while working a full-time job. Not much fun spending more time in the car than on the trail.

My goal is to take at least one major hiking trip a year. In 2016 I went on an amazing hike in Washington that challenged me in ways I have never been before. Trips like that makeup for not being able to run out for a quick trip over the weekend.

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sebastian Pichler – unsplash.com

I will always find myself daydreaming of the exact opposite of the environment I am in. I know that about myself now. As much as I long to be out in the middle of the woods, I can still see myself on a sailboat heading to some distant island.

I think happiness has a lot to do with finding a little bit of peace where you’re at, while always looking towards that next adventure…