A tradition for me has been to summarize the past year.
A tradition that is helpful for me to think about the past year, and possibly where I want to go in the near future.
I think this post is for me as it much for the people who bother to read the post. 🙂
TL;DR version? A year of transition. A year that started off with too much time being taken from me. And ended with me giving the gift of time to myself.
A year of transition
If 2016 was a year of change, then 2017 was a year of transition.
My divorce was finalized in February. After a half year of legal expenses, back and forth emails between lawyers and my ex-wife, headaches, and grief, a settlement was finally agreed upon. Oddly enough, on Valentine’s Day. Ha! 🙂 I was relieved and ready to move on.
More importantly, than the divorce is finalized? I quit my job.
More than the divorce by far, it was the job that made my life difficult.
Weekend trips had to be canceled, fifteen hour days were becoming routine, and there was the implicit idea that my job was what my life revolved around. I even had to cancel my crucial Wednesday Resets a few times.
For a person who sees a job as a way to earn a paycheck and not my identity, I was frankly getting depressed. Looking over my posts pre-September, I can clearly see how low my spirt was at times.
Part of me was slowly dying in many ways.
A cycle of working too many hours, squeezing in outdoor time, and being tired on those trips because of working too many hours was catching up to me.
It was time to do something.
After seven years without any extended time off, I finally gave myself the gift of time.
And I’ve been happier ever since these past few months.
Even prior to my quitting my job in September, I was fortunate to still take more trips than most. Sometimes the job would make me too tired to enjoy it to the extent I wish I could, but there were always good memories.
And since September 2017? Well, read below…
- Winter Skiing
In the Panhandle of Texas, is the second largest canyon in the United. Yes, Texas. And, yes, in the High Plains. Another enjoyable trip in an ecosystem underappreciated by most. And my first introduction to the top-notch Texas State Parks.
- Arizona Ambles in March
Much to my chagrin, I had never been to the Grand Canyon. That is before this year. I think one anonymous camper I heard at the bottom of the Grand Canyon one morning summed it up well “I can’t believe I am at the bottom of the f****n’ Grand Canyon!”
The Superstitions were an unexpected treat as well.
- Enjoying Colorado’s Canyon Country
A bit of Utah is located four-hours from where I am sitting. I’ve been there several times over the years in this general area. And I was fortunate enough to enjoy it again this past Spring on some multiple occasions.
- Culture, history, and the outdoors
- Embracing the Sub-24 hour Overnighter (S24O)
A significant way to get some outdoor time on a busy schedule. And they helped preserved my sanity a few times this year.
One of the most amazing things I had ever seen was the Total Eclipse of 2017. The Nebraska Panhandle has little light pollution, few people, no major highways nearby, and was the perfect place to see this phenomenon. Outstanding.
- Trail Work
Giving back to the trail is rewarding. It may be hard work, but I’ve always enjoyed the time spent outside giving back to what I love. Not only do I get to work in a beautiful setting, but I now find it is the way I prefer experiencing the popular lettered routes.
- Exploring the obscure places on a map
And continuing to see obscure green spaces shown on my maps. 🙂
A 165-mile loop was the perfect way to transition from the beige box world to a life of more outdoor time. Bonus: I was able to do some trail work as well while backpacking this loop.
Over 600 miles on a non-defined route from Oct 10th until Nov 12th. Remote, grand scenery, and by far the most rewarding multi-week journey I’ve done. It was good to be back after over eight years since my last multi-week hike. And I’ll never, ever, EVER, wait that long again. 🙂
Hiking, backpacking, camping, eating local food, seeing obscure museums, off-the-beaten-path outdoor places, and National Park gems. What will the open road bring next?
Otherwise, seem the usual suspects (The $300 gear list, The Colorado Trail End to End Guide, backpacking destinations, etc.) are still the most viewed articles on this site. Gear. And specific places to use said gear.
I’ve learned that if I wanted to generate more traffic on this site, I should:
- Write more gear articles. Preferably with titles such as “Top 10 Best Tchotkes of All Time.”
- Write more destination articles. Not trip reports, but give actual destinations in a list format.
I chuckled that my review of the Gaia GPS app received more comments overall than a report on a route through some of the most remote terrain where I used the app! 😀
But I won’t write more list-based format articles.
I plan on being outdoors, even more, this coming year and won’t have time to write those lists. 😉
The Year Ahead
I don’t know. And that is wonderful! What I do know is that will involve more good food, seeing more obscure places, and spending time outside.