Welp, it is that time yet again. Time for me to curse my relative lack of written word output for another year while analyzing the past year’s travel goals and cooking up some new ones. Why waste any more time and let’s see what I had hoped to accomplish in 2017…
1. WRITE MORE
I should just live with the fact that you just can’t force yourself to write. I’m just happy I’ve kept this blog alive to at least chronicle our biggest adventures for the past seven years. In all honesty, I update this place far more than it shows in writing (I’m constantly editing the “Where I’ve Been” section as well as the travelogue and patch collection).
Did I fail here? Maybe, but its really not about how much you write. I would honestly love to write every day, but life has its tricks in keeping that keyboard cold and lonely.
2. GET MARRIED
Funny I made this #2 – though I did say that in reality it was my personal numero uno for 2017. Though my dream idea of a wedding locale had always been the most remote populated territory in the US (American Samoa), it wasn’t the easiest place to plan for a wedding event. Breeah and I (and seven guests) had a wonderful week of a lifetime in Eleuthera (Bahamas) and even got to meet Lenny Kravitz. It somehow went off without a single hitch and if we had to plan it again, we’d certainly do the same thing.
3. KICK THE TIRES ON A CUBA TRIP
Well, not only did we kick the tires – we made Cuba our first international trip after our wedding. In May we flew into Havana and toured the old city (as well as Matanzas) for a short, but packed, 3-day journey. In all our adventures of the past seven years, this short Cuban trip may have been the most politically and culturally insightful experience we’ve ever had. The place can just boggle your mind at every turn. Considering the current geopolitical climate, we were lucky to squeeze this trip in when we did.
4. VISIT MORE OF EASTERN OREGON
Total and abject failure! Eastern Oregon was nearly a non-entity for us in 2017. While we planned to visit the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and perhaps make it all the way out to Wallowa County (in far Northeast Oregon), neither happened. The only time we ventured east of Hwy 97 (think “east of Bend”, i.e. the end of the major populated areas of the state) was to visit Fort Rock and Crack-in-the-Ground in Christmas Valley.
The toughest thing about weekending in the eastern parts of Oregon is the sheer distance. There are also very few hotel options and the towns with any type of reasonable lodging are scattered few and far between. Even bookable campsites are rare – and wilderness camping just isn’t for us…yet. That said, John Day is a definite for 2018 – it HAS to happen…
5. GET TO 145 NATIONAL PARK UNITS
Got to 147 – which means I nabbed 15 units in 2017 – at least one per month. That is a pretty solid number for a year’s work, considering I wasn’t even keeping tally towards this goal as the year progressed. At this pace it is certainly feasible to hit 200 units by age 40 – which would be a nice general half-way point all things considered.
So what are my resolutions for 2018…certainly not to write more…
VISIT A NEW CONTINENT
We already booked a trip to a continent neither Breeah or I have visited – so this is an easy resolution. I will tell you now that it is not my all-time ultimate bucket list item (Antarctica) but it is one of these three: Africa, Asia and Australia. Which one is it? Keep following this humble little travel blog to find out.
WRITE A FREELANCE PIECE
I also have a trip set up that may be worthy of deeper, more nuanced story to come out of it. I haven’t shopped around for freelance assignments in quite awhile but would like to give it a go again…otherwise this just becomes my 2018 version of “WRITE MOAR!”
TRY TO GET 10 MORE NATIONAL PARK UNITS
Its tough to get more National Park units when you don’t live by a whole bunch of them and have visited most of them within the radius of a day’s drive. That said, I want to keep my foot on the gas pedal this year and get to the rest within relative driving distance and maybe even take a flight to an area where I can catch a couple more in a long weekend (thinking Arizona). While I’d love to end 2018 with a nice round number like 160 – I’d probably be fine with 155. That said, I’m going to challenge myself to get at least ten and end 2018 with 157 units visited.
KEEP AN ANNUAL TRADITION ALIVE OF TRAVELING WITH SIDEKICK, TORMOD
Tormod, my best man, best friend (outside of Breeah, of course) and – as I like to say – Norwegian adventurer extraordinaire (or at least an enthusiast) has joined me on two of the most memorable trips that friends could share. Our first was the remote (and quite westerly) Adak, Alaska in 2016 and this year it was camping on the Channel Islands. I hope we can continue this as a annual tradition with a very random and (as of now) unplanned adventure in 2018.
I’m leaving the count at four this year – no point in forcing a fifth when I also like to keep my calendar open for those last minute, spontaneous ideas.