Year in Review - 2018 was a little weird.

I found this prompt, maybe from Cait Flanders, maybe from somewhere else? I have no idea at this point because I saved it so long ago. Either way, 2018 was not exactly what I had hoped. It started strong, and had a lot of highlights, but ultimately I’m glad to usher in 2019. I’m ready for a new Outdoor Society calendar and ready for the “clean slate” that is a new year.

1. What makes this year unforgettable?

  • Visiting Mount Rainier National Park and seeing the mountain from many different angles and times of day

  • Getting a new job

  • Losing a grandparent. It was a weird whirlwind, all over again. Never gets any easier.

  • Visiting Alaska for Christmas into the new year

  • Visiting Washington’s Olympic Peninsula twice and getting to experience the difference in seasons

  • Meeting a few outdoor people I admire and respect so much

2. What did you enjoy doing this year?

  • The 31/52 hikes I did get done

  • Visiting Tahquamenon Falls

  • Being able to travel around the country and see the natural beauty

  • Our annual trek to New Mexico for camping and hiking in the Santa Fe natural forest

  • My annual BFF trip to Utah

  • Spending downtime at home with my other half, our Texas friends and family, and our pets

  • Family moments that were calm

3. What/who is the one thing/person you’re grateful for?

  • I’m grateful for travel. Travel is the one thing I can do with my other half, family, friends, and all of the outdoor people I am thankful for.

4. What’s your biggest win this year?

  • Getting a new job that is seemingly better for me as a whole. A job where I work on a team of people my own age and do work I enjoy. A job that is setting me up for the future in ways beyond money, setting up a career, and pushing me forward. I don't mind getting up for work these days.

5. What did you read/watch/listen to that made the most impact this year?

  • The Year of Less by Cait Flanders was one of the most inspirational pieces of literature I’d had in my hands in a while. This book goes beyond financial advice and offers so much varied life advice. If you're looking for something uplifting and real, look no further.

  • Love Simon - I know it may seem cheesy, but the movie made me feel like a teenager all over again and feel all those misguided feelings of being closeted and hiding. It reminded me that those feelings don’t just go away. It was a cute movie that made me feel powerful things.

  • Said the Whale released an album in 2017, but it carried on with me in 2018 along with their new singles this year. This band makes music that makes me feel things to my core. I get emotional while listening, but not in an annoying way. I sing along, I bop along, but almost always feeling SOMETHING when I listen. Great band.

6. What did you worry about most and how did it turn out?

  • I always worry about money. I've worried about money since I was a kid, but still don't know how to manage it well. I got a new job and I have a budget, but I still spent more than I brought in and that's the ongoing battle. December was a better month, and January should continue the trend as I've adjusted the daily and monthly goals to help.

7. What was your biggest regret and why?

  • Not completing my 52 Hike Challenge 2018. I feel like an absolute failure in some regards, yet part of me is says “better luck in 2019.” I hiked as much as I wanted to, or could, and that is something. I could have tried harder, could have battled the heat, could have found trails unaffected by the Texas rain, but I didn’t. I had 31 GOOD hikes and that’s what I need to focus on. I will complete 2019, mark my words.

8. What’s one thing that you changed about yourself?

  • My outlook on life has changed. My motives for doing things has changed. I’m focused on experiences and memories. I want to see everything, do as much as possible, and live life as much as I can before my end. More action, less contemplating.

9. What surprised you the most this year?

  • How much I loved solo trips. I knew I would like them, but hot damn do I love them. I love traveling and sharing memories, but solo trips are AHHHHHMAZING.

  • How terrible I am at making real life outdoor friends. My fear of rejection and my own self doubt really held me back in 2018.

10. If you could go back to last January 1, what suggestions would you give your past self?

  • FINISH your hikes.

  • Don’t get dragged into your darkness.

  • Don’t give up on those fitness and food goals by March!

  • Eat more balanced

  • Be nicer to people

  • Stop whining about doing things

  • Plan ahead and get annoying chores and tasks done during the week

  • Go out and meet people. I'm good enough and people will not just reject me…

#MondayMotivation - December is here!

December is easily my favorite month. From my birthday, to winter, to the various holidays, and the best weather here in Texas. I’ve been a slacker, been really struggling to get out and stay motivated. Here are some December goals: 

  • get a good walk with the dog every day 
  • hike at least 5 times
  • eat out less and at home more
  • do a winter cleaning on the apartment before heading to Alaska for the holidays
  • read 5 books
  • listen to NPR more often
  • get into weekly routines that help keep me motivated and happy (hiking, walking the dog longer, cleaning, cooking) 

What are your goals this month!? Any fun travel plans? Let me know in the comments or start a conversation! Happy December! 


#MondayMotivation - Go forward and get ready!

Thanks for unintentionally motivating me

Inspiration can come from many places and this time it was a simple message from someone in the online outdoor community who I admire so much and want to camp/hike with eventually. I don’t think the message was intended to be motivational, but here I am writing a little blurb about how it lit a fire under my ass.

Keep going, work harder

I really want to be able to start somewhere at dawn, hike all day, gain thousands in elevation, camp, and hike back out. I think the pros call it “backpacking” or something, but yeah, that’s what I want to seriously get in to and I’ve been saying it for a while. This fall the plan is to hike to Guadalupe Peak in Guadalupe Mountains National Park as well as do several practice backpacking runs in local state parks with “primitive” hike-in sites. I’ve never been more motivated to do these things because next year, I want to head to the real mountains (you know, the ones with snow on top and stuff out west) with people and feel completely limitless.

Other things that are motivational this Monday…

  • Cooler weather, though it’s still really damn humid

  • Fall hiking and camping ahead

  • Family camping weekend

  • Potential trips to Minnesota and Washington in October

  • People that just keep livin’ and making the best of life

In other news…

I’ve been on a quest to get healthier and I’m at week 10 with a little bit of a stall, but that’s being revamped too. I’m not exercising enough and I’m not even close to hiking enough. It’s been hot and miserable and I’ve been relying on it as my go-to excuse. I’m sure there’s a pattern of this behavior, if I looked back, because this is how I operate. I get lazy, bored, blah blah blah.

It’s not about the pounds for me and I need to convince myself of that. I just want to be healthier and able to go up that mountain or live past 40. I’m not an all or nothing guy and I shouldn’t treat adjustments to eating and exercise that way either. Everything in moderation, avoid excessive crap, at least walk an hour a day, and continue training for the 5K.

I’m not sure if this is motivation for you, but know that I’m rooting for you in whatever you’re doing and I’m here to say GET IT! Work hard, forgive yourself, and keep going!

#MondayMotivation - Slacker Edition

Self-inflicted bullshit is the easiest to create and hardest to destroy.

I've been slacking.  I've been kind of out of control with certain aspects in my life and it's taking a toll on me.  Yesterday, I started to clean and organize the apartment and that brought some clarity to my brain.  It's time to take control and stop living in a free fall.  I need routines and structures and it will take a little while to build them up, but I'm working towards it as an overall goal.

Back to my hiking routines, cleaning routines, morning routines, and cooking routines.  I've been avoiding cooking, leaving laundry all over, not cleaning up after the cooking I do, and generally being a slob-lazy-bum.  It's easy for me to blame this on whatever, but really it's only I who can snap the hell out of it a get into a better head space.  I'm working to find the positives, find the organization, and crawl back up to a normal existence.

It's been a weird few months with the death of my grandfather, the onset of hot weather, the general boredom of local trails, too much alcohol, too much fast food, and the general dislike I've been feeling towards my body.  I'm certainly past due to get my shit together and get to hiking regularly, living within my means, smiling more often, eating food for fuel, and sleeping well again.

#MondayMotivation - Just keep going!

Personal goals are a way for me to focus my direction in life and fun way for me to keep track of activities, health stats, and personal achievements.  I used to set unattainable goals that weren't smart or helpful.  Now, I set goals in a much more logical sense that are both attainable and challenging while remaining flexible.

Current Goals:

  • Prepare to backpack this fall - drop some weight, increase cardio, etc.
  • Plan for an affordable trip w/ my BFF - sometime at the end of summer or fall that fits in to our busy schedules and doesn't cost a fortune
  • Hike 400 miles this year - which would almost double what I did in 2017 (hike your own hike, people)
  • Get back to the Olympic Peninsula this fall/winter, if an affordable option can be found for a long weekend
  • Lose 34 lbs by my 34th birthday, which is just over 6 months (a work in progress)
  • Fit into the puffy vest I bought that's a little too tight, by winter
  • Drink enough water to feel hydrated, daily
  • Stop using online shopping and eating as therapy for stressful days

Not everything goes as planned, but as long as I have the goals I have a path to get back to if I stray too far one way or another.  One day I may eat too much or not drink enough water, but I can correct that action and try again.  It may rain and prevent a hike or outdoor exercise, but I have other days or an indoor gym to use as a backup.  Travel may never be affordable enough in the time constraints of life, but we can always find something less exciting to work for our trip if necessary to hang out for a weekend.  I can always keep going and so can you.

My words of wisdom:  work towards your goals, set them accordingly, and don't beat yourself up if you have to change the plan to get to them.  Setting smaller goals, or levels of achievement towards a final goal, can really help break it down and make it seem less daunting overall.  Be realistic, yet push yourself to a new level.  (I'll be taking my own advice here, by the way)

If you've read this, I hope you have a great week ahead, thanks for stopping by! - Mike