For the past two years I’ve compiled a list of 20 “Weekend Fun” New Year’s Resolutions (Click here to check out my list from last year in its entirety and here for the prior year’s recap). These range from places I’d like to travel, to weekend activities I’d like to try and even some blogging or writing or marketing specific resolutions. I like to do a recap to see how well I’ve done before moving on and compiling my list of 20 resolutions for the 2014 year.
*Warning- there may be a lot of rationalization going on around these parts. The resolutions are bolded and below them you’ll find my excuses/rationalizations/incoherentmumblings.
1) Get Out West – FAIL
After going to Ireland two summers ago and then Iceland last summer, I realized that while I was doing a good job of starting to see the world, there’s so much of this country that I’ve never visited. I’ve never been anywhere “out west” minus Las Vegas (which doesn’t count) and the Grand Canyon (which partially counts as we drove there from Vegas and took in some real desert scenery). Still, I wanted to rectify this situation. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen and will probably be placed on my 2014 list. Again.
2) Go Abroad Again- SUCCESS
This past summer my sister and I went to Iceland for a week. I might have been my favorite trip I’ve taken to date, possibly succeeding Ireland, which is almost unfathomable for anyone that knows me (I still adored Ireland and would go back to either in a heartbeat). Iceland is breathtakingly gorgeous, we did so much in our time there and the 24 hours of daylight is something I now believe that everyone should experience. Another thing that makes Iceland such a success story was that we planned and pulled this trip together relatively fast.
*Sidenote/first-rationalization: I’m also blaming my Icelandic budget (Iceland is not cheap) on why some of my other resolutions were not able to happen. We kept doing things out of our budget that we hadn’t planned (renting a car for three days, going out to eat more than planned, drinking more than planned, Icelandic brewery tour) which essentially meant the rest of the summer had to be somewhat low-key. I’m not mad.
3) Asheville NC- FAIL
Asheville is probably my biggest regret on this list. It’s only a 9 hour (just like Boston) car ride from Lancaster and supposed to be a really cool city that I probably could easily do a long weekend in. This will be rectified this upcoming year (I hope).
4) Nashville- Chalking this up to a SUCCESS
So I didn’t make it to Nashville in 2013, but I did book a plane ticket to go to Nashville in 2013, so I’m chalking this up to a success. I’m really looking forward to it and it’s always nice to go into the year with something to look forward to.
5) Go Real Whitewatever Rafting- SUCCESS
I wanted to do some whitewater rafting on the Ohiopyle River beneath Pittsburgh. That didn’t happen, but I did go rafting on the Hvita River in Iceland which more than makes up for that. I even jumped off a cliff into said river. HASHTAG badass.
6) Drive Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway-FAIL
I’ve been wanting to go up to the Finger Lakes for a while now and even had plans to go up to hike and camp one night with my sister the weekend before I was set to start school. Unfortunately, it rained that day so we cancelled and my fall was already too booked up.
7) Triple Crown- FAIL
I made it to Preakness. I did not make it to the Kentucky Derby or Belmont Stakes.
8) Island Culture- FAIL
9) Las Vegas (settle for AC)-FAIL
10) Rent an RV- FAIL
We considered renting an RV for Preakness, but the parking logistics would have been dicey, someone would have to drive that behemoth of thing and it’s more expensive than I anticipated. While this is still something I’d like to do some day, I feel like I’m definitely moving it down to the backburner of ideas.
11) Rent a Limo- FAIL
One of my life goals is to take a dive bar crawl in a limo. This is another thing that needs to be rectified in 2014.
12) Do at least 5 “water cooler” activities SUCCESS
Here was the definition of “water cooler” activities that I spelled out last year.
I begrudgingly admit that I like both attention and taking part out activities that are little beyond the “norm.” I begrudgingly admit this because these are traits I don’t love in others.Anyhow, I’d like to accomplish several of the following, what I’ve termed, “watercooler” activities; the kind of stuff you could humble brag to colleagues and friends about.
I did quite a few of these last year. In Lake Placid I snowshoed to the top of a mountain. I also went to a cross-country-ski-full-moon-party. In Iceland, we snorkeled in the 33 degree water in a fissure separating the American and European tectonic plates, snowmobiled on a glacier and took a hike to a hot spring river. I got heavy Facebook and Instagram likes on all of these things, meaning that I got positive attention, meaning that I completed this goal successfully.
13) Learn how to Rock Climb- FAIL
I still would like to try and learn how to rock climb, if only to combat my intense fear of heights.
This is a double repeat offender on this list and a double failure.
15) Plan a Weekend Roulette- FAIL
As stated last year:
Let me explain weekend roulette. I read about it in the book Die Happy: 499 Things Every Guy’s Gotta Do While He Still Can (which I suggest everyone, guys and girls, take a look at). What you need to do is get a group of friends together. Make sure it’s a group that likes to travel, likes doing new things, and is capable of planning things (I should do a post on this on it’s own). You assign each member of the group a day, weekend, etc and a budget and they are in charge of planning something fun to do.
This requires a lot of planning and finesse to pull off. I’m not sure that I have this much planning or finesse.
16) Camp somewhere cool (like Island, beach.etc)- SUCCESS
I camped on the beach (fine, so it was in my friend’s beach house backyard in Sea Isle City, but it still counts!). I didn’t do enough camping in general last year.
17) Pittsburgh In Summer- SUCCESS
I went to Pittsburgh this August and had a great time kayaking where the two rivers meet around Point Park.
18) Get blog published –SUCESS
Last year at this time I had not told anyone I was writing this blog. Since then I’ve started a twitter, gotten mentioned by several other blogs and tweeters and doubled my pageviews. I could do much, much better, but taking into account that I do this one more of a hobby basis, I consider this to be a success.
I also started to interview people for posts, which I’d never done previously. My posts on hostels, couchsurfing, dogsledding, Jean Bonnet Tavern, Haunted Philadelphia and the Big Red Pedal Tours could not have been done without reaching out and getting information from others. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and added some outside (and decidedly more professional) voices to this blog.
19) Get paid for a trip- SUCCESS
I didn’t get paid for a trip, but I was given a complimentary trip on Philadelphia’s Big Red Pedal Tours which was a lot of fun and which I believe my family may be doing again in February for my sister’s birthday.
20) Write More About Lancaster- SUCCESS
I tried to not only write more about Lancaster, my current city of residence, but experience more of Lancaster as well and think I did a solid job succeeding. I wrote about 10 Things to do in Lancaster, Tellus 360, did a Lancaster beer trail, Lancaster barcrawl and a review of the solid hiking there is to do in the nearby Susquehanna Valley. I’ve been trying to eat and drink more locally in Lancaster, visit the Central Market when I’m in town on weekends and have gift certificates to moped the Lancaster countryside I’d like to utilize once it gets nicer out. I also recently discovered that Lancaster has some solid cross country skiing in its Central Park.
How did I do?
I scored a 9 out of 20 (and Nashville was sort of a stretch) which isn’t great, but in general 2013 was a good year.
As I mentioned, Iceland far succeeded any expectations that I had and also went pretty over budget, which kept the rest of my summer tight in the budget department. Something big that wasn’t chronicled in this blog, but which took up a lot of my time, resources and money this summer, was throwing a big surprise 30th Anniversary party for my parents. My brother sister and I did this and successfully pulled off providing food, entertainment (read: a playlist) and booze for about 200 people, all without my parents knowing a thing. Had that party not occurred I’d say at least two more of these trips could have occurred, but again, no regrets there. Finally, I spent a lot more weekends working than I ever had in the past. Crazy right? One of my non-weekend fun goals was to start getting my writing (non-travel writing) published which I succeeded in. In late August I got the opportunity to be a contributing author to The Good Men Project Magazine. If you follow me on twitter, you’re probably aware of this. It’s an incredible opportunity but again, took away from some of my free travel/fun time, but again no regrets.
All in all, 2013 was a success. I’m not sure if I should keep my 2014 list a bit more reasonable or still dream big. In any case it should be out for publication within a week or two so stay tuned.