New Year’s Resolutions 2014 Part 2

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Picking up where we left here:

11) Five DIFFERENT Water Cooler Activities-

“Water Cooler News” is defined as the sort of news or gossip that gets people talking socially at work because it’s interesting. Thusly, I’ve termed the term “water cooler activities” as the types of activities I do and post about that get people talking because they aren’t things that you do/see everyday AKA as much as I don’t want to admit it, I like the positive attention these things bestow upon me. Last year was good one for this. I showshoed up in Lake Placid, snowmobiled an glacier in Iceland, snorkeled in just above freezing water, did a zombie mud run and Cross Country Skied along tiki torch lit trails to an outdoor bonfire party. I’d like to complete five more of these “strange” or unique activities. My main culprits for 2014 include riverboarding,dogsledding, rock-climbing, windsurfing and I’m open for a fifth (or sixth or seventh or eighth) suggestion.

12) Go to Vermont’s Mad River Valley-

When I did my 8 Winter Fun Trip Ideas post I was really taken with Vermont’s Mad River Valley. You could read about it more at length there. Like Lake Placid, this would be a fun place to visit when it’s snowing OR somewhere fun to go in the summer for camping, hiking, beer tasting, and a trip to Burlington, which is supposed to be a very cool city in itself. If I could possible maneuver some sort of road trip to incorporate this, Lake Placid AND Montreal for a NY, then I’d have a  resolution trifecta of sorts on my hand. Not a bad thing.

13) Easy Outdoor Adventure Trips

I want my weekend trips to start revolving alittle bit more around outdoor adventure rather than just boozing (notice I said, just…I’m not looking to turn into Mr. #Cleanliving anytime soon) and to give myself some credit, some of my weekend trips did reflect that pretty well this year (Zombie Race, Tough Mudder, Lake Placid, etc). I just want MORE of it to reflect that and luckily living in PA makes it easy for me to incorporate hiking, rafting, kayaking, golfing, XC skiing, snowshoeing, etc into my schedule.

14) 3 New States

I haven’t really added any states to my repertoire in a while. Thus far I’ve been to 19 states if you count layovers (which I do!), which considering we’re 50 states big, is not great. I’m not even batting half. I’d like to expand on that. Nashville will get Tennessee added in February and I’m thinking additionally New Hamphire and Maine would  be easiest and complete my New England experience. Texas would be fun as well, as would somewhere south (Louisiana?).

15) Learn Five New Activities Or Skills –

Learning new skills is always beneficial and I hope in this new year, to not only go new places, but try a few new things (as a bonus this could tie in to some other resolutions).  I’d like to take boxing lessons, I’d like to learn to windsurf and I’d to learn how to enjoy riding a bike (So I obviously know how to ride a bike and I own a bike but everytime I  attempt to ride one I end up having the worst time, and I mean, not to brag but I run 5 miles three times a week, I’m not in awful shape. It’s infuriating). I’m not going to hold myself to anything specific but want to make sure I go into 2014 with five new activities or skills (or at least attempts) under my belt.

16) More DIY projects –

Two summers ago one of my summer projects was for my dad to teach me woodworking. It was fun. We got to spend some time together and I learned how to operate some pretty useful power tools. We created a set of bean bag boards (which I then painted to be UofS official) and a bookcase that now sits in my room.  I also enjoyed it more than I thought and in the time since have begun to really appreciate and enjoy DIY projects around the house. Trust me, I never thought I’d be this guy, and I’m repenting for all the years making fun of those who’ve always enjoyed these things. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend a ton of time home (visiting my parents) this summer, and when I was I was preparing for their big surprise anniversary party and so tried to not spend too much time alone one on one with either of them for fear of blabbing. I’d like to work on those skills with him a little more this year. On my agenda: a life size Jenga Set, this cool wet bar and an Adirondack chair (which, now that I’m researching is super advanced…I guess I’ll attempt big and then pawn off the hard parts on the father).

17) Travel Solo –

I travel a lot solo from destination to destination and have taken a couple of side trips on my own, but I think it’d be fun to take on a whole weekend on my own. It’d definitely take me out of my comfort zone (especially if I went out on my own at nights) and it would let me check off some of this locales without having to directly rely on other people’s planning (which as I’m getting older, is getting more difficult).

18) Explore Western PA a little More –

Again, my blog is entitled PA Weekend Fun and there’s a whole sector of Pennsylvania that I’m basically a stranger to. Aside from Pittsburgh and the Laurel Highlands region, which I’ve started recently to explore, you can name a town or county and I wouldn’t know if it was in Pennsylvania or Tennessee. I’d like to rectify it in some capacity but am not sure exactly where or how…yet.

19) Couchsurf-

If you’d asked me last year whether or not I’d ever consider couchsurfing as a viable option, I would have told you that people are inherently evil and I’ve spent way too much time watching Olivia Benson and Elliott Stabler bust perverts to be comfortable sleeping on a stranger’s couch. Then something weird happened, I actually started opening up to new ideas and did an article on couchsurfing. Part of this required meeting up with a couple of regular Lancaster couchsurfers. I left immensely impressed and now would like to see if the experience would continue to impress me. I just need to find a location or locale to go to, as it seems most of my recent traveling is with friends or to locales where I could stay with friends.  Any ideas?

20) Get a commentary Going –

I’ve doubled my readership since last year but still don’t have any commentary on my blog, which I’d like. It’s a way to pass on info, get feedback and better yet learn about new places and ideas. I’ve done so on twitter but have no gotten that to carry over to my blog itself which I’d like to do. I know a lot of people comment on other’s blogs and then ask them to comment back but I find this contrived and a bit tacky (do I need to get over myself?). Any suggestions for upping my commentary game?

*AND WE’RE GOING TO 21….I’d initially included this in a rough, rough draft list that I’d made but then threw it to the curbside for more exciting ventures. I came across that list and realized that I want to include it but also don’t want to take anything away, so here you have a bonus resolution.

21) TAKE BETTER PICTURES-

I’ve written about my problem with taking pictures before. The problem with that is that when I think about the blogs I’m most attracted to, pictures play a key element. I’ve got to up my picture game. I got a waterproof freezeproof camera for Christmas last year that I haven’t used since Iceland and my new (new as in July) phone has a great camera. I’ve got to just chalk up the fact that if I’m going to make a dynamic and well-read blog I might have to be that annoying guy who constantly stops to take pictures.

We’ll have to wait and see how things pan out for 2014, but I’m thinking most of these are very doable.

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