Every new year I make a list of things I’d like to accomplish for the new years (obviously these are all travel/leisure/blogging based-even though I am striving to eat more fruits and vegetables and vowing to curtail buying rounds of drinks for semi-acquaintances you won’t be reading about them here). Every year before posting these new goals and resolutions, I look back on the previous year and determine how successful I’ve been. This is usually somewhat painful/embarrassing as I routinely dream too big, only to not accomplish most of these things.
Spoiler alert: this year is going to be an especially big failure list wise, even though looking back, while it was definitely messy and one of my hardest years to date, I wouldn’t consider the year a failure life-wise (are you following along?). If anything, I made major moves that I’ve been putting off for way too long, that simply got in the way of my travel/leisure/blogging time.
Let’s start at the beginning though. I had super high hopes going into 2014. 2013, even though I didn’t necessarily meet all my new year’s goals, was a great year-I finally figured out my blogging style, learned a lot about promoting this guy here on social media, and scored a freelance writing gig. I had a great winter trip to Lake Placid, my favorite trip to date to Iceland, and went on my first press trip for the blog. 2014 started with the Mummer’s Day Parade, plans to go to Nashville and then a great weekend in Philadelphia discovering barbeque and riding the Big Red Pedal Bike for the second time. Then, I learned a very dire and very expensive lesson more suited to someone six years younger than myself: pay your damn parking tickets.
You see, I guess I had a parking ticket in Lancaster that I neglected to pay because I don’t put much stock in parking tickets and was just careless overall. Well, the thing is said parking ticket got my license suspended and my second lesson here is to check my mail more because I guess I never read that notification. I was alerted to the fact that I was driving on a suspended license during a routine traffic stop in Philadelphia. I’m pretty sure the cop dealing with me thought I had a DUI or something equally as offensive and did not take this lightly. My car was impounded. I’m not even going to get into the details of what I had to do to get it back or my hatred for low level officials of the Philadelphia Parking authority. Let’s just say that in general the entire deal was super expensive, not to mention inconvenient as I went to Nashville just 2 days later. There was also a blizzard and because Murphy’s Law has and always will be a part of my life this adventure has also sealed both my hatred for SEPTA and Uber. Anyhow, a lot of my spring plans were derailed due to this unforeseen expense.
Another major hit to my bank account which limited my travel/leisure activity was the fact that in August I decided to step away from teaching, my chosen profession for the last five years. It was a bittersweet decision I’d been contemplating for quite some time and while I didn’t have a job lined up (I’d been trying) my parents were great enough to support me 100% and allow me to move back in with them in NEPA to begin this next chapter. There was a hard and frustrating three months where I was unemployed, but I also learned a lot, went on a ton of great interviews and started doing marketing/PR work for the NEPA Party Bike, which I’ve detailed here. I’m also currently employed again, in a sales and marketing position, so all is once again right in the world (I mean, except for the fact that for the first time in my life, I’ll be working summers…what was I thinking?). Anyhow, that’s sort of put a dent in my travel/leisure/blogging plans as well (I usually do rationalize a whole lot in these posts).
Anyhow, 2014 wasn’t all bad. Nashville met all my expectations. I explored a ton of local Lancaster breweries and continued to some blogging press tours-something I never thought I’d do. I took a great summer trip to Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard and another great day trip to Ohiopyle-it’s always great when something exceeds your expectations. Anyhow, I’m excited for what 2014 has to offer, but before I give you those posts, here is my pitiful score card for last year.
1) Go Abroad Again- FAIL
This was my number one goal of the year. Knowing I was going to quit my job, and essentially my regular income pretty much put a halt on this. I do however, vow to start collecting more passport stamps this year.
2) Make it up to Lake Placid During One Season- FAIL
This trip was effectively killed by my parking ticket situation. I have no one to blame but myself. I am an idiot.
3) Montreal- FAIL
This would have been in conjuncture with Lake Placid. God, I suck.
4) Asheville NC- FAIL
Now this is getting depressing and redundant.
5) Trashy Limo Bar Crawl- WIN
Even though this technically didn’t happen, I’m chalking it up in the “win” column, because I need some sort of hope to cling to. This Christmas, we didn’t rent a limo, but did rent a school bus for our annual “Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl.” We completed part of what I call the Northern Tier Tour and it was pretty much as magical as one would expect.
6) PA Weekend Day Trips- WIN (ish)
I made it a goal to take more PA based day trips/roadtrips and laid out several that I wanted to hit. Some of them I did some of them I didn’t. Let’s go through them, shall we?
- Visit the Troegs Tasting Room– I finally made it here-three different times. To top if off, one of those times was to meet fellow PA-based travel bloggers Uncovering PA and Megano Travels in person, which was great.
- Visit the Yuengling Brewery- I actually had plans to visit the Yuengling brewery with my brother, but then his bus arrived late to Harrisburg and so we missed that and went and saw Neighbors (which was hilarious) instead. He technically failed here, no me.
- Visit all Lancaster’s Breweries- The thing is, I don’t think I visited all of Lancaster’s breweries (because one opened after I left) but I did visit many of them on several consecutive spring weekends. This one’s a win.
- PA Grand Canyon– This I just didn’t get to.
- Jim Thorpe– This either.
7) West Virginia Cabin Getaway- FAIL
I did not rent a WV cabin, but did visit and had a great time in Wheeling.
8) Get Over 1000 Twitter Followers and Increase Facebook Presense –WIN (ish…again)
I’m up to 832 twitter followers so close but no cigar. I did finally increase my facebook presence and am working on an instagram account, so this is going to the win pile.
9) Write Travel Stories for 5 Other Publications-FAIL
Another casualty of quitting my job.
10) Go to Irish Weekend- FAIL
11) Five DIFFERENT Water Cooler Activities- PASS/FAIL
I didn’t do all the things I planned, but I did go boating in Cape Cod, Paddle boarded out in Pittsburgh, and did a biking beer tour, so this wasn’t a total bust.
12) Go to Vermont’s Mad River Valley- FAIL
This was a total bust.
13) Easy Outdoor Adventure Trips- WIN
I was pretty active, even if it was just a lot of solo hikes on the Susquehanna River or up Elk Mountain this fall.
14) 3 New States- FAIL
Tennessee was my only new state, although I’m going to count the fact that this year was the first year I actually explored West Virginia, rather than simply drove through it.
15) Learn Five New Activities Or Skills –FAIL
I learned that transitioning from teaching to any other job is really hard.
16) More DIY projects – FAIL
I made nothing. Nothing.
17) Travel Solo – WIN
18) Explore Western PA a little More – WIN
I explored Ohiopyle, the Laurel Highlands and Pittsburgh more, so I’m considering this a win.
19) Couchsurf- FAIL
Rule #76: No excuses. Play like a champion.
20) Get a commentary Going –FAIL
This one is harder than expected.
21) TAKE BETTER PICTURES- UP IN THE AIR
Why not end on an ambiguous note? This has been an exercise in depression and the only reason I’m publishing it is that I just spent 2 hours of my Sunday morning doing this when I could have been out testing my brand new XC skis.