Looking back, moving forward: 2013 edition
Exactly one year ago today I set my goals and a theme for 2012. My plans were many and varied, but they all revolved around one word: building.
Twelve months on, it’s almost time to repeat the exercise. Before that, though, I need to see how well I went – one thing I learned in corporate life is that everybody loves to make plans, but few take the time to evaluate them afterwards.
So I thought I’d put together an annual report of sorts. Where did I succeed? Where did I fail? How well did I stick to my plans, and what needs to change in 2013?
I set myself the ambitious goal of launching two major sites this year – and didn’t achieve it. While Too Many Adapters went live in January as planned, the other site hasn’t seen the light of day and I’m not sure if it ever will.
Building and maintaining two new sites while travelling full time was always going to be a challenge, and so it has proved. In the end time, internet and energy constraints were just a little too much to overcome.
I have ideas for several new projects floating around inside my head, but until I stop somewhere again for 3-6 months, that is where they are going to have to stay.
Grade: C+ (the + is due to Too Many Adapters doing better than expected)
At the time I wrote last year’s post, I was in discussions with a friend of mine about a collaborative service-based business for aspiring travel bloggers. In the end we decided not to go ahead with it – unfortunately the business case just didn’t quite justify the investment. It’s a shame, as it would have been a fun project to be involved in, but better to find out at the start than then end…
Grade: Not graded
I made the comment that I would be travelling much more this year, and there’s no question that I have. Since leaving Chiang Mai in February I haven’t spent more than two weeks in the same bed, setting foot in twenty-something countries along the way. It’s been a wild, tiring, wonderful twelve months.
The rest of my commitment, though, was to go to places that scared me. I mentioned India, Sri Lanka, the Middle East and northern Africa – and went to none of them.
Geopolitics played a role in some of that, exhaustion did too, but while I frightened the crap out of myself on scooter road trips and by jumping off a bridge in a school dress, those "scary" passport stamps still remained elusive.
Since travel doesn’t come for free, I set myself a monetary goal as well. By the end of the year, I was hoping to be making at least $3000/month from a variety of sources. For me, that’s an amount that should let me live well as a budget traveller almost anywhere in the world.
Did I get there? Almost. After a slow first half of the year, things have picked up lately to around $2300 per month. Combined with a few helpful sponsorships that partially cover travel costs, I’m saving money while in South East Asia and mostly keeping my head above water everywhere else. It’s far from lucrative, but I’m not destitute quite yet…
My final goal was to focus on nurturing strong relationships with amazing people, spending more time with those who make my life better and less time with those who don’t.
This one, at least, I think I’ve achieved. Despite spending almost every minute of the last thirteen months together, my relationship with Lauren is only getting better. I’ve made some great new friends this year, and strengthened the bond I have with many of the older ones. Despite travelling so much, many of us who live this kind of life seem to gravitate to particular parts of the world, and I’ve made a point of catching up with people as much as possible whenever we’re in the same town.
The year hasn’t been perfect, of course – a few relationships have sadly fallen by the wayside. Some I expected, some I didn’t, but that’s the way it goes, I guess, whether I like it or not.
All in all, though, I’m extremely happy and grateful for the people I share my life with at the beginning of 2013.
I also asked a question about what you’d like to see on this site. At the time I was trying to work out where to focus my energies, and was considering scaling things back a bit around here. Your answers convinced me not to – instead, I went the other way and decided to continue the thrice-weekly posting schedule that I had recently started.
For a full year I did that (other than a short planned break while sailing in Turkey), and it was a valuable exercise, teaching me a lot about deadlines and commitment. To give room for other projects I won’t be so regimented about my schedule this year, but that should pay off in other ways – I’m hoping that more time to think and edit will improve the quality of my writing, for starters.
Overall grade for the year: B.
A good result, certainly, but one with definite room for improvement.
What form will that improvement take, and what else does this new year hold, I hear you ask?
For the answer to that, dear readers, you’ll just have to wait until next week…
How was your 2012? If you set out some plans at the start of the year, how did they turn out?
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