2016 in Review

This post is a bit late now as we are already into February 2017. To be honest, it wasn't that easy to summarise the year as there were no great trips or plans. This is to a certain extent a deliberate strategy. Whilst in 2015 I knew I would go to Georgia in the summer, in 2016 I decided not too for various reasons - I am preparing a long format blog post about my experiences running bike tours in Georgia to come soon.

Finance knowledge

In 2016 I deliberately spent time improving my financial knowledge. Overall I consider this to have been a fruitful exercise. I had not spent much time before concerned with the world of finance, but it now seems much less 'black box' to me (and even interesting). Highlights include reading 'One Up on Wall Street' by Peter Lynch and started listening regularly to the Investors Chronicle podcast.

Coding Knowledge

I continued to work as a web developer both on freelance projects and as a contract and started my own company. As I have picked up more experience, my frustrations have reduced as I've been more productive. I will eternally battle with the screen work vs outdoors work until something better arises. However, I have noticed a shift towards mobile working and the idea of 'hot desking', for better or for worse. I'm not sure quite whether the hoped for cost reductions will outweigh the unknowns in this area. I am quietly happy at the dismantling of the office reality, whilst on the other hand wondering how workers will cope. It needs to be dismantled brick by brick rather than with a wrecking ball. People tend to be pretty resilient and resourceful though.

Business

I realised after starting a company that I have very little knowledge of business. After contracting I spent a couple of months this year attempting to build an actual business, by building my own work portfolio, finding leads, setting up meetings etc. However, it is hard by yourself and it takes time. I had a really valuable learning process, found new clients, did different kinds of work. Then I did some gardening again and then back to contracting. So swings and roundabouts in some ways. That illusive app, project, thing may happen but I certainly don't know what it is yet. My academic, philosophical writing interests are still on the back burner. However, focus is the order of the day, so I do one thing at a time!

Visited Basque country in Spain and surfed

R and I drove around Basque country for two weeks. I managed to do a lot of surfing which was a long held desire. It was awesome. The basque country coast is incredible I recommend visiting. I don't recommend hiring a car from Avis though.

Cycled with the Wakerley Wheelers

Northamptonshire is not exactly a mountain biking mecca but I needed to get my fix of mountain biking after there was a void left from not going to Georgia. Luckily that void was somewhat filled by joining the Wakerley Wheelers club and riding around the Wakerley/Fineshade woods (in the dry). I had been riding there before but riding with the locals (usually between 10-20 people) opened my eyes to the possibilities and more routes.

Swam a lot

I took up swimming in a big way this summer. I went from not really remembering how to swim or breathe properly to being able to do 70 length drills. I watched Youtube videos to help with the breathing and techniques. Corby swimming pool in the twilight hours of around 3pm almost guarantees a free lane.

Built a cheap touring bike

Hoping to get out for a few touring weekenders I realised not having a bike was holding me back. Whilst renting a local office space, I built up a touring bike from an old mountain bike, put the panniers on and off I went. I got a few 50 milers in round the local area which is fantastic for road biking. I tested a Surly Long Haul Trucker, which is on my wish list (the disc version) as a potential purchase.

Improved my blog and increased the traffic from 200 hits per month to 1200

My blog started as a travel blog years ago. Started as Ride Earth, then Slow Quest, then it went to seed because I was doing a master which meant I ended up philosophically analysing everything I had done which didn't make for a coherent blog. I didn't know anything about maintaining websites. However, I decided to try to really put some effort into writing and do some long form reviews and that has paid off as the traffic is now back up again.

Walking / biking

Discover where I am is an enduring motto and I'm slowly discovering new walks and bike rides locally (and joining them up). Numerous trips to the East Coast of the UK meant early morning cold swims in the sea, long coastal walks and Adnams beer!

Others

  • Brewed cider
  • Ninpo grading - lots of good training with club
  • Spent loads of time with family

Cons / Improvements

  • I still didn't finish my bike film!

The future

  • Multi-day epic walk / ride
  • More focus
  • More fun!
  • More prosperity
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