My year End Recap 2020. “Travel” and Life

What can one say about this year that hasn’t already been said? Call this year what you want, everyone has experienced it differently and I’m extremely fortunate not only to be surviving but happily thriving. If you’re on the opposite end of that spectrum, reach out to me, maybe I can help you.


Travel

How does a traveler stay put and respect the situation happening to the world? It’s not easy but for people who are struggling, I feel grateful just to have my health and wealth. I did happen to drive to Laughlin and Las Vegas. Both were needed experiences that I’ll never forget. Taking those road trips made me miss it all. Next year, I hope to travel far and wide like I used to. I really miss Japan.

I’d like to say that I’ve traveled far in a personal and career sense. While that may not be as sexy as writing about and posting photos of an exotic, far-off part of the planet, but the work I put in this year should help me go even further in the future. I still have items on my bucket list that I plan on checking off. I’ll try to find my spirit of adventure when it’s safe for everyone around me.

Life

Given all that’s happened this year, I can’t actually believe how awesome my life is and how happy I am. It doesn’t hardly seem fair when so many aren’t as lucky as I am. All of my problems are first-world problems. The only thing that came to mind was that no special lady walked into my life, surprising me as I stared into the void, lost in thought. One very drunk lady did try to pick me up at a bar. I guess that’s something. Either way, I’ve been having a good time being single and living a simple life trying to help those around me.

The biggest and best development of my life has been getting hired into a new position with a new company and becoming a remote worker. I’ve finally acquired what I’ve been working for. It was a little hard leaving my previous company of almost 10 years but I can 100% say I’ve made the right choice. I’ve met so many new people and made new connections. Life is good. Oh ya, and I paid off my car and student loan in the same month.

Now that I’m a remote worker, I’ve been able to routinely work from various small businesses and have made friends with the workers and owners. Helping them with new menu items, taste tests, photography, copywriting, and design needs. Happily working for delicious products like free, fresh-brewed tea and homemade pastries.

I was sad that a bar that I had frequented back before the world changed has closed. I have a lot of great memories in a place that no longer exists. I guess the memories I made with the special lady I met there will forever exist in the ether. Goodbye, Bonus Round.

After a few years, I feel like I’m getting closer to figuring out what to do with my photography/writing site. Creating content hasn’t been the hard part, it’s trying to find a cohesive aesthetic and theme that I enjoy living inside of. Right now I’m going for a chill and beautiful vibe with unearthly sunsets and swaying palm trees with the mood of melancholia that always slips in with pleasant nostalgia. The happiness and melancholia that always comes with watching time pass. I’m still working on it.

I also purchased a Nintendo Switch Lite to play puzzle games when I’m taking a break from work or photography or writing or fitness. I’m a busy guy. I really missed and appreciate the art and design in video games. Something that movies and music can’t always replicate.

Favorite games: 198X, Blasphemous, The Room, Hotline Miami, Superliminal, Hades.

I also got into collecting Nike Air Max 90. I don’t really care for other sneakers but I do like these.

Radiant Red not pictured.

Literature

Reading this year slowed down a bit but that was replaced by more time spent dedicated to writing and a few photo projects before the brutal Phoenix summer hit. I tried to branch out a little more with female authors and some non-fiction. I even purchased a snazzy new bookshelf and placed some LED lights behind the books.

More books have been added since this photo was taken.

All in all, I’m pretty satisfied with this list and have a few books on deck to start in 2021.

Books completed:

The Outsider – Stephen King – 560 (pages)
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath – 273
Dracula – Bram Stoker – 400
Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman – 318
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote – 342
The Memory Police – Yoko Ogawa – 274
The Testaments – Margaret Atwood – 419
The Trial – Franz Kafka – 208
The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde – 253 (re-read)
South of the Border: West of the Sun – Haruki Murakami – 213
Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes – 219
Devolution – Max Brooks – 282
Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami – 210
Snow Country – Yasunari Kawabata – 175
Black in Asia – Tiffany Huang/Various – 130
Taiwan Tiff – Tiffany Huang – 88
Lovecraft Country – Matt Ruff – 382
The Down Days – Ilze Hugo – 358
Ready Player Two – Ernest Cline – 365
Crossings – Alex Landragin – In progress
Book of Koli – M.R. Carey – In progress

Top Five: In Cold Blood, South of the Border: West of the Sun, Flowers for Algernon, The Bell Jar, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Pages read: Approximately 5,600 (including books that are in progress.) Far less than last year but I went after books that I had been wanting to read for some time. After last year, I took a break from Stephen King, save for The Outsider, which I wanted to read before the HBO series started. So far I’m really enjoying Crossings.

Just a few of the books I’ve read this year.

Writing

Approximately 30,000 words written. About half of which are musings and short sayings that popped into my head. I even started on a several short stories that I’d like to add to my photography/writing site in due time.

It’s only after the halcyon days have passed do you realize how good those days were. And are hit so hard by the fact that they’re never coming back.

Me

Music

My 2020 Spotify list consisted of many songs that played while walking for hours in the park during spring. A lot of metal and hard rock with some beautiful and melodic electronic music. My top song of the year being Remorse by Scattle.

Photography

The first half of the year I spent trying to get back into photography. I even purchased a Nikon Z6 mirror-less camera. I ended up taking the second half of the year off trying to focus on my new career. I find when I do go out and take photos, I’m taking less shots and spending more time getting good shots instead of taking tons of photos and hoping for something good. I’m also having a lot of fun with color theory.

Next year I hope to purchase an 85mm f/1.8 and a 14 – 24mm f/2.8. I’d like to take more portraiture and expand into wide shots of mountains and our unique Arizona desert sunsets.

Here are some of my favorite photos I took this year.

Future

Whatever 2020 held for you, it’s over. I used to struggle with letting my memories take me to and keep me in places I didn’t want to be. Recently I’ve been able not allow the visions and memories of my past, block the brightness of a future that can be. Here’s to 2021. Take extra care, everyone.

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