My Year End Recap 2021. Travel and Life.

Travel

Sometimes I feel like the world is still waiting for me to visit. Wanderlust doesn’t diminish. And this year, I’m grateful to say that I was able to cross two destinations off of my bucket list. Paris and the Redwoods of Northern California. Life is definitely good.

Come to think of it, travel this year was mostly centered around friends. My trip to Las Vegas was planned so my friend could get away and figure a few things out. San Diego in June was planned to visit a few friends. One of which I hadn’t seen since we first met in Dubai many years ago. San Diego in October was a spontaneous trip to stay at the Hotel Del Coronado. Paris was my only solo adventure. The Redwoods were for a young friend who is just staring his travel life.

No matter who it’s for, just learn and have fun. Burn, chisel, bludgeon and beat whatever it takes to keep those experiences etched deep into your memories.

Destinations:
Las Vegas, Nevada. March.
San Diego, California. June.
San Diego, California. October.
Paris, France. November.
The Redwoods, California. December.

Perhaps next year the world will be a little more open but I’m just doing what I can.

Life

There’s a reason why this will be the shortest section because I have a hard time imagining how my life could be any better right now. I’m a remote worker that has found a comfortable routine. Working at family-owned cafes and a fancy resort spa and patronizing small businesses for sustenance. I have a pretty stress-free life and I have time to work on my creative hobbies. What else could one ask for?

Gaming

I don’t have much time to game but since I’m a remote worker, I’m able to keep my Nintendo Switch with me and play a little here and there. I still have a deep appreciation for the blend of art and story that can only be told and experienced through video games. Puzzle games are my favorite so I particularly enjoyed and was impressed by The Talos Principle and Loop Hero.

Favorite games this year: The Talos Principle, Eastward, Stardew Valley, Big Brain Academy, and Loop Hero.

Literature

I was able to get a fair amount of reading done this year. Not as much as I would have liked but I did challenge myself to read more non-fiction. I’m also happy to say that I don’t have a backlog of books anymore. I only have two books left to read and then I guess it will be time to roam my local Barnes & Noble and Changing Hands bookstores to explore what else is out there. Have any recommendations?

For the past few years I’ve made a habit of reading a physical book in public. There’s just something about being seen doing something other than flicking up on a phone. Now that my gym has opened again, I like to take a book or a book loaded on my iPad and read while on the stair climbing machine. Some people give me a puzzled look and one guy even asked me what I was reading.

Crossings – Alex Landragin – 360 Pages
Book of Koli – M.R. Carey – 363
Lovecraft Country – Matt Ruff – 372
After Dark – Haruki Murakami – 191
Eaters of the Dead – Michael Crichton – 180
The Road – Cormac McCarthy (re-read) – 241
Killing Commendatore – Haruki Murakami – 681
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto – Mitch Albom – 368
Tokyo Ueno Station – Yu Miri – 180
Pet Sematary – Stephen King – 395
Misery – Stephen King – 310
The Demon-Haunted World – Carl Sagan – 480
Dune – Frank Herbert – 900
The Dead Zone – Stephen King – 426
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry – Neil de Grasse Tyson – 210
I, Robot – Isaac Asimov – 240
Gulag Archipelago – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – 660
11/22/63 – Stephen King – (In progress)
Fellside – M.R. Carey – (In Progress)

Pages read: 6,557

Favorite reads this year: The Demon-Haunted World, The Road, Misery, and The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto.

Writing

Back in February I actually committed to writing, finishing, and posting something. It’s called Break Up Letter and is on my other site. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with my other site but I’m thinking of using that to house my not-travel content. Mostly stories about longing and uncertainty. Even though my life is incredible right now, it’s the sad stories that stick in my head. Sad things that happen in beautiful places. I guess it’s easier for people to resonate with.

I not only find the writing fun and challenging, but I like to use my own photography, photo editing knowledge, and limited design experience to make a story cover. With my vast collection of photos, I won’t have a problem creating more. The process for me is probably just as fun as posting something.

An attempt to actually post a story.

I’d like to say that I’ll commit to posting more short pieces of fiction or even some opinion literature but we’ll see. I feel more comfortable doing so now and like knowing that I keep making progress.

Photography

Travel photography is still my first love. But I do take other photos. I did a bit of portrait work for people and even did some product photography for a small, family-run business. It’s kind of fun helping people and not expecting anything in return. I learned that trying to photograph multiple cats in a craft brewery is absolute madness but unforgettably fun.

Here are some of my favorite photos taken this year.

Future

Life has been great for me and I’m currently just riding the wave. I always feel the need to try to end a post with something profound and through-provoking so I’ll leave you with this: Even the smallest act of kindness can help ease the suffering of humanity. Don’t look at the small acts of kindness as just a drop in the ocean. Think of that drop as the ripples it produces that are felt by everyone else in the water.

I can’t help but feel bad for those who aren’t doing as well I am. For those who want the help, I’d like to help but I just don’t know how. At least not effectively. I guess it’s better than being in a position where you don’t know where to get help. It’s easy to donate money into the abyss. Maybe those who need it will receive a portion of it. There has to be other ways. I just feel like I can be a benevolent force on a small slice of the world. It’s up to me to figure out how.

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