2017, A Totally Awesome Personal Annual Review

Reflection on the past is extremely important to the determination of goals for the future. That’s why I want to take a look at my 2017.

Trips

Travel is an important part of what I’m starting to call my “tertiary” (third-level) education. I travel to…

  •  Develop resilience to change.
  • Be able to connect with people from various cultural background through sharing a knowledge of their homeland.
  • Expose and develop palates for new foods and flavors.
  • Have conversations with fellow travelers  TOTALLY outside my mindframe to get a “headcheck” on my ideas, thought processes, passions, etc. (This is WAY underrated.)
  • Remove myself from my daily routine in order to gain perspective.
  • Enjoy a less rigid schedule. (I enjoy my daily schedule, but taking a break/changing it up is important to growth and appreciation.)
  • Consume podcasts/books at my own pace throughout the day.
Ecuador
I don’t look happy there. But I was (I promise.) I’d later this year get a tour of Copenhagen from the girl to my right. She’s now a good friend.

The year started with an incredible eye-opening journey to South America with my friend Matt. Just being able to feel the warmth of the tropical sun in February was amazing.

Getting to see how they live in Ecuador was really cool. It wasn’t a glamorous trip with fine dining adventures, but it was amazing. We dug our feet into the Pacific sand, climbed hills in the low jungle, and developed friendships along the way.

Read more about that trip here.

NYC

On the domestic side, we got together several old friends for a culinary tour of New York. This was an important trip for me. It allowed my old and new friends (MD and PA) to meet and get to know each other. That was a great joy for me.

It didn’t hurt that we ate at Le Bernardin, which has become likely my favorite restaurant in the world.

We stayed in a small apartment in Chinatown for $30each/night. It was special to get together with all these guys at once. It’s a rarity now that many of us are spread out and some have children.

L to R: My roommate Matt, my childhood friend Andrew, his brother and my roommate Gregory, my roommate John, my coworker Matt, and my childhood friend Nate.
Texas

My brother Chris really wanted to go to Texas, so I obliged (It was awesome.)

We visited with his college friend Greg. The trip was a time well spent with my brother and two of our good friends, Nate (see image above) and Greg.

We went cliff jumping in a big lake. We ate obscene amounts of BBQ. And we drove around central TX in the heat cracking jokes and drinking beers. This was another joyful trip.

Me and my brother Chris
Vegas

Vegas was an interesting trip. I went with four guys I don’t know that well, but had met their group through mutual friends. They are all deep thinkers and take personal growth very seriously, which is why I wanted to spend time with them.

While Vegas itself was a bit of a depressing place wrought with prostitution, licentiousness, and just overall garish anti-intellectual “new money” Dionysian complacency, I found the trip to be a nice time to be able to have some good conversations with new people.

It didn’t hurt that Vegas has some very well-executed food (albeit very pricey.)

Read more about my thoughts on Vegas here.

Hanging out with Matt, Vinny, Kyle, and Joe in the Cosmo hotel .
Cincinnati

After having met Andrew through I mutual friend I decided to come out and see how he lives in Cincy.

Andrew was an incredibly gracious host. We explored the town he live in. We played soccer with his work crew (great guys, hope to hang out with them in the near future.) We discussed travel hacking and Euro soccer. We went to the best apartment complex impromptu pool party I’ve ever attended.

Cincy Skyline on a perfect day.
Brooklyn

My roommate Matt and I did a quick weekend NYC trip to tour some food joints with my friend Kana (we met through Yelp and our mutual obsession for good food.) Kana is always fun. She has such an intense love for the NY food scene, which I really appreciate. She may be one of three people on this planet to love talking about food more than me.

Wildwood/Cape May

My roommate John had a place in Wildwood, NJ for the week so we decided to go down with my other roommates for a quick beach trip. The Wildwood boardwalk and beachfront  itself is an utterly debase place (dirty, loud, and crowded.) However, nearby Cape May is pretty and has a lovely quiet beachfront.

Copenhagen/London/Ibiza/Barça

I covered this solo trip in depth here.

Solo travel is really fun if you’re the type of person who enjoys novelty and excitement (with the tradeoff of some uncertainty.)

I met a lot of really cool people on this trip around the continent. I was quite satisfied spending two weeks just walking around european cities in the summer listening to my favorite podcasts and walking long distances to find the restaurants I had mapped out.

Just spending time by the hostel bars in Copenhagen, London, Barcelona and Ibiza chatting with fellow travelers was a gold mine of fun. Meeting new people of all ages who are in a place where they are open-minded and conversational is hugely rewarding for me.

These cities were all unique in geography and culture. It was really cool to see these places I’d alone ever heard about before from friends, textbooks, and news articles.

NYC Friend Trip

We went back to NYC with a smaller group of childhood friends. We had a whole two-bedroom apartment to ourselves. We ate our way around the city. It was fantastic.

Pittsburgh

I ended up in Pittsburgh this past Thanksgiving weekend for a surprisingly fun non-“baby shower” baby celebration party.  It was good to connect with a few friends and send them off into this new chapter in their lives. This whole “getting married and having kids” thing is starting to become very popular amongst my friends :).

Major moves and focii

Minimalism

I have implemented and stuck to a much simpler approach to my living space. This has been a joyful simplification as now the stuff I have is all owned very intentionally.

Reading

I had a solid year in reading. Books that stick out are. I could probably benefit from doing a bit more fiction.

  • Guns, Germs, and Steel
  • Tidying up 
  • The Little Book that still beats the market
  • Obesity Code
  • The Boron Letters
  • Early Retirement Extreme
  • The Six Pillars of Self Esteem
  • Don’t Shoot the Dog
  • Million Dollar Consulting
Social Gatherings

We hosted 6 dinner parties for friends. We hosted another 6 bigger parties at the house, most of which were very well attended and raving successes. I’d like to continue to provide a space for my friends (and new friends) to gather and meet in a comfortable and fun setting.

Faces

I started the year a bit pudgier than I’d prefer. I think I took a healthy and sustainable journey in 2017 towards being healthier. Here is an album of pictures taken about monthly through the year. I don’t see much change really (which is good.)

Best Purchases

2017

This was an excellent year. I’m exceedingly grateful for the wonderful people that made this an joyful and rewarding year.