Denver Colorado!

February7

Lindsey and I made the drive up to Denver from Arkansas and are all settled in a temporary AirBNB place while we look for a long term place to stay. We got stuck for a few days due to the big snowstorm that blew through. In the spirit of life is a circle I am going to use the same image of Denver as I did when I moved here in October 2008 :) .

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We are very excited to be settling down a bit! Last year was very fun, but moving every 2 to 3 months can get a bit old. I am personally very excited to have a separate office again :).

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Brothers :)

January16

For Christmas my brother got me some awesome custom made button up shirts he secretly had made by his “tailor” in China (he is hilarious). So for a brief moment we matched, and all was well in the universe :) !

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PS. He is always striving to make me “classy”, and to go a step above my jeans and t shirt.

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2016 Goals & 2015 In Review…

January1

Happy new years!!! I am really looking forward to 2016 :)!!! Lindsey and I get back from our year abroad in January, and after a month in Fayetteville we are moving to Boulder or Denver for a year. I’ve lived 3 of the last 4 years abroad, and 2 of those years I was moving to a new place every 1 to 3 months. I am ready to settle down a bit, and have a little more routine (crazy I know!!!).

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I like to plan and I wanted to share my 2016 goals. I am trying one new thing this year, I am building out a weekly / monthly plan for how I am achieving these goals. I read a book that suggested this so I am going to give it a shot. In previous years I did this but in a very haphazard way.

For 2016 here are my 10 goals:

Two Major Focuses:
1. Make my new business a success!!!
2. Do yoga 3x a week.

And, eight more:
3. Further build my morning habit of rehab and meditation.
4. Read two books with Lindsey on marriage to spur discussion and to improve/learn.
5. Update: In January the doc told me i need to stop running due to my back. So I am shifting this goal to: Bike 3x a week and see if I can shift over to that.
*Previous goal: Be able to comfortably run 3 to 5 miles soon.
6. Build up to 10 minutes of non stop ball rehab workouts by the end of the year.
7. Go mountain biking or sledding at least once a month.
8. Read 100 books.
9. Make sure to make time for friends & family in Arkansas & Colorado.
10. Join Vistage and EO once I am living in Denver.

2015 In Review…
2014 was was a very bipolar year for me… it was the most difficult year of my life, and also one of the best (because of Lindsey). 2015 was very challenging as well. A lot of the chaos and anxiety of 2014 leaked into 2015 and my list of goals was super focused because of this pressure. I accomplished a lot, and a lot changed. I learned a TON in 2015, especially about being married.

So, what happened in my 2015?
Lindsey and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary in December! Lindsey likes to joke that we spent this year 18 inches apart because of the super small apartments we stayed in :). We had some very challenging moments this year, and we learned a lot and are stronger for it. After one year of being married I am amazed by the depth of feeling and reward that it can bring. We also had some tough moments that made us both feel like utter shit, but thankfully they didn’t last very long, and we are trying to get better at resolving them fast and nipping them in the bud.

Joel and I sold the business we started back in October 2008. It was a very difficult decision and occupied a huge swath of my focus from February 2014 to June 2015. I am glad it is over and ready to move on. And, I started a new business along with some great people.

Lindsey and I spent the year abroad since I work remote and she was applying to grad school! We spent 3 months in Nice France, Split Croatia, Nottingham England, and Vienna Austria. It was a great year and I am thankful we got the opportunity. We did some amazing hiking in the woods of France, along the coast, and stumbled upon a lemon festival.

– Sandy (Lindsey’s mom), Lindsey, and me did a road trip through the Austrian & German alps. It was a blast!
– Lindsey and I visited Budapest for a weekend. It was only a few hours away from Vienna via train.
– Lindsey’s dad and stepmom visited us in England and Scotland and we saw a ton of London that I had never seen before. We had a good drive in Scotland too :).
My dad and stepmom visited us in Nottingham for 3 weeks and we had a blast! We visited Ireland, parts of the UK, and even got tortured.
– I did a 56 mile bike ride from Nottingham to Sherwood Forest! I idolize Robin Hood and even did archery growing up in case he was a career option.
– Lindsey and I spent a week disconnected from the internet up in the Scotland Highlands for my birthday. It was beautiful and much needed after a difficult week telling the team about the sale.
Lindsey and I visited a bunch of Croatian islands while living in Split. Croatia is tied for my favorite place in the whole world. Check out the pictures and then book a trip. I want to move there.

I walked all of Hadrian’s Wall which has been a long term goal. In 6 days I walked a total of 98.5 miles :). Pictures of Day 1, Day 2, Day 3,Day 4, Day 5, and Day 6.

I fulfilled a trip I’ve wanted to do since college too! Lindsey and I took a trip to the Cathar region of France. The castles there are mind blowing and I had such a good time hiking and crawling around them. It is a super remote area and one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. I hope I get to go back and do more exploring one day.

The world lost an amazing person in 2015, Ying passed away in June. I miss her. She keeps popping into my dreams every so often to say hello.

I am glad it is 2016, and looking forward to another exciting year. I hope you are too!

Workout Summary 2015!

January1

2014 was a pretty tough year on my normal workout routine due to injury and health problems. 2015 was much better but still very challenging. For the first half of the year I was only doing rehab and walking. Slowly I was able to add back in biking and running. I had hoped to do a lot of yoga, but with Lindsey and I traveling it fell by the wayside. It didn’t help that the first eight months of the year were pretty stressful and I just didn’t have as much energy left as I normally do.

For 2015, I did a total of 254 hours of tracked workouts. 226 hours of that was hiking/walks, which was especially boosted by the the big Hardrian’s Wall hike I did. Fun stats:

  • I hiked/walked 727.9 miles this year for exercise!
  • I biked a mere 115 miles, I didn’t get enough biking in for the 2 months I had a bike. About 50 miles of that is one ride.
  • Over the entire year I ascented 58,000 feet walking (which isn’t very much when you think about it).
  • My rehab to make my core stronger didn’t go great this year, but it has gotten better. Most months I managed to do it every other day. I should be hitting 80% but it is hard to build that type of routine in when the exercises are so boring. I’ll get there.

    What are my workout goals for 2016?

    1. My main goal is to do Yoga 3x a week. I did a ton of Yoga in Nov/Dec 2014 and want to pick it up and make it a habit. It helps my core stay strong and it is very relaxing. I need more core strong to take more of the impact off my back and keep my annular disc tear from ever bothering me again.

    And, two smaller goals.

    2. I wanted to be able to start running, but the doctor said it was not good for my back. So I am working to switch over to biking, esp mountain biking. I am aiming to do a bike workout 3x a week while I explore that option.
    *Goal shifted late Jan 16.
    3. I want to build up to be able to do 10 minutes non stop on my core rehab ball workouts. That is going to be tough.

    2015 Book Summary

    January1

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    Since 2010 I’ve taken part in a yearly challenge to read 100 books, and I met my goal for 2015 with 141 books. I almost broke my all time record of 146 books from 2012. So what did I read? 2015 was not as stressful as 2014, but I still had a lot to shake loose in the first half of the year so I read a lot of “fun” books.

    I do a big book summary each year too, if you want to take a look at past years for some reading ideas check them out here: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. So what are my top books of the year?

    If you only read 3 books this year I recommend the following:

    1. The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet. This is written by Ramez Naam who is a great scifi author and someone who makes a lot of interesting blog posts. This book gives an overview of where the world is, threats to it, and the progress so far on solving some of those problems (heavily focused on the environment). I highly recommend reading it.

    2. The Three-Body Problem – This book is by Chinese science fiction author Cixin Liu. It is EXCELLENT, not only for the change in perspective, but the story is fantastic! Highly recommended!

    3. Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins – My brother gave me this book for Christmas and I was pretty skeptical, but I am a convert :) . The majority of the advice in this book is spot on and helpful for living your life and planning your retirement. He does a great job of explaining the value of money and I highly recommend reading it.

    Best Business Books Of The Year:

    1. Peter Thiel’s Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future. Great read, especially about the loss of optimism and the USA and our inability to plan or attempt BIG things.

    2. Clay Water Break: Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most with the Least – A fantastic book from the co-founder of Kiva.org about her journey.

    Top 3 Scifi / Fantasy

    1. The Monster Hunter’s International series. Monsters are real and when they get out of control someone has to step in. I also recommend Grimnoir Chronicles by the same author.

    2. The Night’s Dawn trilogy by Peter Hamilton. These are massive tomes, super detailed, and weird, but some of the best space opera I’ve ever read. Hamilton is amazing.

    3. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. One of the most original science fiction books I’ve read in awhile. It is about a group of people across time who just relive their lives again and again.

    Top 3 *Real* Books

    1. Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. An amazing book that illustrates that class difference money now makes and how American is becoming two Americas.

    2. The Happiness Project. I LOVED this book! She has a great sense of humor, well written, and good mix of personal narrative and scientific facts.

    3. Alif the Unseen. A cool techno thriller with some mysticism thrown in. It takes place in the middle east with hackers, a dictatorship, and Jinn.

    Top 2 Travel Books

    1. On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads. This was an amazing book about a dude traveling on horseback from Mongolia to Hungary just like the mongols. This was the BEST travel book I’ve read in years. Highly recommended, just beautiful, and so well written.

    2. The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey. The author and his brother go by covered wagon along the Oregon trail.

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    What is your 5 year plan? Tips on building one!

    December26

    At some point in 2004 I started building and maintaining a rough version of a 1 year / 5 year plan. That doc served an excuse to dream about what I wanted to do and how I wanted to live. The doc has evolved each year, and it has been a huge help in making sure I stay focused and not wandering off the path (or at least trying not too). Right now I keep 3 docs: a 1 year plan that outlines my goals for the current year, a 5 year plan that outlines the next 5 years and what I want to achieve, and a big doc that outlines how i want to live my life as well as a list of past plans, challenges, and adventures. Each year I get a little better at it.

    A 5 year plan shouldn’t be as rigid as train tracks where you are stuck going down them no matter what changes. It should be more like a dirt trail going through the woods. You might be two years down that trail and realize it is time to go another direction and reorient yourself.

    I highly recommend that everyone build out a simple doc that outlines your goals for the current year, and for the next 5 years. I think you will find it very useful. Need some help getting started in your plan? Here are some recommended articles and books to help you start!

    LifeHacker has a really good post on creating a 5 year plan. The book Your Best Year Yet is a bit cheesy but useful. I’ve worked through it with my wife at different points and the process was great for both of us. It will def make you think :). If you want to shortcut try this blog post as they use a similar process. Check out this post by Jeffrey Baumgartner on building a creative 5 year plan. And, the art of simple has a solid post where they share their process as well.

    Living life takes a little planning, else you wake up 10 years later and realize life steamrolled you and you are stuck in your own personal groundhog day.

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    Vienna Austria & Alps Roadtrip

    December26

    I love Vienna, it is a beautiful city and feels like a Germanic Paris. I highly recommend a visit :).

    What is one of the best things about Vienna Austria? The below is called an ubersterzer newmen or something auf deutsch :). It is a giant ball of real whip cream along with a double espresso. A man in a fancy white waiter jacket will even pour it for you which makes it all the more ridiculous :). If you are in town I highly recommend Cafe Museum (it is our favorite cafe).

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    Christmas markets!!! They are like a farmer’s market but with only Christmas stuff.

    Lindsey’s mom came into town mid December and we did a big road trip along the lower Alpine road. This took us from Vienna to Salzburg to Innsbruck to a ton of German mountain towns. It was a fantastic trip and a ton of fun! Here are some pictures!

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    1 Year Anniversary!

    December21

    Lindsey and I are celebrating our 1 year wedding anniversary today! It has been a good year for us, definitely some challenges in the processes, and we have learned a lot! We like to joke that we have spent this year only 18 inches apart due to our close proximity while traveling and living in very small apartments.

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    This pic cracks me up everytime I look at it :).

    Budapest Hungry!

    October20

    Lindsey and I went on a weekend adventure to Budapest, it is a really really cool city! We are hoping next time to make it to the big hot springs all over the city/country.

    44 Countries! Crazy!

    October12

    Wow, I realized when I was cleaning up my travel list that I have visited a total of 44 countries!

    Other random thoughts while thinking about this…

    • I’ve spent 3 of the last 4 years living outside the USA.
    • I lived for a year in Melbourne Australia and Cairo Egypt!
    • I lived for ~9 months in Dublin, Ireland.
    • I’ve spent at least a month in 15 different countries, a few twice!

    I love all the countries I’ve been too, but I especially love Croatia. I’ve been there twice for a total of ~6 months and can’t wait to go back. Amazing weather, fantastic food, great people, and a fantastic mood.

    Where do I feel the most at home? Ireland, the entire country just feels like sitting down in a bean bag after a long day at work, ie “this is where I belong”. Plus they don’t have snakes.

    I’ve got a lot of places I’d like to visit in the future (if I am able too). And, quite a few places I want to go back too. I’ve been really lucky to be able to travel so much!

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    Family Visit: London, Nottingham, Ireland, Bath, and Wales!

    October4

    My Dad and Marian visited for 3 weeks and we had a blast!!!! We started out in London, then back to home base in Nottingham, then a short trip to Ireland, then back to Nottingham, and finally we rented a car and drove to Bath and over and around Wales.

    Good times :)!

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    Reading – Fun Versus Serious…

    October4

    I read a lot, and I was curious if the ratio of fun versus serious books changed per year or remained roughly the same. I classified fun as anything I read that is fantasy, sci fi, travel, thrillers, ie, beach books. I classified serious as anything that was business, history, biography, etc.

    Percentage of fun books?

    2010 – 63%
    2011 – 64%
    2012 – 46%
    2013 – 54%
    2014 – 65%
    2015 – 70%

    Percentage of serious books?

    2010 – 37%
    2011 – 35%
    2012 – 54%
    2013 – 46%
    2014 – 35%
    2015 – 30%

    I’ll keep it going and see what it looks like in 10 years :)

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    Brains…

    September29

    You ever have that weird moment where your brain decides to remember a Pauly Shore movie in the middle of meditating? And it isn’t Encino Man but rather the one where he joins the military? Brains are weird.

    Walking Hadrian’s Wall – The Summary

    September28

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    It was a good walk! I feel like I got really lucky on weather as it was perfect the entire way apart from a few rain storms and some strong winds. I really like long walks, it is very calming, and you get a lot of time to think. I didn’t use my headphones once the entire week.

    Day 1 – 9 Miles in 2 hours 30 minutes
    Day 2 – 21 Miles in 5 hours 30 minutes
    Day 3 – 18 miles in 5 hours 45 minutes
    Day 4 – 15 Miles in 4 hours 45 minutes
    Day 5 – 20.5 Miles in 5 hours 45 minutes
    Day 6 – 15 Miles in 5 hours

    Total? 98.5 miles, the trail is 84 miles so the extra is from getting lost and walking to places to sleep every night.

    What do I recommend to navigate Hadrian’s Wall?
    Google maps + the map on the Hadrian’s Wall app. Using those two you can get anywhere.

    What did I learn?
    The Romans were incredible! This video has the highlights :)

    What would I do differently?
    I could have probably gotten away with packing one less sweater, and one more pair of socks. In Spain when I did a long walk it was very dry, and the UK just keeps your socks pretty soggy. I also recommend getting hiking boots instead of trainers, as i had to use plastic bags since they were not water proof. I think that is the only thing i would change apart from taking a little more time but I needed to be back to work on Monday.

    How far did I walk for my week on the camino? I was in better shape, but I walked ~143 miles in 7 days. Of course I also overdid that one, and came away with a sprained ankle for a few weeks. But it was fun and one day I managed to walk 36+ miles.

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    Hadrian’s Wall: Day 6 – Completed!

    September28

    The last day was the toughest, I walked 15 miles and the last 6 I spent limping as my left knee wasn’t handling going down inclines very well, or up them very well either (flat not so well either but at least I could keep a decent limping pace). But, I was going to finish even if I had to drag myself through fields full of lamb shit (luckily it didn’t come to that).

    It was perfect weather the entire way, barely any breeze, and surprisingly sunny. There was one path near the end that was extra tough, it disappeared into the salt marches and with my bum knee I had to jump a few fences and scramble a little back to the road a few hundred meters away.

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    If I look off in that first picture it is because of the pain.

    It was a good walk, summary coming soon!

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