Spanish camping adventure!


We went camping near El Barco, Spain, this last weekend and it was beautiful!

It was a pretty rainy weekend but with plenty of sunshine as well. We had a very fun Friday night in town at a wonderful little bar before heading back to our tent (Lindsey was in the house on the riverside property we rented). Calico played soccer with some local kids in the square while Lindsey and I had a few glasses of wine. We tried to go hiking on Saturday but got hit with some heavy rain and thunder and had to jog down the mountain quickly :).

Calico and I slept in the tent both nights despite a little rain. And we managed to make cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and smores. Next time I need to bring a better metal grill top as it made the hamburgers pretty difficult with the one they had.

Good times :)!

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Brothers united!


The Welch-Bolen brothers have united for the first time since Christmas 2018!!! Watch out world :)!

Here we are in front of the red carpet in Cannes, France :)

I got to visit with Nick for ten days, and it was fantastic (he lives in Shanghai, and with Covid, that was a pretty impossible visit either way). We even managed a swim on Friday!

He is in the movie industry and was on a team that won this year’s 48-hour film contest in Shanghai. They then got picked by the global 48-hour film contest as one of the best short films worldwide and were given free tickets to Cannes to do a screening in the short-film corner. They are here to network and hopefully line up funding for a feature-length horror film they are working to make (if you know Nicolas Cage, they feel he would be perfect for the lead).

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Father son bike weekend! 47km!!?


I’ve been wanting to take Calico on some longer bike rides, and we made it happen this weekend!

After school on Friday, we headed North to Ponte De Lima. It was so much fun to have some time just me and him. We cooked together, ate outside, and had adventures. And Lindsey enjoyed a lovely quiet solo weekend

The routes we did were 99% gravel/dirt, 100% car-free, and relatively flat next to a beautiful river.

Day 1  – 22km

He wanted to keep going and going! I was amazed as I expected to hit ~8km, and he would be tired. I had to force him to turn around at 11km so we would return in time for lunch.

Tota time biking – 2 hours 7 minutes.

Total time – 4 hours 13 minutes.

We stopped for a long time to play in a waterfall. And plenty of stops to explore and eat a snack. He has a single-speed and isn’t totally comfortable with some terrain, so we walked a lot of the uphills. He got a lot more comfortable by day two.

Short video here…

(one of his his first pedal biking!!!)

(funny picture of below with Calico being very hungry and trying to be patient for food)



Day 2  – 25km!!!

He was really excited to go again, so we packed up our Airbnb and headed to the trails. He was insistent on beating his day 1 record, and I convinced him to turn around at 13km (in time for lunch).

Tota time biking – 2 hours 15 minutes.

Total time – 3 hours 37 minutes.

There wasn’t as much to explore this way, and we started later. So we kept moving pretty well.


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Spring break trip to Valencia + Rose, Steve, and Evie!


It has been a big adjustment to have Calico in school, as we can only travel when he is on break :).

So for his spring break, we drove to Valencia on April 1st for two weeks (about 7.5 hours away)!

Calico got sick before we left, so much so that we delayed our drive a few days. He was having high fever and nightmares at night. We were both pretty tired from the long nights. This first year with him in school has been challenging with what he brings home.

I started feeling low energy and got sick for a day, but then I felt better. I did a full workout on Monday but then went and got a massage on Tuesday morning, which broke me. I think being face down for 45 min just destroyed my sinuses. I was sick for nine days with sinus crap; it sucked (somehow, it got in my right eye). And even after that, it took me a few more days to shake it thoroughly. I need to see a specialist about my sinuses as something is wrong with them (it is almost the only thing I ever get sick from). I have also been working too much and shot. I need to rebalance, but it is hard as Shepherd is in a critical phase.

Luckily Calico and Lindsey were fine and visited with our friends there.

And luckily, I was improved by the time Rose, Steve, and Evie came to visit. It was so much fun to have them stay with us, and I hope we can do it again soon. Evie is adorable, and we had a blast showing them our favorite city in the world. Calico adores Evie, and it is a happiness to see them both interact (he is also pretty fond of Rose and Steve, he made about a million things for them before they arrived, even a cardboard bar nook so he could serve Steve beer, lol). Lindsey enjoys entertaining, and it felt like we had several Viking feasts.

Many of these photos are credited to Steve, as he knows WTF he is doing with a camera :)


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Happy birthday to my amazing wife :)


We spent Lindsey’s birthday weekend at an old Portuguese fishing cabin on the coast. We had a fire, we grilled and had a really good time. The weather wasn’t quite what we were hoping, but we had way more sunshine than we expected. Watching Calico play on the beach, dunes, and tide ponds is so much fun.

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Calico’s first day of real school :)


Calico’s first day of real school was today! He was excited and Lindsey and I both walked him there and picked him up :)

He is still processing it, as it is a bit of a shock. And they are jumping right into cursive which is new for him. I wish him luck :)

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Granada and Malaga (Spain)…


On the way home, we visited Granada and Malaga in Andalucia, Spain.

Grenada was beautiful! We toured Alhambra and found an amazing Syrian place to eat. We ate there twice; it was so good. I also did one bike ride, but it was way too much city riding, and I finally found some gravel at the end of the ride.

Malaga was bigger, sunnier, and had a beautiful beach.

We really liked it, and I got to have a fantastic lunch with Serita. Serita is the freelance editor who takes care of many things at Shepherd. It was really great to meet her, and she brought some of this Tequila she has crafted (I am looking forward to trying it)!

I also managed a long bike ride; the Malaga trails were amazing. I hope to go back and explore more of the gravel routes one day.

We are home now, and I am catching up on a lot of work and random family things we’ve put off. I am feeling more rested which is good.

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2023 plans.


This is how I feel about 2023.

I am excited about my life and the progress I’ve made as a human. There are so many amazing things going on, and I am excited to see them shake out. 2023 is going to be fun :)

As a family, we are figuring out where we will live for the next stage of our lives. That is exciting, asI doesn’t enjoy the current limbo state.

My big 3 for the year?

  1. Get Shepherd to a break-even point on costs and exit beta 🥳. I am having so much fun with this project! So many cool features coming this year…
  2. Live a life full of adventure! I am hoping to do another big bike tour this year, but I am waiting to see where we land as a family first. I am also hoping that Lindsey can do a solo vacation soon. And I am planning some camping trips for Calico and me (and maybe a bike trip).
  3. Let it go. Short hand for the continued work to keep my energy and health in a good place. I redlined in 2022 multiple times and I aim to do better this year.

Onward to 2023!

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2022 in review.


2022 was a hard year… but we also had a lot of fun.

The year had a rough start.

We found out Lindsey was pregnant in January, but a few weeks later, we found out it was not viable (followed by a miscarriage ~6 weeks later). We’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while, and this was emotionally hard. It took me a while to process it as we were so busy. Lindsey’s health hasn’t been great since the miscarriage, which has been stressful for us. We are making progress there and are hopeful she will be back at 100% soon.

We spent the first six months of the year on the road with an epic road trip around Europe. We wanted to look at places that might make a more permanent home as Calico gets closer to starting school. Road trips are great as we spend so much time with each other. We had a lot of fun adventures. But it also wore me down since I worked insanely hard to get to a good place. We haven’t reached a conclusion to this search for a home yet, but we hope to make a decision soon.

The Amazing

Lindsey and I have been married for eight wonderful years! She is a great PIC🙃. Calico turned six this year, and we had so much fun this year. I am thankful that I have a flexible schedule so I can get a lot of time with him. 

I did an epic 999km bike tour along the Via Francigena route in Italy. It was a mind-blowing experience, and these rides make my soul sing. I am looking forward to my next one…

What fun stuff did we do this year?

  • We started the year with a massive road trip to explore places we might want to make a more permanent home (pictures here). We started in Montpellier, France, and then headed to Karlsruhe, Germany, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, and finally, Graz, Austria. After that, we were exhausted and took a long stay in Istria, Croatia (we love Croatia). Then we spent some time in France in Aix-en-Provence, and some short stays in Lyon and Bordeaux. It was good to get home after all that.
  • While we were in Croatia, I did a 3-day ride over an old rail trail. Lindsey and Calico tagged along in the car, and it was a really fun experience. We also did our first tasting menu at an amazing hotel/restaurant in Slovenia.
  • We took Calico on his first camping trip! Calico and I slept in a tent while Lindsey got a wonderful little cabin. We had a blast, and I am planning another one soon.
  • I did an epic 999km bike tour along Italy’s Via Francigena pilgrimage route in October. It started in the foothills of the alps and ended in Rome. Here is a summary, and here are a ton of pictures. I did a much better job training for this one (which I am proud of as I wasn’t prepared for the previous one). The food was amazing, and I had a lot of treats.
  • We visited dear friends in Dublin for Thanksgiving. It was so good to see Rose, Steve, and their new family member Evie. I got a cold that got in my sinuses which wasn’t fun, but I managed to rally for the second half of the trip. We hadn’t seen them since 2017, and I’ve missed them.
  • My mom and stepdad visited us for Christmas! I wish they could have stayed longer as it went by too quickly. Calico loved having them here. I was frustrated as I hit some health bumps, which took time away from everything (trying to be kind to myself as it happens).
  • I turned 41 years old with my lovely family!

The Challenges!

As mentioned above, Lindsey has struggled for most of 2022 with post-miscarriage health issues. We think we are on a good path now and will know more soon (stress is lower). I was doing well health-wise, but December has been a mess. I think I am just exhausted at this point. I finally went to the hospital last week to get checked out (I was worried it might be Chron’s). They said everything looked good, and I most likely had really bad food poisoning and need to rest. I hope to be back at 100% soon.

Calico knocked a tooth out…
Calico started 2022 by knocking out a tooth at the playground. He handled it well, as it was pretty intense. He fell on a climbing structure, and it perfectly knocked out one tooth. Luckily the root and everything else were fine.

I ran into a wall several times this year. Between the miscarriage, travel, and work intensity, my energy management didn’t go well. It was a good learning experience; and I am sure I will do better in 2023. Running your own business is always hard, and the starting phase 100x harder than any other.

How did I do on my goals for 2021?

Fantastic on two out of three!

  1. Shepherd is doing fantastic and growing like a weed. I’ll do a separate post with more details. We didn’t quite exit beta, but that is coming toward Feb/Mar. I am having so much fun with it 🙂.
  2. We had a ton of adventures in Europe! And I managed one short bike tour and one long one.
  3. I didn’t do well on energy, and I am paying for that now (and during the year). Lindsey and I probably need a real vacation where we go to a beach or mountain cabin and do nothing but rest (I’d love to find one with childcare/activities).


I am super excited about 2023! I have big plans for Shepherd! I am most excited about shipping genres and age groups soon. I’ve wanted that since the start, and we are finally in a place to do that (starting work next week and should have it ready to show by late March).

We will figure out where our more permanent home will be. Calico starts schooling in September, and we want to find a home for our family. We are feeling some stress over this decision (I especially don’t like being in limbo).

Longer 2023 post coming soon…

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2022 workout/health summary.


For 2022:

How do I feel about this year?

I think this year was a minor miracle.

We went on a slightly insane journey in the first six months of the year, and I managed to keep my workout routine. I am proud of that, as that shit isn’t easy. I am much better at maintaining workout routines than I was ten years ago.

On the less proud front, I will start with this quote…

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow what a ride!” – Hunter S. Thompson

This describes my December as I didn’t end the year well.

It has been a rough month. I got hit with a weird depression (super unlike me), followed by exhaustion and brain fog. Then I got nasty food poisoning and immense fatigue. I ended up at the hospital last week (I wanted to make sure it wasn’t Chron’s). The doctors think it was a nasty bacterial food infection, which is “good” news. I am feeling better now, but my energy is still low. I am hoping it recovers after some more rest.

As the chief mechanic of Ben, I probably need a vacation where I do nothing for a few weeks. I need adventure in my life and bike trips to deliver that. But they are also intense, and when combined with work, there isn’t much “rest” happening. And eventually, my body says, “fuck you,” and my motorcycle tips over, and I slide through a wall… then all the king’s men have to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

I work best when I can balance intense creative work, adventures (biking trips), and vacations (resting on a beach or mountain cabin). But when you add life to the mix, that is hard to achieve. I’ve seen similar patterns with my wife, family, and friends. I am going to get better at this…


I am most proud of the training I did for my big bike tour this year. Unlike previous years I was prepared for the ride. I hope to keep that up for the next one. I also did well, considering how busy Shepherd and life were.

Sick / Not 100%
I was sick, injured, or not at a hundred percent for ~11% of the year. That is about the same as last year. The main impact was this December mess, a cold/sinus thing in November in Dublin, and some flu thing in Croatia in May (I never tested positive for Covid). The interesting thing is those all came after feelings of being overwhelmed and exhausted. I need to listen better.

This year 75% of my sleep was rated as good sleep and 60% as “enough” sleep (7.5+ hours). That is similar to last year.

Strength / Rehab / Back
My back felt great 93% of the time this year. That is awesome!

Fun stats:

  • I set a new ride ascent record with a 1,249m gain one day.
  • My longest ride was 94km (per Garmin)
  • I ascended a total of 34,759 meters this year.
  • I biked 57+ hours in October on my big bike tour.
  • I did 122 strength training sessions this year for 92 hours. That hits my goal of 3 a week, but my average session was 45 minutes when I aim for 60.

What are my health/workout goals for 2023?

  1. Maintain a good base on my bike so I can do long bike tours.
  2. Do ST 3x a week for 60 minutes to keep my back happy.
  3. Continue to improve energy management so that I don’t red line. This is hugely important as I want to do a better job with health/stress in 2023.
  4. I want to shift some food habits by about 20 degrees. Specifically I want to shed some extra weight I am carrying, eat less meat, and change some bad habits around screens + food.

I am also adding in speed workouts, but still playing with that.

Past years: 20142015201620172018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 workout summary.

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2022 Book Summary.


Since 2010 I’ve participated in a yearly challenge to read 100 books. For 2022 I barely made it with 101 books. It has been an intense year, and combined with working so hard on Shepherd; I didn’t have as much time for reading.

92% of the books I read were fun, and 8% were serious. I am not reading as much non-fiction, and I am curious if that changes anytime soon.

I do a big book summary each year; if you want to take a look at past years for some reading ideas, check them out here: 201020112012201320142015201620172018, 2019, 2021, and 2022.

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

  1. The entire Tom Swan series by Christian Cameron
    Christian Cameron is one of my all-time favorite authors, and this adventure historical fiction series was amazing. I love the characters he creates and how much they grow over the course of a series. I can’t help but fall in love with them (so hard to say goodbye). This is based in the 15th century and follows someone who is a bit like Indiana Jones. I read these while I was biking through Italy for 3 weeks, and they made the perfect companion.
  2. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
    This is hard science fiction from the author of the Martian. Earth is under threat, and an emergency program is started to try to find a solution. This stumbles into a first-contact scenario that is truly unique. With the current state of the world, I need some engineering/competence porn, and this book delivers. If you need to read about someone solving incredible problems with a gungho attitude, this book is for you!
  3. The Agent Cormac Series by Neal Asher
    I love this character and the science fiction world it imagines. This is some of the best science fiction I’ve read over the last few years. It made me think about AI and what the world would look like if AI ran it. What would a world look like that is filled with super intelligent AI programs that can come into conflict with each other and operate at a speed humans can’t even fathom?

3 honorable mentions?

  • Love fantasy? The Blacktongue Thief by Chrstiopher Buehlman is the best fantasy book I read this year. The characters are hilarious, and I was laughing loudly often. I eagerly await book #2.
  • Like to canoe? Adam Shoalts canoes upriver across all of Canada’s arctic. The book is called Beyond the Trees, and this book left me utterly silent inside. The way he describes what he sees is mesmerizing, and the scope of his trip is astounding.
  • I’ve been thinking a lot about the rise of fascism in the 19th century. I highly recommend My Name Was Five by Heinz Kohler for a unique view of the rise of Nazism in Germany. It is the story of a young boy growing up before, during, and after WW2 in Berlin. I couldn’t put it down.

Enjoy your next book :)

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Calico turns 6!!!


I feel so lucky to be able to spend such high-quality time with Calico. He is a great kid with so much personality!

This year was hard at times, as I was working a lot, we were traveling a lot to find a new home, and it was hard to find high-quality time for the two of us. I still did pretty well and hope I can improve in 2023. Spending time with him and Lindsey brings me happiness.

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Family Christmas :)


My mom and stepdad visited for Christmas! We had a blast! I wish they could have stayed longer, as it went by too quickly. It didn’t help that I hit some health bumps and was pretty exhausted the last week.

What did we get up to?

  • Went on a food tour around Valencia (and a little history).
  • Went on an amazing tour outside of Valencia to do some wine tastings, olive oil tastings, and a little history.
  • Took Calico to his first Circus (lion king one)! He was so excited! It was so much fun to watch him as he hasn’t seen many live-action things on a stage.
  • Ate some delicious Paella on the beach.
  • Calico’s birthday party (with some friends here in Valencia).

It was fun to introduce them to Valencia, our fav city in the world :)

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8 years married! :)


Lindsey and I have been married for 8 years, woohoo!

She is truly my PIC for life, and I love her dearly. She is a great mom, “human”, and future companion on our 700+ year journey around the galaxy in our nano space ship filled with VR.

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Dublin for Thanksgiving!


We spent 9 days in Dublin visiting Rose, Steve, and Evie (over Thanksgiving week). I haven’t seen Rose and Steven since 2017, which is a small travesty as they are some of my favorite people in the world.

It was so good to see them. I really liked this board game they had (they always have good games). The only bummer is I caught a cold that got into my sinuses the day I left. That took 5 days to shake and really hurt my energy levels. I had hoped to see a few things in Dublin, given it is one of my favorite cities in the world, but with the cold, I didn’t manage anything past seeing my old office and some delicious Thai food.

I cooked the Turkey and did the spatchcock method. It turned out well (glad I didn’t screw that up). Lindsey, Rose, and Steve made so much fantastic food (and Lindsey found “diamond-encrusted” canned cranberry sauce for my nostalgia). Lindsey made amazing pecan, pumpkin pie, and her world-famous vanilla mascarpone whip creme. It was an amazing feast.

I hope to see Rose, Steve, and Evie again soon. It had been too long between visits. And I bet Evie is walking by the time we see her next! This was my first time flying since the end of 2019.

I am looking forward to seeing my mom and stepdad next month for Christmas. The last time I saw them was in 2019 (before our move to Europe and Covid).

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This is bwb’s personal blog, so he can share his thoughts with the world, however scary or silly they might be. Plus family and friends can track what I am up to, and where I am in the world.

I am pretty simple. I love Mangos. I love the ocean (although mostly at sunset, as I’m a ginger). I love to travel, eat exotic food, do long bike rides, read, and use my imagination. At some point, I decided it was better to be a pirate captain than an admiral. I am a globalist and see the entire world as my responsibility and playground. And I am married to an amazing woman who makes life even more fun :)! And we are now the proud parents of Calico Jack :).