2020 in Review.

December31

2020 was an interesting year to be alive.

It is always those damn air ducts.

For me, it was a great year with brief but intense moments of chaos and stress. When I think about 2020 it feels as if it was three years long but not necessarily in a bad way… but also not necessarily in a good way. The year started with us settling into our new home in Valencia Spain and ended with us moving to Viseu Portugal. In the middle, there was an intense period of lockdown where we couldn’t go outside, a fantastic road trip around Europe, a lot of wonderful time with Lindsey and Calico, and a lot of bike rides. All with a decent load of stress for family, friends, and the world.

At work the year started with a pivot for my startup, a lot of good responses from possible customers, signing up our first paying customers, and then Covid hit. By late April, I decided to shut it down as we couldn’t afford to sit and wait 12+ months for things to return to normal in the HR/Recruiting space. In hindsight, I think it was a good call. If we had been 6 to 12 months further along I think we could have weathered the storm, but we got hit at a bad time in the product’s birth.

Our family is very lucky in that our income wasn’t affected by this crisis. It is a lucky place to be given the devastation billions of people are feeling the economic crisis. A lot of people in the tech industry should thank their lucky stars.

The Amazing
Our little family is healthy and happy. Lindsey and I have been married for six years and we are going strong 😌. Our family had a lot of fun this year. I especially had a lot of fun watching Calico go from 3 to 4 and just exploded with imagination, complexity, and questions.

I’ve been disease-free and feeling good. I still eat a pretty strict AIP diet, work to maintain good sleep habits, and some other things. But, I did have some nice breaks and treats along the way.

We moved to Valencia which is my favorite city in the world. Our time there was amazing and I LOVE that city. We wish we could stay longer if not forever (we could only stay 2 years due to badly designed tax policy).

I did not do a bike tour this year, mostly because of Covid. But, I did get 1,000+ km of bike riding on our European road trip. Over the course of the year, I did about 6000km of rides. And, my back has been amazing 94% of this year.

What fun stuff did we do this year?

  • An amazing European nature road trip over 36 days in a big van with my bike. It was amazing! We started in Southern France and slowly made our way across it all the way to Avignon. Then a few days in Italy before shooting across to visit Slovenia. Finally, a little time in Salzburg Austria, and Freiburg Germany before heading home. I had so much fun on this trip… we saw some castles, Roman ruins, ate delicious food, enjoyed time with my family, swam in lakes and the ocean, and had some epic bike rides. We were super safe the entire trip and spent most of it in nature in long term Airbnb stays. We never ate inside (in fact we haven’t eaten inside since February).
  • I read a lot of great books this year. And, hit a new reading record crazy enough.
  • I ate so much delicious food and learned to cook steak really well.
  • We got an amazing new kitchen at our place in Valencia. I love cooking in it! And, I miss our amazing apartment.
  • We spent so many fun days at the Valencia parks and beaches. This is especially amazing in February.
  • The weather in Valencia is insanely good, that was a joy to be in.
  • Amazing carefree bike rides in Valencia and out along the beach. Just super recharging and peaceful.
  • I had a lot of really amazing dates with Lindsey before the pandemic when we had some amazing babysitters.
  • Lindsey took just me on this utterly amazing day trip to hot springs and other stops near Valencia. It was the first time we had a full day of just us. It was so much fun. We even went swimming in January (semi-hot spring)!
  • We spent a chunk of time exploring Portugal and trying to find the right city for us. That got a little stressful at times, especially as covid got worse, but we also had some amazing times as a family:).
  • I started planning a business idea I’ve wanted to do for a while and finally going to do it (around books).
  • Health! After last year I really focused on listening to my energy levels and not pushing myself too far. As a result, I didn’t really ever get sick (apart from one bad case of food poisoning). That feels good after 2019 where I got sick around 5 times.

The Challenges!

America
2020 is the year I finally said RIP to America. It has been a long time coming. Now I want to work on WHY, IF, and HOW I can still love America. It is hard to love a country that can’t get the most important things right and is hurting its own people so much. We do a lot of things really well too but are failing in almost every big category.

Covid
I am super introverted and it wasn’t a hard change. But it has been a big challenge for Lindsey and Calico. Lindsey can’t visit her family, and they can’t visit. And, visiting friends we made in Valencia got a lot harder. Calico is very social and loves playing with kids so the impact on him was hard. I am looking forward to him starting school in a few days.

How did I do on my goals for 2020?
I did really well on the let it go a bit. It is something I will always work on. I had a great meditation guide/therapist in Valencia. He helped me integrate some little meditations into my day.

On the business side, 2020 was not great. I shut down the startup due to Covid, but also because I didn’t listen to my gut and pivot sooner. I learned a lot and I am confident that will help me get to the next thing :).

We had some awesome European adventures despite Covid, so a big thumbs up there.

2021…
I am sure this will be a *really* interesting year.

I am looking forward to getting the vaccine. And, I am looking forward to seeing political ramifications as the economic damage becomes more evident and longer-term. Especially in Spain, I have a dream they fix the tax code so we can move back to Valencia long term.

For our family, Calico is about to start school for the first time. And, I’ve got an external office for the first time since 2004. This is going to be a big adjustment for our family and Lindsey.

Longer post coming soon…

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Happy 4th Birthday To Calico :)

December30

He turns 4 years old today :). Lindsey bought him some amazing balloons to celebrate. He was a bit bummed we couldn’t have a party with friends. But, when we explained why he understood and he starts school next week so he has that to look forward to.

We’ve had so much fun with him this last year, he started his why phase, and his imagination has exploded.

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Funny Calico Story…

December27

Calico was putting on his shoes by himself, and said to the left shoe “you are dammit”. And then to the right shoe “, you are Jesus”. I asked him what he said- he said “this shoe is dammit and this one is Jesus.” I asked if he knew what those words meant “no, I just hear you say dammit and daddy says Jesus a lot.”

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Merry Christmas!!!

December25

We had a great Christmas here in Viseu. Super chill and so much fun now that Calico is about to turn 4 years old (in 6 days!). He was so excited to leave out cookies and milk and water for Santa. The first thing he wanted to do was check on it and see if it was gone (he promised me he would put his hand up to block his view of Santa lol). Last year he didn’t quite get it whereas this year he is just so excited to open some presents. Fun day!

Merry Christmas to everyone 😀

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6 Years Married :)

December21

Lindsey and I celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary today, hooray :)! I am looking forward to another 6 years and hopefully way more after that!

Love you, Lindsey!

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Ted Lasso = Amazing TV Show

December8

This TV show is stunning, it is the best thing I’ve watched in years. I can’t wait for season 2. I don’t care if you like soccer, this is about humans and soccer is just the vehicle :). Go watch it!

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Moved to Viseu Portugal.

December6

As mentioned we have been looking for a place to live in Portugal and settled on Viseu Portugal. Why Viseu?

It is in nature, we like the feel, it has a great bike path, we met the mayor the first day we were here, and it seems like a great place to wait for Covid to pass. It is not a place we would normally choose, as it is a bid small (~100k) and a bit sleepy. When I am biking around it part of me is still surprised we picked it as it feels very rural. I like to say it is a covidenture (covid + adventure)!

So the last couple weeks have been doing things like turning water on, electric, getting a fridge, Ikea orders, Ikea building, and so on :).

Here we are celebrating Thanksgiving out at our fav restaurant! Calico had such a good day he crashed before we could even start getting him ready for bed :).

And here are some pics from the last month or so!

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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 too, 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, read, and use my imagination. I love creating and developing ideas into businesses, understanding how all businesses work, and building cool stuff. 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 :).


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