In the last few weeks I’ve been working non-stop on the major 2015 updates to the iPhone versions of my apps, along with some trail data updates for the AT. With a bit of a break around Christmas, I took some time to look back at the past year— it’s been a mighty eventful one.
Looking at the newspapers, I was reminded that it was a pretty rough year to be a human on planet Earth. There’s been so much death and violence and injustice, from Ukraine and Syria all the way to Ferguson and Staten Island. That’s just the tip of the shitberg, but I’ll just assume you know at least some of what I’m talking about. The urge to drop everything and head out for a through-hike can hardly get stronger.
But for me, personally, the year has gone better than any I can remember. The business and trail guides that I created with two good friends began to take off to the point where I can finally treat it as a job rather than a hobby. Having created something that people use and enjoy is incredibly gratifying, though I still can barely believe it when I see someone using the apps or mention them on their gear list. It feels a bit like a dream.
Of course, the stars have aligned pretty well to put me here. Being able to afford health insurance certainly helped, as did several years of experience living with next to no income. Mostly, I can attribute the success of the apps to blind luck, stubbornness, and lots of great friends whom I can ask for advice. Not a day goes by where I don’t feel thankful for at least one of those things.
This summer, I also finally fulfilled another dream by teaching for NOLS. I’d wanted to work for NOLS since the first course I took in 2005, but I’d been nervous about being able to live up to my own expectations. The first of two courses didn’t go so well, but the organization is filled with great people and has a very positive, feedback-oriented style, and I was able to learn from my experiences in the first course in order to improve on the second. I’m already looking forward to working more courses next summer, although there’s a lot to be done between now and then.
Then there were some really wonderful backpacking trips (for work and play) on the Appalachian Trail and in Baxter State Park. While I can’t say the AT trip was as fun as my original through-hike, it did have some great points. The Baxter trip is definitely up there with the best backpacking trips I’ve ever been on, though. To top off the fall, I spent more time hiking in Acadia National Park than I have in years. And I finished my New England 4000 Footers, and thus ended my peak-bagging lists (for now). Hiking so many miles in two of the most beautiful places in the world highlights just how well the year has been.
So now, for the first time in my life, I feel like I’m exactly where I want to be. I’m busy, I have a useful outlet for my creativity, I get to hike fairly often, I can afford to live on my own, and I feel like I’m doing something good. While I don’t harbor any delusions that I’m saving the world from any major problems, I know I’m making a few people happy, and at least that’s something. Hopefully, in the coming year, I’ll be able to put my skills to use in more productive and helpful ways. Here’s to a better 2015!