Welcome to my annual year in review! I’ve got lots of photos and stories to share with you from a very adventurous 2016.
This year I’m also doing something new: Instead of just recounting the past 12 months, I’m also doing a forward-looking review. I’m going to tell you now what I hope to have accomplished by the end of 2017.
The question I’m asking myself, as Chris Guillebeau puts it: “This time next year, what 3-5 things will have made the year amazing?”
By December 2017, I hope to tell you that I…
- ran two impactful programs for self-directed young people that earned glowing feedback: the 12-week Argentina Semester and 7-week Southeast Asia trip.
- gave presentations in England and Europe as part of a self-organized speaking tour meant to spread the ideas behind self-directed learning.
- dedicated serious time to dance—tango and blues fusion—through festivals, private lessons, and social dancing.
- built, tested, and launched my first online course.
- spent at 30+ days hiking or backpacking.
I see this as a combination of new year’s resolutions, staying true to my goals, and fortune-telling. I’m not discounting the possibility or importance of serendipitous events; I’m just trying to go into 2017 with some clear intentions for how I’ll measure my success.
Alright—now back to 2016! I’ve divided the year into five parts:
- New Zealand
- On The Road
Part 1: Guatemala
On New Year’s day I woke in Xela, Guatemala, where I spent January escaping the winter, improving my Spanish, and reflecting on my nomadic lifestyle. I arrived on December 31st from Oaxaca (Southern Mexico) via a series of buses, taxis, and bicycle rickshaws. Traveling solo with a lingering lower back injury, I wasn’t able to walk very far, so I spent a lot of time working from my sweet top-floor apartment overlooking Xela (a.k.a. Quetzaltenango) which I rented for $550/month.