A look back at 2017 and a look forward to 2018

As I sit in front of my desk on the eve of a new year it’s time to take a pause and reflect on what has come and gone and what lies ahead. I started this blog only nine weeks ago and am amazed that I have managed to keep it going this long as I notoriously have a short attention span. One of the things that has kept the ball rolling is that when I started I created a plan for the posts I was going to write up until the new year which helped take away a lot of the guesswork of what to post; It also helped me think about the direction I was going to take, both metaphorically and physically. Having spent a lifetime trying to avoid order I now find myself embracing it in a some what zealot like fashion and stumbling across GTD some years ago just fuelled the fire. But looking around the internet at what others have done the successful ones are usually the most organised, or maybe that’s just my perception. I’m just rambling now and can easily slip down a rabbit hole that I may not reappear from so maybe I will save this all for another day. But coming back round I do feel that having a plan will help me concentrate on next year.

This last year has seen progress although not as much as I had hoped for but any progress is good and I have achieved a lot in starting to dispose of the clutter. Starting off with a very cautious approach where I didn’t really want to to get rid of anything to by the end of the year everything must go attitude. Having got rid of a lot of things that I never thought I would do I find a feeling of lightening and freeing from the weight of sentiment and possession. One realises that really things don’t matter. Now don’t get me wrong there are many things that I treasure and wont dispose of as they are of value to me or to the family. A recent conversation with a far off relative made me think about the meaning of items handed down and the need to curate and conserve these items as an important record of history. I am not talking about the garden gnome collection of the boxes of dusty annuals in lofts but the things that have an antique value. For generations to come I feel that it is just as important to protect this history in the same way that we can look back now at our ancestors. In this day and age of digital what artefacts will be preserved? So I am trying to be careful about what I will pass on.

So far I have been accumulating a wealth of information to incorporate it into my own journey and there have been many people I have learnt from remotely without ever meeting. There are so many interesting stories to follow and although one is usually seeing a sanitised and editing form it still is amazing to see that anyone with a camera can tell a story that can be read around the world. The main problem is finding them as it feels increasingly like walking on a sandy beach looking for that penny one dropped. I have been inspired to start this blog from the people I have been following and some more directly than others. I have been inspired to think about goals and aspirations, challenged in the way I think and have found all sorts of motivational sources out there with just a click of a button. Much of next year is going to act on the info I have picked up from 2017 not just in adventures but also in personal development. Getting better at things requires consistency and that will be the mantra of 2018. For the first time in some years I am positive about the following year and am excited to see where the blog takes me. I will of course document the successes and failures and my ongoing thoughts to the wider world even if no one listens it is still a diary for me to look back on.

Wishing you the reader a very happy and healthy 2018.

New VanLife Podcast

Just wanted to give a shout out to a new van life/transformation podcast over at vansformation.com. A great way to start the new year with sometime to listen to whilst tinkering in the garage. Learnt loads about #leisurebatteries already. I shall be following this one as I have lots of ideas for micro mobile-camping that I want to tryout.

Links to it:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/vansformation-podcast-all-about-self-build-van-conversions/id1328605974?mt=2

http://vansformation.com/category/podcast/

Penny jar, or phat phone fund

Holly-LeavesI’m pretty sure that I wont get to many opportunities to say this  but “Twas was the night before….” on this blog, but all the things have been done and now it is time to sit back and relax on Christmas eve and enjoy the holiday brake.

Back in October I decided that I needed a new phone. Not on a whim or because I have to have the latest gadgetry but because the one I am using now has a number of faults with it the main being with the camera. It is also slowing and some rather erratic behaviour (It would seem Apple have owned up to slowing older phones down to save battery power) and with the minimum memory I am constantly coming up against “memory full errors”. Now in the scheme of things this wouldn’t be a problem but as I have started to take a lot more pictures and video clips out and about and it is some what annoying for the phone to randomly shutdown mid picture taking. If I had an Android phone I could probably just put another SD card in and avoid some of the space aggravations, but as an iPhone user I don’t have that luxury. I have historically handed down my phones to family members as they still have some use in them it also seems foolish to just bin them and until recently I was unaware of sites that buy your used phones though they have to be in pretty good condition which usually mine aren’t as I am not at all precious about them. I know you can also sell them on a well know auction site but I’d rather not go through the hassle and the family members are usually very appreciative to get the “new” old phone.

Back to the penny jar or maybe it should be the phone fund pot. I decided that I would save up and buy one as I wasn’t going to be able to magic one out of the air any other way and it also meant I would need to look at what was actually suitable for me. It is like being a teenager again and saving up for my first bike although that was a summer of back breaking work this is a more leisurely meander. Any loose change gets chucked in and any little job I can get something for goes in there too, so over the course of the last couple of months I have managed to save up just over one hundred pounds, which amazes me. It’s been a long time since I had to think how I am going to afford a new phone but this way is not only helping me to make an intentional purchase but it is also fun to see the fund grow and know that at the end of the period there will be something that has no credit on it and I own it through my own efforts.

It is quite refreshing not being a slave to the tech and having to have that latest thing and now with the latest phone costing over £1k to me it is some what challenging  that a phone can cost almost as much as a laptop and does it really have that much value? The more we buy into this the more it encourages it in my view. Yes we all want the latest things and I guess most being in contract covers a lot is the cost of the phone but even so 1k, really?

So what to get well I am weighing up whether to get an SE or whether to go whole hog and get an 8 Plus. I really want more screen size as I want to be able to do more on the road and on my tiny screen it is a bit difficult. I am also wrestling with idea of getting cheap SE and an iPad Pro for working on. This bumps up overall cost but means I can get phone much sooner but I want make sure that it will fulfil my needs before jumping and the benefit with an iPad is I have a load more screen size and a pencil to doodle and draw 🙂 There is some amazing iPad artworks. Anyway at the moment I have to keep adding to that jar first before I can make a choice.

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I will keep returning to this sporadically to report on activity and on my current progress I reckon to reach my goal in around a year, so no doubt there will be new tech to muddy the waters by then but this is a very conservative estimate as I plan to sell a load more stuff on eBay that should get me a good way there.

I’ll be out there hustling next year to fill the jar and get that phone as I intend to seek out some adventure to record with this new gadgetry. It is also an experiment in “mobile” mobile life; to see if it is possible for me to do without a laptop for the first time.

Happy Christmas to anyone reading this and 2018 promises to be an eventful year and hopefully I will be able to record some of it.

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