A Lot Can Happen in a Year: 2014 + Announcements + Best Posts of the Year


A lot can happen in a year

The coming of the New Year is always a weird time for me.  For most of the year, I try to be in the present and concentrate on what I’m working on.  But this time of year I tend to focus on all the things I’ve done and what plans lay ahead.

It never seems like a year is long enough to do much. But as I reflect over 2014, I realize just how much I’ve actually accomplished.

I took on several challenges that I’d never tried before and had a lot of great, new experiences. I’ve gone through many big changes and I took some really big steps in writing for this blog.

As I look ahead to 2015, I can already see signs of better things to come. Some new projects and plans are already in the works which I’m really excited about.

But before we get to the new year, here are some of the highlights from the previous one:

1. More traveling. I spent time in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. I also went to California to go wine-tasting with friends and toured all the missions in San Antonio – not just the Alamo, all of them. It took all day, but it was worth it to see some incredible sites. And seeing Mardi Gras in New Orleans was unforgettable.

2. I released my book on travel – Spend Less, Travel More.

3. I’m working on a new book. I’ve almost completed the first rough draft.

4. My wife and I risked a ton of money on IVF in order to start a family. The odds weren’t great, but I’m happy to announce that we were successful. Sometime in mid-April, we’ll be having a baby boy. It’s all so very exciting. I love when a big risk pays off.

5. Several people have expressed interest in donating to the site so I experimented with it by creating a Patreon page. I wasn’t sure what the response would be, but so far it’s been great. Click here if you’re interested in reading more about it.

6. I read over 50 books this year which met my goal of about one a week. Next year I’d like to do even more.

7. I’m reading all of John Steinbeck’s books. Now that I finished Grapes of Wrath and A Russian Journal, I’ve read 19 in total. Only nine more to go.

8. My wife and I made a goal to stop eating out – both restaurants and fast food (unless we’re traveling). We’re making all our food at home and it’s been a fantastic experiment. Not only are we saving a lot of money, but we’re also eating much healthier.

9. I took in some masterpieces this year at some art museums and the symphony. I got to listen to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons live.

Goals and Thoughts for 2015

In January, my wife and I are going to Turkey. We’re landing in Istanbul to see the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and wander the streets before going elsewhere in the country.

For those of you who might be wondering, my wife will be about six months pregnant during this trip, but we got the OK from our doctor to go.

By the way, here’s a quick tip on getting cheaper plane tickets. When we originally searched for flights to Istanbul, the price was $750 apiece. The next day it shot up to $875.

We tried the usual ways to get around it like clearing the browser of cookies and even used a different computer, but nothing worked.

So I called the airline directly and told them the website wasn’t working for us. I got the $750 price over the phone which saved us $250 in total. So if you notice a sudden price spike like this, it can be worth calling directly to get around it.

As I mentioned earlier in the post, I’ve also been working on a book. This time it’s a novel about men and women and their relationships together; I don’t know quite how to describe it yet without giving away too much. I expect to complete it sometime in 2015.

When it’s finished, I’m planning on sending it out to literary agents and publishers. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback and emails from readers who love my writing style so I think it’s worth searching out an agent who might be interested in my work.

Best Posts of the Year

I probably don’t say it enough, but I want to thank you all your support and readership. I feel extremely lucky and fortunate to reach so many people and that my words are touching so many lives.

More posts are already lined up for release in 2015. There’s a lot of good things to look forward to.

I’m going to end this by going over some of my more popular posts from the previous year. If you missed some of these, you should definitely check them out.

10 Hard Things You Need to Do to Live a Full Life

17 Ways Travel Makes You a Better Person – this one blew up on Stumbleupon and was seen over 13,000 times there.

The Einstein Method for Freeing Your Creative Mind

Do More Boring Things (Seriously)

50 Things Really Smart People Do All the Time

Why Having Faith in Yourself is So Damn Important
photo credit: just1snap

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  1. Hi Steve, that’s wonderful news!
    I wish you the birth will be as easy as it gets.

    Stopping eating out is hard because it’s so much fun. Me and my wife were able to reduce it to once a week.

    I’m experimenting with eating one meal a day. Which works great for my schedule and healthy living style. And it also frees me from thinking about food and it’s so much cheaper :)

    I love your writing style and I think your book will be a success.
    Good luck in 2015!

    • We reduced eating out to once a week too, at first. Eventually we figured that we could get do even less. My wife and I have found that cooking together can be fun too so we really don’t miss eating out as much as we thought.

  2. Steve, thanks for all the encouragement and inspiration through the year. Strangely I’m going to read less books next year so that I’ve got time for some really thick ones.

    • I try to save the thick books for over the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks when I have a lot more time. This Christmas I’m reading East of Eden which is Steinbeck’s longest book.

  3. Steve, you have such a great thing going here and so many wonderful things to count from this past year! I don’t always get here to comment, but I always read when the e-mail for one of your posts arrives and I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your posts.
    We wish you and your wife a great trip and all of you a happy second half(ish) of the pregnancy. Remember – get all the sleep you need for the rest of your life NOW before the baby comes! 😀
    Enjoy the holidays and have a great new year!

    • I’m glad that you love the posts. I always love to hear that people like what I’m writing.

      Sleep is something I know will be more difficult once the baby arrives. What’s funny is that I spent a lot of time this year working on better sleep habits and buying blackout curtains which has given me much better sleep this year. Oh well, it will be worth it.

      You have a great new year too and enjoy the holidays!

  4. Steve, congratulations on the great news of the baby! You’ve had an incredible year of travel, growth and reading. Wishing you more success in the New year.

    How do you find the time to get so much reading in by the way? I’d like to read more next year. I think setting a goal will be one way to get started on this project. Also, do you have a list of personal growth books you’d recommend?

    • I try to read every day for 30-60 minutes, especially right before I go to sleep – that makes it a part of my nightly ritual which I feel makes me more likely to do it. Then on Sunday I read for several hours. Plus, I take books on planes and just blow through them when I fly.

      There’s a list of recommendations in my the sidebar on the blog. Plus, I have a page listing all the books I read and a little review for each one – there are some good ones there too.

  5. Congrats!!! I wish you all the best in your endeavors. You seem to embrace the full force of positivity! Something we see in the stock market is the concept of risk/reward. I’m sure you know- no risk, no rewards. Doing something versus planning to do something are two very different things. I plan as of now to employ the former. Again thank you for your insights and best of luck my friend!!!

    • Thank you so much. I like to spread the positivity around, especially when it comes to taking a risk. It’s true – no risk, no reward. It’s the start of a new year and it’s good to think about all the things you want to do. Every year I look ahead and think that a year isn’t a long time to do much, but I’m always amazed by the end of what can actually be accomplished in that time.

      Have a great New Year.

  6. I’ve felt exactly the same about mine 2014, till I take a look on the December 2013 in my journal. So many things has happened!

    You definitely are doing some cool stuff 😀
    Congrats on your accomplishements and especially on having a baby!

  7. Steve, love this recap of the year. Looks like you have some awesome plans for 2015. Turkey will be a great way to start the new year with a bang. The Blue Mosque … breathtaking.

    And a baby in your life will mean more upheaval (the good kind) than you ever imagined. I’m looking forward to reading all about it here !

    • The Blue Mosque looks amazing. In fact, all of Istanbul looks great. My wife and I were watching a travel documentary on it and we saw a lot of things to discover and explore in the city. It should be a good time.

      The baby has already been a little bit of an upheaval, but a good one. It’s a change we’re both looking forward to. So far it hasn’t interrupted our travel plans though. This baby has already been on a plane several times and we’re making plans on where we first want to take him after he’s born.

  8. Awww, I missed your San Antonio visit! Would have been nice to show you the missions myself (as a history lover).

    Kudos on the IVF and the continued travel. You are really doing something cool :) Good luck in the new year. I might not make a blog post on The Hacked Mind about it, but I will surely think long and hard about it.

    • Good luck in the new year to you too. It would have been great to have gone to the missions with you too – My wife and I will probably go back to there again so I’ll have to message you when we do.

  9. I can’t wait to see your progress this year! I’m looking forward to reading and promoting your next book, that’s exciting.

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