The Halfway Point: US and 2012 Resolutions

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The halfway point in 2012 and in my five week tour of the United States has crept up on me and it’s hard to believe how fast time flies when you’re having fun. With my life only getting busier as I prepare for a two week west coast road trip and my return to Chinese life after that, I thought it was a good time to stop and reflect on what has helped make the first six months of 2012 so memorable.

I also wanted to apologise for the lack of genuine updates on here lately. When you’re bouncing from state to state and spending your days out exploring, you don’t get the time you’d normally have to update and write. I’m used to working a hefty two hour a day schedule that gives me plenty of time to update. Nobody said having the time of your life was so much work!

So, before I reflect on 2012, here’s a taste of what’s gone down in the past two weeks and what you can look forward to reading about in a few weeks time when I’m safely back in China with free time in abundance.

USA 2012: Six States Down…

The US trip so far has been a blur of activity. While I have had a few days of downtime here in Annapolis to get my head together, all too soon we’re off on another adventure. My girl Heather has been a fantastic host and a tireless tour guide – taking me to many places she’s already been so that I can experience them first hand.

While we did manage to fit in a new stop for her during our tour of Florida, she’d already been to Miami, Sarasota, and the Everglades. Still, I think I repaid her generosity by following her around for four or five hours on Sanibel Island while she looked at seashells…

Couple on Sanibel Island
Heather and I enjoying some sun and sand on Sanibel Island in Florida

After we parted ways in Florida, I met up with an old friend from my early days of internetting and had a blast checking out live wrestling and visiting Disney World.

Back in the north, we’ve not exactly been lasy either. There’s been an exhausting two day visit to New York, nights out exploring Annapolis and its surrounds, a wonderful day at Assateague Island and on Ocean City’s boardwalk, and most recently – a day in stinking hot Washington DC roaming the halls of the Smithsonian museums.

In the past two and a half weeks, I’ve not only done a lot – I’ve checked off a healthy chunk of my bucket list as well. So far on the trip I’ve ticked off nine bucket list items including seeing a show on Broadway, riding a tandem bike, eating Philly Cheese Steaks in Philadelphia, and attending a professional wrestling pay-per-view. I fully anticipate finishing more than a few more before this trip is through.

Pat's Cheese Steaks in Philadelphia
Posing out front of Pat’s Cheese Steaks in Philadelphia. Good eats!

Over the next two weeks I’ll explore west coast beaches, camp in Yosemite, visit Disneyland, indulge my love of fine beer at the Oregon Brewfest, attend my first real baseball game with old friends in Seattle, and finish it all off seeing my friends tie the knot in Chicago. I couldn’t be more excited.

Of course, the excitement is also tinged with sadness. I’ve had a wonderful time in the States, and that’s been because of the fantastic girl(friend?) I’ve been travelling with. Heather has opened up her home and her life to me, she’s taken far too much time to show me around, and she’s a pretty swell kisser as well. I’m very grateful for the experience.

But now, onwards! We’re at the halfway point in my trip, but we’re also at the halfway point in 2012. Let’s see how I am doing with those 2012 resolutions, eh?

But first, a word from our partners…

Well, not really. But the good people over at MoneySupermarket did shoot me this interesting little video about Brits Abroad. While I’m not a Brit myself, I don’t doubt that there are plenty of truths in this amusing clip about men and women travelling regardless of their country of origin.

What do you think? Does the video ring true to your own travel experiences?

2012 Resolutions: How Am I Doing?

Heather actually pointed out that it was halfway through 2012 and that I should update my readers on how I’m doing with my ten new year’s resolutions. After re-reading them, I was surprised at how well I’ve done. Let’s take a look at the list in short:

  1. Complete my TEFL certification and return to ESL teaching
  2. Travel to two (or more) countries
  3. Improve my physical shape
  4. Be a better friend and brother
  5. Finish a race of 10km or more
  6. Get Korean Tourist up and running
  7. Finish a novel
  8. Tick 5 to 10 items off my bucket list
  9. Improve Aussie on the Road’s web presence and profitability
  10. Be happier

I’m not only astounded, but also quite proud of how many of these I’ve achieved at the halfway point of 2012. I’d actually forgotten some of them were even on there, so to have achieved them anyway is pretty groovy.

I completed my TEFL certification on June 27th, and have been teaching ESL in China since I moved there in late March. That’s one I checked off in the wrong order, but I won’t complain about that.

Chinese classroom
In class in Shuanggou, China with 50 or so students. Exhausting, but rewarding.

I’ve also travelled to two more countries in the form of China and the United States, and I still have some plans to make use of my October vacation to visit South Korea, Hong Kong, or maybe Thailand if money allows.

#3 (Improving my physical shape) is also technically accomplished. I’ve lost 5kgs (10lb) since the year began, but I’m not going to be satisfied with that. Nor do I think that weight loss will remain true after another two weeks of take out food, over-indulging, and quality beer. The running will begin anew when I return to China on August 6th.

Of the middle chunk, I haven’t made the progress I’d like in a few of them. Korean Tourist (my side site devoted to tourism in Korea) has barely moved an inch since I registered the domain and set up the categories; I’ve had precious little time with my family to improve as a brother (and haven’t been the best friend I can be, if I’m being honest with myself); I’ve yet to run more than 9km in a single day; and my novel continues to grow at a snail’s pace. At this rate, it will be done by 2020.

But while I’m on the subject, congratulations to Talon of One Dad, One Kid, One Crazy Adventure fame on finishing his novel and getting it published. You’re an inspiration, mate! Go check out Rise of the Djall and help a fellow aspiring fantasy author get his career off to a running start.

But back on topic, the resolutions continue to tumble like houses of cards. I’ve cruised past the ‘achieve five bucket list items’ mark and have actually already hit the magical #10. I don’t doubt I’ll get another 5-10 checked off before this trip is through, and the year is still young. Go me!

Tandem biking in New York
Heather and I prepared for a tandem bike ride in New York City

Aussie on the Road is enjoying its best viewing figures ever, and I thank all of you for your Retweets, Likes, Shares, comments, and views. The site would not be what it is without the engagement and support I get from my readers. And that increased traffic has also meant substantially increased revenue from the site. In the month of May alone I made $1600 from the site. That’s more than I made from my actual teaching job. Sweet Lord.

And the final one: be happier. After the dark days of the battle with the black dog earlier this year, I’m pleased to say I’m at the happiest I can recall being in a long time. Between my website’s success and my enjoyment of my teaching job, I’m at a level of unmatched job satisfaction. I’ve got great friends both in China and abroad, I’m travelling more than ever before, and I’m moving towards being the healthiest I’ve ever been.

I’ve just been cast in a Chinese sitcom, I’m heading up a Men of Travel Blogging and a Women of Travel Blogging calendar for charity, and I’ve got 2-3 other sites I intend to launch by year’s end. My novel is moving along at a decent enough pace and I’m rediscovering passions that I thought I’d lost when my depression first reared its ugly head.

Touch wood, but I might be finally in the place I want to be and achieving the things I want to. It only took me ten years after high school to figure it out.

Your Halfway Point

The first half of my 2012 has been fantastic and I’ve achieved a lot of the things I’d set out to. How are you doing with your 2012 resolutions? Are you better off or worse off than you were when the year began?

I’d love to hear how you’re doing with your own resolutions and bucket lists!

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