Every year in early January I post a last year in review/new years resolution blog. This year, I didn’t. Not because I didn’t want to, life was just really nutso crazy pants in January, since I moved back to Los Angeles after living in Orlando for 2 years. The rest of this year has also been pretty intense, with a lot of big life events, work projects, traveling… my blog has been seriously neglected. And I regret that. I love keeping it fresh and up-to-date. So this month, I’ll be posting a lot… starting with this incredibly long overdue new year’s post! I just can’t not post it, even if it is 9 months late, hah!

Without further ado, a review of 2016, based on my previous set goals which you can see on this post: MMXVI.

1. Read at least 2 books a month on a wide variety of topics.

I did read quite a few books in 2016, although I only averaged about 1.5 a month. Here are some of the books I read that really stuck out and a mini-review of each:

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Fascinating, but tedious and dry. I think I’ll try Neil DeGrass Tyson for my next non-fiction science read.

Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins

Was not overly impressed by this book, considering the massive following Tony has, but maybe it was the wrong Tony Robbins book to start with? There are some good nuggets in here for sure, especially if this is your first financial self-help book. If you’ve already read dozens, you’re not gonna find any new information in here.

The Virgin Way by Sir Richard Branson

Just makes you want to be best friends w/ Branson. And learn to think like him. And act like him. What an amazing guy.

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

Wow. Incredibly eye-opening, Dawkins makes extraordinary arguments that are important to understand regardless of your personal faith.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I don’t read a lot of fiction these days, but I gave this one a shot and I’m glad I did. Best novel I’ve read since Harry Potter. Loved it.

The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot

This book straight-up changed my life. No joke. I used to think so many things talked about in this book were just divine mysteries and pseudo-science mumbo jumbo that I wrote off as something only crazy people talk about or experience. Turns out there are 100% science-backed theories that not only explain such things but do so in a way that makes other accepted theories seem weak and incomplete in comparison. The main takeaway is that “reality” is simply a construct of each individual mind, and base “reality” could be something much different than what our minds construct. I think I’ll be re-reading this one once every couple years to deepen my understanding of this fascinating topic more.

Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber

This one I almost didn’t read, because on a topic like debt you might be suffering through an extremely boring book. Not only is this book not even remotely boring, it’s one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read.  I’ve brought it up in conversation dozens of times since reading it because the mentioned concepts apply so frequently to my day-to-day life – not because I have a lot of debt (I have a healthy amount for a millennial, lol) but because any exchange between 2 or more humans in the modern world is a form of debt or debt exchange, and it’s incredible how ingrained our preconceived opinions of these exchanges and our currency and monetary system is to us without ever learning the origins and how illusory it all is.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the PCT by Cheryl Strayed

There are things I loved about this book, there are things I hated about this book. Overall it was a great read, but frustrating. I want to like Cheryl, and her story, I just felt throughout the entire book that she’s incredibly self-centered, and the hike she went on, which should have been an affective “reset” button for her life, only served to give her a good anchor story to weave into a story about her life before the hike — which is what she should have left behind on the hike. As someone who loves using prolonged travel to break from the past and start fresh, her backwards motion was incredibly painful to me. I watched the movie as well after finishing the book, and I felt they cleaned her up a bit for the movie and made her a little more likable, which was a good move.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

I love this woman, I love this book. It was great timing that I read this around the same time I read The Holographic Universe, because the whimsical way Elizabeth claims to harness creativity for her writing is something scientifically explained within the Holographic Universe. If I hadn’t read the scientific description of this process in The Holographic Universe before reading Big Magic, I would have cringed a bit and thought Liz had lost her mind… but there’s science to back this up. This book is a must-read for creatives, especially if you believe your ideas are 100% yours.

2. Construct and follow daily/weekly rituals designed to help maximize my productivity.

I sort of did this. My discipline in following the rituals could use some improvement however.

3. Do more yoga!

Yeah… no. One day.

4. Get to near-fluent proficiency with French & Spanish.

Hah! Nope. Although I did use DuoLingo so much it’s now telling me I’m “intermediate” in French! I highly doubt that’s true though. A French speaker definitely wouldn’t agree.

5. Plan and save for a Caribbean sailing expedition and a Pan-American Highway expedition.

Oh! This one I did! Although the Caribbean sailing expedition is indefinitely on hold, I just did 1/3 of the Pan-American Highway expedition. The remaining 2/3 won’t be accomplished for another year or two, but I have a much more realistic grasp on these goals coming to fruition now.

6. Visit at least 5 new countries.

Did this! Bam! I visited Turkey, Spain, Morocco, Ireland, Scotland, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria and Greece. Ten new countries! Yay.

7. Finish the first draft of my book.

No, no. Not even close.

8. Learn how to program an iPhone app and develop one.

YES! I did this too. Whew! Three out of eight goals accomplished… not terrible?

And now, my goals for 2017, even though it’s already 2/3 over…

  1. Launch my app, Hchhkr, on the App Store
  2. Visit my last unvisited US State, Alaska
  3. Travel to at least 5 new countries (this is a reoccurring annual goal)
  4. Drive the Pan-American Highway
  5. Read 12 new non-fiction books
  6. Do more yoga and meditation (ha, ha)

I’m happy to report that I’ve already accomplished #1 & #2 on this list!

My app, Hchhkr, is now live online and on the App Store and Google Play store. It’s a long-distance ridesharing app (not a taxi service!) so if you or anyone you know ever takes long trips in the car (say from Los Angeles to San Francisco) and would like to sell a seat in their car or take a ride with someone else – it’s perfect for that 🙂

The cherry on top of completing 1/3 of the Pan-American Highway was I got to visit my 50th state – Alaska! I accomplished my nearly life-long goal of visiting all 50 US states, before turning 30! Woohoo! I roadtripped through all of Alaska, from Anchorage, to Fairbanks, t0 Prudhoe Bay, and got to see some of the most remote wilderness in the world. It was an incredible adventure.