A Chris Guillebeau inspired review of 2011.

What went well in 2011:

We slowed our pace of travel.

I’ve suffered on and off from travel fatigue since the very beginning.  It’s not so much a physical thing, more a case of sensory overload.  Too many new faces, new towns and new experiences.  We cycled just under 15,000 kilometers in 2011 which felt about right.

I spent time with family and old friends.

While our trip to the USA certainly could have come under better circumstances, I’m glad I got the chance to go home to Montana.

I gave several bicycle touring presentations.

This was a good way to connect with like-minded individuals and reflect on our trip.  Plus it forced me to organize all our thousands of photos, be creative and stretch a little out of my comfort zone.  More importantly, it may have inspired somebody to embrace adventure and set off on a round the world bicycle tour.

I bought a Kindle.

I’ve always loved reading and was never able to get my hands on enough books while travelling.  Kindle is a great solution.

I discovered Zumba.

While we were in Montana, I had a great time doing Latin dance with all the ladies at my mom’s fitness studio.  I never thought I’d be one to enjoy dancing so I’m glad I gave this a try.  Pure and simple fun and good reminder to give new things a try.

I connected with fellow cyclists through the A-Z of Bicycle Touring  project.

It has been really inspiring to connect with so many people who share my passion for bicycle touring.  I love seeing the world through another cyclist’s eyes and discovering new places through their photos.

I spent more time on photography.

Slowing down meant we had more time for other activities.  In the last few months of 2011, I focused on taking more creative pictures and finally got around to uploading photos to our Flickr page.

I listened to hundreds of hours of entertaining and educational podcasts.

I have become a true podcast junkie.  I love plugging into The Moth, This American Life, Crossing Continents, APM’s The Story,  Freakanomics, the Travelling Two Radio Show and many, many more.

I thought more about what I really wanted in life and what brings me happiness.

Thanks to the Kindle, I was able to delve into several personal development books including Chris Guillebeau’s The Art of Non-Conformity, Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert and the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

We completed another year riding my bike around the world.

After almost six years on the road, it’s easy to take this for granted.  I don’t want to let this happen.  We are incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to see the world, visit amazing places and meet people from every nook and cranny on this planet.  Although we cycled through only seven countries in 2011, we pedaled past some of the best scenery of the entire trip:  the Andes and the Yukon.

Life on the road has its highs and lows, but there’s nothing I’d rather be doing with my life than travelling the world on two wheels.


What didn’t go so well in 2011:

We weren’t able to complete our circumnavigation of South America.

That was a big blow.  Eric’s fully-loaded bike was stolen in Bolivia and we decided that the best course of action would be to re-group in the States. 

I neglected my yoga practice.  Yoga invariably improves my mood and my muscles, but this year I somehow let it slide.

I continued to complain and blame.

Not much to say here.  I get hungry, I get tired, I get annoyed and I turn into a big bellyacher.

Blogging was inconsistent.

I love starting projects but following through isn’t my strong suit.  I found it tough to maintain our World Biking site plus GoBicycleTouring while on the road.

I didn’t make enough effort to stay in touch with others.

Every year we meet thousands of people.  Sometimes we spend a few days with fellow cyclists or hosts from couchsurfing or Warm Showers and a real bond and connection forms.    Then we say goodbye, exchange a few emails and usually that’s it.

Maintaining realationships while on the road takes time but it’s essential to well-being.

I sometimes didn’t use my time as wisely as I could have.

My life is already (at least) half over, and if I want to achieve something worthwhile and lasting with it, I better get a move on.

I endeavor to make 2012 a year of better focus, increased happiness and deeper realtionships.


Thanks to Chris Guillebeau and the supportive community at the Art of Non-Conformity for inspiring me to take stock of 2011.

Now a question for you:  What went well for you  in 2011?




2011 in review: looking back

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