Trials, tribulations and lessons learned, Making 2018 our most adventurous yet.
2017 certainly was a year punctuated by what seemed like an endless onslaught of challenges and missed opportunities. Yet from every challenge, an opportunity always seemed like it was right around the corner.
The year began with uncertainty when my Jeep’s engine was diagnosed with a knock. One of the cylinder walls had been scored and the engine effectively ruined. After more than four weeks, the engine was eventually replaced under warranty. It was a happy ending really.
It was because my Jeep was in the shop for so long, that I had the opportunity to test drive at 2017 Jeep Cherokee for the first time. It was an opportunity born from misfortune.
The same was true when Niecie totaled her Fiesta this summer.
She ended up getting more than she thought the vehicle was worth even after the insurance company had paid off what was left of her loan. In the end, she wound getting the 4×4 she wanted a little earlier than planned.
The reality is, these challenges didn’t stop us from having a full year. In fact, the year was better for them. Every challenge was an opportunity to learn.
So what did we learn in 2017
Planning… Where everything went wrong
If I could sum up my biggest mistake of 2017 in one word, it would be planning. I just didn’t do enough planning. What separates dreams from reality is a plan, and the plan just wasn’t there for too much of what we wanted to do.
Having learned from that, I’ll be spending my downtime this winter, planning. I might not be able to hike with a head cold, but I can sure find five potential campsites for our next overland trip.
Great adventures require planning. Sure, an adventure can happen at a moments notice, but the truly memorable ones are those that take months of planning for just a few days worth of memories.
The success of our trip to the Big Easy in August came down to one thing, Niecie’s excellent plan. Not only did it spell out where we would be staying every night, but it also took into consideration costs and local attractions.
Another reason this trip went so well was we committed to it. We agreed to leave on one date and return on another. There was no canceling or rescheduling because the weather was going to be bad.
We’ll be applying the same principle to upcoming camping and hiking trips, which means we better pack our rain jackets.
Pictures tell the story and we need more of them.
Photography has always been one of my passions, but lately, I haven’t been picking up the camera as much. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown tired of always being the one documenting our trips, or maybe it’s that I take so many photos at work, photography has become a chore. Whatever the case, we need more photos.
My hope is to convince Niecie to start picking up the camera a little more often. Maybe if I buy her a camera in some obnoxious color she will. Another camera couldn’t hurt, right?
Or, maybe, it’s time to start exploring new techniques to spice things up.
Back to the basics
Right now, our plan for 2018 is pretty simple: get back to the basics. That means more camping, more hiking and more overland adventures.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be laying out our plans for the first quarter of 2018. Instead of trying to plan adventures for the entire year, Niecie and I will be planning three months at a time, each time reassessing what worked, what didn’t and how we can improve next time.
For the bigger trips, we’ll start planning a little earlier. To keep ourselves honest, we’ll be sharing these plans with you guys.
This plan ties in neatly with another change we’ll be making in the new year.
Exploring our backyard
Rather than making grand journeys to far off places in 2018, we’ll be sticking much closer to home. That’s not to say we won’t be any long trips? I consider our backyard to be anywhere within a 400-mile radius (A tank of gas). If we can get there in a day or two it’s fair game in my mind.
Why? Well, while Niecie might have all summer off, but I don’t. I have to make due with two weeks a year. This makes long road trips problematic because it either means burning all of my vacation on one big trip or fitting the trip into a nine-day window.
We did this last summer on our trip to New Orleans and spent half of it getting there. I’ve always contended that the journey is as important as the destination, but this last trip, it was more of a mad dash than a journey.
I think it’s time we stop to smell the flowers. If you know what I mean.
We want your feedback
As always we want to hear from our readers. We want to know what has worked for you, how you stay inspired and how you make every day, week or month an adventure.
So tell us in the comments section:
- What are your plans for 2018?
- What will you do differently?
- Are you chasing a goal?
- How do you plan your adventures?
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If you liked this post we think you’ll enjoy these too.
- Dreams of Adventure our plans for 2017 (Last year’s new year’s post)
- Escaping the slump a return to the trails
- What a year Adventure Bent turns one