My 2022 Year Recap; Money, travels, adventure, fitness and life
Another year done and dusted. And another opportunity to reflect on the year we had, the hits and misses. What we did right, and wrong, and where we can improve next year. I do this every year, for the last 8 years and I find it really cathartic. “What can’t be measured, can’t be improved” and all that.
You know when people say flippantly that life is short, it triggers me a bit. Every one of us has 24 hours in a day. And we should never begrudge getting older, nor be envious of someone else’s journey. We’re all gifted opportunities to make what we want from this life, and if we’re floundering then the best thing to do is to take personal responsibility and make a change. That’s often harder than carrying out the change, truth be told. It’s much easier to stick your end in the sand and maintain the same rudderless journey. Don’t be that guy.
For me, and I would suggest for you too, the best way to ensure you aren’t rudderless is to take a few hours this week and lay out your goals, your plans and your dreams for next year. And then come December 2023, it’ll be your turn to recap on whether you stuck to it or not. It’s confronting, it’s scary but it’s the only way to progess. So here I am again, staying accountable to myself.
Table of contents
- My Original 10 Goals for 2022 at the start of the 2022:
- Successes or Failures?
- My 2022 Year in review, month by month:
- Health, Finances, Work, Travels, Life in 2022
- FINAL THOUGHTS ON 2022
- Previous year plans and reviews?
My Original 10 Goals for 2022 at the start of the 2022:
First, the scary part. Look back at my plans at the start of this year, and see what I did and didn’t acheive. I wrote my 2022 plans in a big blog post here. But the main gist of my goals were this:
- Climb and Summit Denali in Alaska
- Finish and move into my dream home in Thailand
- Go on honeymoon
- Run at least one ultra-marathon or an ironman
- Run at least one group trip
- Take my mum to a new country
- Increase my net worth by $100k+
- Stick to my alcohol and cheat day credits
- Get my course finished
- Workout at least 200 times/200 hours in the year
Successes or Failures?
So did I manage them? Not quite. Let’s have a look:
1. Climb and Summit Denali. SUCCESS.
One of my biggest goals was to successfuly climb North America’s highest peak, Denali. En route to my big goal of being the first person to visit every country and complete the explorer’s grand slam (7 summits plus north and south pole). Thankfully we made it! I blogged all about it here. It was very cold and pretty long, but we got there!
2. Finish my dream home and move in. SUCCESS.
I finally finished building my dream home in Chiang Mai, Thailand. You can see the youtube video below here, including how much it cost. Swimming pool, man cave, movie theatre, coffee room, office, even a annex for my mum. 7000 square feet. Perhaps the proudest moment of my life, to be honest. The house that blogging built. Coming from my upbringing, it’s beyond my wildest dreams.
3. Go on honeymoon. SUCCESS
This one wasn’t so hard (apart from funding it!). Jaa and I went on a magical honeymoon, overlanding across Europe. From Paris, to Lake Como, to Venice, Florence, Rome, Amalfi Coast and Sicily. Gorgeous.
4. Run at least one ultra-marathon or an ironman. SUCCESS (technically)
I’m not too proud of this one. I did run a 55km (34 miles) ultra in January, so I guess I did it. But I feel I should have done another 100km+ ultra, so I’m a bit disappointed in myself, could have gone further/longer. Ironman? I’ve WRECKED my shoulder working out (Slap lesion). So that’s not on the cards for a while, can’t swim.
5. Run at least one group trip. SUCCESS
Delighted with this one. These are real highlights of my year. I meet the most fun people and get to explore intrepid countries with them. This year? Mauritania, South Sudan, Central African Republic and the wine marathon in France.
6. Take my mum to a new country. SUCCESS.
This was a tough one! My mum’s hip got much worse this year, to the extent that we organised a hip replacement for her here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Her Parkinson’s has slowed her down, but that didn’t stop us from traveling to South Sudan together in the summer.
7. Increase my net worth by $100k+. SUCCESS.
I’ve been very open about my finances since starting my blog way back in 2010. When I was broke. And I’m equally as open about it now. Each year I aim to increase my net worth by minimum $100k. This is the 10th consecutive year I’ve managed to achieve it. This year is also the year that I realised I want to get into developing real estate. The house I built here in Thailand, the cost versus the market value, meant my net worth increased by $200k-$300k by that alone. Real estate could be a game changer.
8. Stick to my alcohol and cheat day credits. SUCCESS.
Along with a few friends, I have a very simple system to manage my alcohol intake (son of an alcoholic, and spent a good few years in a bit of blur myself). Anyway, I have 75 tokens per year where I can drink. I can earn more with any marathon distance or above, or one 2000+ calorie workout in a straight shot. I used about 79 this year. My 75 plus an additional 4 I earned. All ok.
9. Get my course finished. MASSIVE FAILURE.
I’ve procrastinated for YEARS. And I cringe as I write this EVERY SINGLE YEAR. I really, really want to create some digital products to show people exactly how easy it is to change your life and live your dreams. I’ll make good money from it, and people will make huge positive changes in their lives. But yet again, I failed to do it. Eurrrgh.
10. Workout at least 200 times/200 hours in the year. SUCCESS I THINK?
My strava account has me on 162 day active, plus a whole host of times I didn’t record. And I spent 3 weeks climbing that mountain in Alaska, so I guess that must all add up to 200 hours. I also had a big 6 week gap due to my shoulder which was far from ideal. And still is an issue today.
My 2022 Year in review, month by month:
So I managed to hit 8, and probably 9, of my 10 goals. Very happy with it, apart from my awful course attack. And feeling a bit weird about my ultra marathon goal, and also my 200 hours of workouts. I feel I could have done more. Anyway, let me look back at my 2022 in brief, month by month.
I had just got married 2 weeks before the new year, so Jaa and I had a quick escape to Thailand’s most famous island, Koh Samui.
My mum was spending the winter in Thailand, so I took her parasailing in the mountains of Northern Thailand too, a wild ride. And my mum, Jaa and I all stayed on a floating hotel in a reservoir at Mae Gnat too, really cool experience.
I bought myself a Vespa, and the house was almost finished!
February was spent between Bangkok, Chiang Mai and endless visits to bloody Ikea. We were almost moved in, finally furnishings. Gym stocked, TVs installed. A month of house admin.
I was also in training mode, I would be climbing Denali in the summer so I had to be in good shape. Knock the booze on the head and get running Johnny boy.
We moved in! Chiang Mai, Thailand was my home once again, for the first time since I orginally moved here in 2007 as an English teacher.
5 days after I moved in though? Off traveling I went. I took a group trip to one of my favourite countries in the world, Mauritania. That means deserts, camels and the IRON ORE TRAIN!
Due to popular demand, I finished up that trip and went right back and did it all over again with another group. So many cool people 🙂
After a couple of drunken missed flights from Morocco to Qatar, to Istanbul, to finally Thailand, I made it back home. I had to jump straight back in to training. I was maintaining both my condo in Bangkok and my house in Chiang Mai so the permanent move wasn’t to happen in April. I only had 10 days between returning from Africa and flying to Europe for my honeymoon.
First stop… Paris!
Then we flashpacked (backpacking without the budget restrictions!) through Europe using our Interail pass. Paris to Milan to Lake Como, then to Venice, on down to Florence. To Rome, via Napole to the Amali Coast. And then finally to Catania in Sicily, finishing up in the Four Seasons down there. Wow.
Jaa flew back to Thailand early May. I took the Eurostar (still covered by my interail, wow!) back to see my mum in Whitley Bay. I had a week to prepare my gear for my Alaska mountain. So I hung out with family then flew to the USA.
Spent a couple of days in Chicago, then flew to Anchorage, and then on to Denali I went.
I climbed the rest of May, about 2 weeks or so. And then well into June too. FInally I summited, spent a couple of days getting down the mountain, and flew back to the UK around June 10th.
That was a tough 3 weeks on the mountain. My gear wasn’t good enough, it was FREEZING, and I injured my hand pretty badly digging the ice away for camp one day. Anyway, we made it, so all good. Back to see family in UK for a few days, then onwards to Thailand at the end of the month.
I flew to Chiang Mai this time, which was lovely. First time coming back to a (99.9%) finished house. But one of my closest friends had his mum suddenly pass away, so I hopped on a flight to Cyprus to give him some support for the funeral. The worst reason ever to travel. Love you mate.
On a brighter note, rather than my buddy fly straight back from the funeral to Australia, where he’s based, he and his fiance came and shared our new house with us in Chiang Mai. Some time for him to recover, for us to catch up and try to recalibrate ourselves amongst the trials of life. Bery much needed.
We kayaked down the ping river, visited a few temples and drunk a few beers. I well needed recharge for all involved. Me after Alaska, and even more so for Duff of course.
Before August had ended, I was on board another flight, this time to South Sudan. The world’s newest country.
I’d be taking a onestep4ward blog group tour. 16 of us would trek to the savanna to stay with the Mundari tribe and their long horned cattle. My mum was our team mascot on this one!
After saying goodbye to a few of the group, the rest of us flew to recover for a few days in Adis Ababa, Ethiopia. After a quick recharge we all held our breath and flew to one of the most dangerous countries in the world, on anothe rone of my onestep4ward blog trips, this time to the Central African Republic.
Wild. We visited the pygmy tribes there, the smallest people in the world. Ventured to some waterfalls and got harassed my military before we rented our own propeller airplane and flew deep into the jungle to the least visited national park in the world.
Here, we would get a chance to trek with lowland forest Gorillas. An insane experience.
After thankfully getting out of there alive, I had one 4th and final onestep4ward blog trip – the Marathon du Medoc AKA THE WINE MARATHON!
42l, (26 miles) but instead of water stops every mile, there are wine stops! It was every bit as fun as you’d imagine. We also of course ventured around a few vineyards, hit up the Moulin Rouge in Paris and day tripped to Champagne to learn how to make (and mostly how to drink) Moet.
And if that wasn’t enough drinking, I finished up with 4 days at Oktoberfest, in Munich. ZZZZZZZZzzzzz. Oh, and then a few days in Dubai. Before FINALLY making it back to Thailand!
A week in Bangkok, where I bought my FIRST EVER CAR! I had been using a car gifted to us by Jaa’s parents the last couple of years, but finally I had my own wheels. Despite the 100+% car tax in Thailand, eurrrgh.
I whacked my Bangkok condo on Airbnb, and officially – 6 months late – moved to Chiang Mai for good! We had some professional photos of the new house done and we tried to get settled in.
Jaa and I explored the north of Thailand a little more, glamping one weekend, staycationing the next. A lovely slower-paced month.
I officially signed up for 2023 Everest Expedition (one spot left, JOIN ME!).So back to training hard both in my home gym but also running up and down Chiang Mai’s iconic mountain, Doi Suthep.
My mum flew back to Thailand for her winter getaway and had her hip replaced privately. This was a much better option than to wait, indefinitely, and in agony, in the UK for the NHS to do it ‘for free’. So for about 5kGBP ($6500) we had the Thailand Olympic team doctor do it. And my mum is now well on the mend. She stayed with me in my new house for her recovery, which was ideal.
Oh and I did that 4X4X48 David Goggins challenge thing. 50 miles or so. 4 miles every 4 hours, all through the next 48 hours, through the night and everything. Kinda fun actually.
Other than that Jaa and I kicked back. I trained. Got drunk with my mates. And then at the end of the month, we went to visit a new development project in Chiang Mai…
What should have been a chill month was anything but.
We went to visit the new ‘Astra Sky River’ condo in Chiang Mai city. 10 minures or so from our new house. It’s basically super high end living condo. 140m infinity pool on the roof, sauna, steam room, gym, co-working space, marble foyer. Crazy. Anyway, we bought a 2-bed on the spot. Jaa and I together, 50/50 So we spent the rest of December organsing the new condo, and preparing for Christmas. It cost about $125k or so all-in.
Oh and I spent 2 days in Hanoi due to some admin-visa issue, and had q ild gokarting and drinking day for my birthday, and Jaa and I went glamping again for our 1 year wedding anniversary! We hosted 10 people for Christmas Dinner, it was special. And the new condo will be on AirBnB maybe even tonight! Quite an eventful month!
Health, Finances, Work, Travels, Life in 2022
Allow me to quickly reflect on each aspect of my life throughout the last year too:
HEALTH & FITNESS: 6.5/10
My main health and fitness goal was to climb one of the seven summits, Denali, and I did that. So that’s a big plus. But I’m so weak with my diet, my body fat has been far too high all year, and I procrastinate with injury and business when I could clearly do more workouts. Convince myself I need the rest, or that I need to work, or I don’t stick religiously to my goals. When clearly I didn’t need to watch YET ANOTHER EPISODE OF VIKINGS. GO AND WORK OUT.
All-in-all, happy but could do much, much better. Also want to do a long cycle, and didn’t do it.
The best financial year of my life. I made $540,482USD this year. A ridiculous amount. But, to be honest, about half of that was from finishing my house and the instant new valuation. But still, it is what it is.
Why not 10/10? Well, I went so far over budget on my house. So lots of it is gone! I also probably didn’t need to spend $60k on a car, or upgrade a couple of flights. So I feel pretty guilty about that stuff.
I LOVE MY GROUP TRIPS. I met some brilliant new friends, shared travel experiences with old friends. I got to explore South Sudan and Central African Republic properly. Ran the red wine marathon. Had a luxury honeymoon, spent a month in Alaska.
The blog traffic is down despite a fair bit of work. I have a manual penalty from google for selling adverts so it’s affecting me a lot. Also, with AI coming into play, I’m worried about the future of blogging. I also didn’t do any digital products AGAIN.
I did however have 100% occupancy on my properties in London, my condo in Bangkok is now on AirBnB and we’ve bought another investment place in Chiang Mai so that’s positive. I did have to empty my rainy day fund for the Chiang Mai place to get furnished though.
I struggle to stop and smell the roses. I’m constantly anxious, constantly worried, constantly thinking too much. Also, I’m worried about my mum and her Parkinson’s. I’m worried for Jaa settling in to Chiang Mai, from Bangkok. And also about my sister and her move to Dubai. Jaa and I want to have kids next year and I’m also worried about our ages. After years of fears of accidental pregnancies, now I’m fearful what if we can’t get pregnant!
But I’m fit, I’m healthy (minus a few injuries), I can take care of my loved ones and I’m chasing my dreams, so I don’t have so much to complain about.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON 2022
What can I say. COVID is finally pretty much over, and life is coming back. I feel very grateful to be living in a place I love. With a girl I love. I’m also grateful to work for myself, make good money and try to set myself up for a life post-blogging and post-internet. But nothing’s perfect, and there is beauty in that. If I could sort out my anxiety, procrastinate a whole lot less, and be better with my diet, things would be looking even rosier.
Previous year plans and reviews?
Also, If you want to see where I failed and succeeded over the years, you can check out the last few years posts too:
- 2022: My 2022 Goals and Plans for the year
- 2021: My 2021 Plans from the start of the year and my 2021 Year-end review.
- 2020: My goals and plans for 2020 at the start of 2020 and then at the end of 2020, my 2020 review.
- 2019: My 2019 goals from January 2019, and then my 2019 year review from December 2019.
- 2018: My 2018 goals from January 2018, and then my 2018 review at the end of the year.
- 2017: My 2017 year review.
- 2016: My 2016 plans. And my 2016 year in review.
- 2015: My 2015 year in review.
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