My first plan for 2014 is not to use upworthy-style headlines to drive people to my blog again, but since you’re here, why not take a glance?
Over the past few years, I’ve tried to make plans for the upcoming year.
For 2014, there are various things I’d like to do: (in no order)
Pass my driving test and take lots of post-test tuition.
- I don’t need or want a car in central Manchester, but I would like to be able to drive/hire cars for long trips.
- I’ve taken about 30 hours of tuition in central Manchester in 2013, but haven’t sat my practical test yet.
- I’m not really interested in it for the ‘reduced’ insurance premiums, and I think I’ll find motorways relatively similar to motorway-style dual carriageways.
- My aims are to:
- be a safe driver by having experience evaluating the complex and worst case road scenarios and thinking through the best course of action.
- be able to park and manoeuvre with impressive precision.
- get experience driving different vehicles (small vans, automatics, non-power steering, 4×4, trailers etc.)
- get experience with less-than-optimal road conditions (snow, single-track, rain, night, steep hills etc)
- I’ve booked my practical test in early February, so I’ll prepare for that, and we’ll take it from there.
Learn a new sport (or several)
- This year I’ve learnt to climb. I wouldn’t say I’m very good, but I know enough basics to pass them on to other people.
- Often people pose the question, “what would you do if money was no object?”. Well, I’d learn a new, exciting adventure sport (or maybe several). So that’s what I’m going to try and do.
- I’m quite interested (at some point) in learning to:
- jetski (without being a dick)
- kayak (whitewater and/or sea)
- ski (cross country and/or downhill)
- Other stuff that is on the list but isn’t really as appealing:
- For the moment, I’m learning to snowboarding at chillfactore in Manchester, and we’ll take it from there.
There are several skills I’d like to develop:
- I’m really pleased with what I’ve done in 2013, it’s been a big step up from 2012
- I’ve started combining it with climbing, and I want to do more climbing/mountaineering photography
- I’m hoping this year that perhaps I can take more landscape/action sports photos with people in shot.
- I want to be better at framing and composition – specifically I want to break ‘the rules’ more – things like:
- overexposing the sky on purpose
- chopping off the top of peoples heads (just on photographs though!)
- shooting greyscale
- I’m really pleased how can far I’ve come since I started in March:
- Indoors: I’ve led some 5+’s. I can currently top-rope some 6a’s.
- Outdoors, I’ve done various little bits, but most significantly I’ve seconded a trad HS route.
- This year, I’d like to:
- Develop my stamina on overhangs (which are often within reach in terms of difficulty, but are too tiring).
- Do more outside:
- second more easy trad routes.
- setting up some top ropes on easy climbs/grade 2/3 scrambles, to make fun scrambles better protected.
- Improve my knowledge of different roping techniques, such as:
- what to do if you drop your belay device
- how to get down from high places
- how to place simple gear on easy trad routes
- how to setup a belay
- do more multi-pitch trad routes
- gain knowledge in snow related ropework and belays
- I’m really pleased how can far I’ve come since I started in March:
- I’ve done a lot in 2013:
- Snow camping on Pennines, camping to Langdale, winter mountaineering in Torridon, backpacking in the Mammores, exploration/backpacking in Kyrgyzstan
- Assorted day hikes
- Whilst I’ve done some impressive things in 2013, I feel I got out less frequently in 2013 than I did in 2012. I’d like to spend more days on the mountains in 2014
- I’d like to improve my micro-navigation skills.
- I’d like to do more things in snow.
- In Jan/Feb/March, I’m planning to do several days winter backpacking fun, possibly in Scotland.
- I’m going back to Skye around Easter and am on standby to decamp into a tent in the Peak District at the first sign of a snowy weekend.
- I’ve done a lot in 2013:
- I’ve done various bits of public speaking in the past, this year I even ‘keynoted’ at the FLOSSK13 conference in Pristina,
- I think I have what it takes to be quite good at public speaking – confidence, interesting anecdotes, and the patience to try and breakdown high level concepts into things other people can understand, all wrapped up in a compelling narrative.
- I’d like to do more public speaking events, of all sizes, and I need to establish a way of doing that, and find a style and set of topics I’m comfortable with. I’m considering joining Toastmasters.
- I quite enjoy making systems do things. In the past when I’ve been on holiday, after several days I’ve found myself designing scalable live video streaming platforms in my head.
- In the past I’ve blogged about systems a bit, but I’d like to investigate and play with more tools and test them different situations.
- In particularly, I’d like to become more familiar with Varnish-ESI, which is currently powering this blogs Recently Added Articles box (though not in a very effective way) and discover and play with more server tools like that, which can do exciting things.
- I’d like to play with Varnish-ESI, Icinga,
- In 2013, I’ve spent a good deal of my time thinking about marketing, promotional and communication questions – from reading a book on crisis PR and blogging about epic customer service, to visiting 20+ conferences for work and getting personalised mugs into the hands of thousands of people.
- In 2014, I’d like to:
- improve my analytical skills in rapidly prototyping and iterating campaigns and pulling conclusions from from them.
- find better ways to understand of the potential customers, so as to tailor things to them as best possible.
- improve at identifying areas where the users see the most pain. and then optimising those processes to reduce wasted unnecessary steps (essentially applying the Toyota Way to web-service end users).
- understanding and using ‘clever’ and perhaps underused strategies to create self-amplifying campaigns.
- improve my understanding or how good and bad PR works, in industries I’m unfamiliar with.
- For a long time, I’ve largely been only able to read/hack around with high level programming environments. Obviously this has lots of benefits and can get you a long way, but even a small, self-written bit of code added to an existing codebase which does something I need, would be a massive step forward.
- My ambition here isn’t really to become a good programmer, but simply be more literate, and able to use tools better to get things done.
- I’d like to
- Meticulously go back through a basics book for a common programming language to make sure I understand the concepts that frequently occur correctly.
- Make sure I under some basics in procedural programming.
- Learn to use these limited skills to manipulate a library/existing codebase that does stuff I want.
- Have a look round and see where I want to get to next.
- At the start of January 2013, I weighed 11 & 1/2 stone. I currently weigh 13 & 1/2 stone.
- Losing weight makes Mountaineering easier (less weight on knees), it makes climbing easier (less weight on arms) and whilst it doesn’t make photography easier, it would leave more room for weighty camera gear!
- I have enacted low carb diet, round two.
- In 2014, I’d like to reach and maintain 11 stone, and then develop a sustainable lifestyle around that weight band.
- It’s super embarrassing that there are 3 months in this year where I didn’t publish a single blog post.
- I don’t expect anyone reading to find it embarrassing, but I do – I enjoying writing blog posts. It’s challenging, and often very fulfilling to get my thoughts into a coherent shape..
- I’d like to do a month of blogging again, but I don’t feel that frenetic “months of blogging”, with large gaps in between them, is the way it has to be.
- I grew up without a TV and when I was a child, before I had a computer, I ingested most knowledge through books. Then dialup came along, and suddenly, everything was a short-form article or video consumed through a screen of distractions.
- I am resistant to DRM-encumbered ebook platforms, but I enjoy dead-tree-style reading materials and have a great deal of books I’d like to read.
- In 2014, I’d be very happy if I got through 24 decent length books from my “unread” shelf. I think its ambitious, but not unrealistic.
- Over the past year, I’d say I’ve done quite well at channeling and training introverted & extroverted sides for different tasks. I love my solitude, but I also enjoy catching up with friends.
- Last autumn/winter, I held two ‘epic parties’, that were great, but on reflection aren’t going to be repeated. (Too large, too inpersonal, too disparate).
- This year, I think I’ll try and arrange several gatherings, that are smaller in size, but more focused and perhaps easier to enjoy.
- I’d like to try to perhaps aim to spend at least one day a week socialising with people who I don’t see every week – which is a great excuse to make contact with old friends.
Travel as much as is appropriate
- I don’t have any particularly noteworthy travel plans, nor do I have particularly strong urges to go anywhere right now.
- Most plans, I have tend to be semi-spontaneous, or preplanned and then rapidly executed when the occasion arrives.
- On balance, I probably prefer solo-travel due to reduced communication requirements, and not feeling responsible for others’ welfare.
- My current travel interests
- Currently I’m interested in (historically) Russian/Soviet influenced areas (particularly Baltic states, Eastern areas of Europe and Central Asia), the Middle East and Northern Africa.
- I have a personal preference to climates that don’t stray far outside ~-10C -> ~25C whilst I’m there.
- I’m not a fan of painful insects (mosquitoes, midges, etc), parasites, viruses or large omnivorous animals (bears).
- I prefer countryside to cities, cold to heat, cheap to expensive, obscure to well-touristed, quiet to busy, self-planned to chaparoned.
- Selfishly, I prefer countries where a significant proportion of the population’s first or second language is English, Russian, French or Swedish.
- I’d like to do more travel on a bike in 2014. I don’t really have an ideal bike for this, not that it’s stopped me before.
- The chances are 2014 offers a few scenic tours of the UK, perhaps with one trip somewhere cool abroad, but if the opportunity presents itself, you’ll just see a blur as I grab my stuff and go!
And that’s it! I think that’s all my current plans and aspirations for 2014. What do you think?
Do you think I should be focusing on something I’m not?
Explain in the comments!