Blue Ridge 2017: Trip Highlights

Back at the beginning of October (which feels like forever ago), Rob and I took our now-annual week-long trip to the Blue Ridge to get some cooler weather, changing leaves, a bunch of hikes, and a ton of good food. I’m sick today so I figured I’d brush the dust off of these notes and post a little journal-style entry of the highlights. Enjoy, and feel free to reach out if you need any recommendations or want to hear about anything else!


We started out the trip with a rather fortuitous stop: the Amazon Treasure Truck was in tourist-town Orlando with SNES Classics. Despite putting us a little behind schedule, it was such a relief to snag one of those on launch day. And it turned out to be a huge boon for the trip! Over the week, we played through Star Fox, Mega Man X, and Super Mario World (all 96 exits!). Rob made it through most of Link to the Past, but we couldn’t quite clear that one entirely. It was an awesome dynamic; outdoor activities in the daylight and classic gaming at night.

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Life Update: April 2017

An exceedingly spooky end to a hike in the Blue Ridge. “Welcome to the family, son,” as Rob has said literally every time he’s seen it.

Blogging is hard, guys. Focus is on the decline these days, and boy is it frustrating. I started writing an article about various updates in early February and got pulled away to other things, so instead, here’s one for April!

I laid out a number of goals for myself in a blog post earlier this year. Here are some updates! Exciting! Exclamation!

Budget Update: Budgets have been updated! Rob and I worked on establishing an updated set of goals for our money for 2017, and as we’ve rolled into the year, I’ve put that into action. Roughly 30% of my take-home pay is going to bills and shared spending, while another 40% is going into savings (both shared and individual). That leaves me with about 30% to budget towards food, gas, health, travel, and general spending, and I’m pretty happy placing that tension on my day-to-day budget while direct-depositing the rest. The money’s still available if I need it; now I have to justify needing it, rather than blindly spending it. It’s worked pretty well so far this year, even with the frequent travel.

Vacations: Vacations have been planned (and many taken by this point)! Trips this year: all Florida state parks (many trips in the bag already!), Jekyll Island (was awesome), a Appalachian-flavored road trip (fantastic and fattening), a tour of the Florida Panhandle (just got back), an extended weekend through SW Florida (May), a classic High Springs swimming trip (Sept), the annual week in the Blue Ridge (Oct), a few days in the Keys (Nov), and (probably) Chicago to round the year out. There are a couple potential slots left to explore (early June and July 4th weekend), but I’m pretty happy with being able to have so much of the year plotted. I’ve found that having something to look forward to helps get me through my down periods, and it also helps me be content with not always doing so much in my free time in-between.

Work: Some mild success to report! I had lunch with my department’s director (over Jimmy Hula’s, of all things) to discuss my situation. He agreed that a hybrid role between project management and development would be a great fit for me for the next year or so. As of the end of March, both the leaders of our PMO and Development teams have been informed of my wishes and should be reaching out to me soon. I just scheduled a lunch with the Development head, so after this week I should have a better idea of where things are going. Here’s hoping!

Blogging: I tried the article-a-week approach (50 sessions of light writing a year didn’t sound like too much), but it ended up being really difficult to fit into my life. It’s been pretty disappointing; I underestimated how much focus is needed to really sit down, block out all the distractions, and write, especially when that time is usually after a full day’s work. Instead, I’ll be writing when inspiration, time, focus, or opportunity presents itself, while working on ways to improve my focus when needed. If anyone wants to read anything specific from me, please let me know!

Continue reading “Life Update: April 2017”