Year Overview for 2012

Summit of Piton des Neiges, Réunion

Following in the footsteps of many other blogs around this time of the year, I thought I’d write down what I’ve accomplished this year, what didn’t go as planned, and my goals for next year. Why?

1.) to make me think back to all of the things I am grateful for during the past year of my life,
2.) to brainstorm some of the ways I can improve, and
3.) to publicly set quantifiable goals for the next 365 days (as that helps put a bit of pressure on myself to actually accomplish those goals–pressure is good).

2012 has been one of the most stressful, challenge-filled years ever. I’ve been on the road for close to nine months, which is the longest I’ve ever been traveling in a single year–which has afforded me many amazing experiences, at a cost. It’s tough trying to perfect the ratio between travel and work/work and play–evidenced by the fact that I’ve been at it for a decade now and am still struggling at it.

What Was Amazing

  • I visited over 30 countries on 6 continents.
  • Successfully drove 14,000 miles (21,000km) through 24 countries, from London to Cape Town, as a part of Team Shoebaru.
  • …and as a part of that adventure, we raised over $20,000 to support Awassa Orphanage (Ethiopia) and the building of a well through charity: water, as well as donations to supply shirts to hundreds of underprivileged children along the way through our partnership with teammate Mallory Brown’s one-for-one clothing company, World Clothes Line. We donated both vehicles at the end of the journey to ActionAid, an NGO committed to defending human rights, empowering women, and teaching the poor how to be self-sufficient.
  • Had a wildly successful mini-safari in Tanzania as part of a Shoebaru + Pamoja Safaris collaboration.
  • I was a regular Jack Hanna, hanging out with wallabies, whale sharks, cheetahs, tigers, koalas, elephants, camels, and meercats all over the world.
  • I tried eating 6 new animals (Springbok, Kudu, Zebra, Oryx, Kangaroo, and Eland). All delicious.
  • Learned how to kiteboard in Cartagena, Colombia and Koh Phangan, Thailand.
  • Was honored by Oakland County executive L. Brooks Patterson as one of the inaugural recipients of the 2012 Elite 40 Under 40 award.
  • Was selected by Crain’s Detroit Business as one of the 20 In Their 20’s for 2012.
  • First helicopter ride (Réunion).
  • First hot air balloon ride (Luxor, Egypt).
  • Caught a ride on a restored World War II B-17 bomber.
  • Attended my first rugby, soccer, and Australian football games.
  • Climbed Ayers Rock, Table Mountain, and Piton de Neiges  (Australia, South Africa, and Réunion, respectively).
  • White water rafted on the Zambezi River (Zambia/Zimbabwe).
  • Scuba dived on 4 continents (Australia, Colombia, Thailand, Mauritius).
  • Went cage diving with great white sharks (South Africa).
  • Picked up my first hitchhikers (New Zealand). Didn’t kill, didn’t get killed. Success.

What Was Not So Amazing

  • The Shoebaru team encountered many challenges on our journey to South Africa. This resulted in a quite a few crappy situations–some could have been prevented, some couldn’t. Without a doubt the toughest trip I’ve ever been a part of, on multiple counts.
  • Due to the Shoebaru trip (planning+executing), I was left with relatively little time to devote to my businesses and other projects. This resulted in a few spectacular fails, most of which could have been prevented if I hadn’t tried to put so much on my plate. Try to please everyone, and you end up pleasing no one.
  • If I devoted little time to my businesses, then I spent even less on maintaining and strengthening personal relationships throughout the year. I made some poor choices, which resulted in losing or weakening ties to people that I cared about.

Goals for 2013

  • Start the transition from largely service-based offerings to a more product-based means of supporting myself. This will involve ramping down my web development company in favor of devoting time to creating useful content and products (such as books).
  • Produce at least one (hopefully many more) podcasts, which will be featured on this site.
  • Publish my first book (I have ideas for three, with one half-written).
  • Learn to a.) fly a plane, or b.) play guitar. Haven’t decided which one to focus on just yet, but whichever one I pick, the other one will be my goal for 2014. Success equals being able to play a song on the guitar, or obtaining my private pilot license for flying.
  • Learning a bit of yoga with fellow authors and entrepreneurs during a private retreat in February (more on that later).
  • Meet and establish productive relationships with people similar to myself. This will be done by attending events (such as Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit, as well as the aforementioned retreat) and getting out and networking with like minds.
  • Focus on developing some projects that I’ve let linger on the sidelines for the past couple years. First and foremost, my safari company, Pamoja Safaris–I’m aiming to get at least four groups booked with us by the end of the year.
  • Earn more money than I ever have before in a single year–I’m aiming for at least a 25% increase.

Overall, many more positives versus negatives. It was a good year.

Thanks to everyone in my life, old and new, that made 2012 amazing. See you in 2013.


  1. Drew says

    Wow, I thought I had an interesting year but you take the cake~! Great year, I can help with some of the goals you’re aiming for above (publications) just let me know when you have some questions.

  2. Kathryn says

    You’re an amazing and brilliant man. Thank you for all you do for the less fortunate. All those acts of kindness make you a better man and even more deserving of success and adventure. Keep fulfilling your goals and cherishing the important aspects of each endeavor.

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