My 2022: Year In Review

Happy New Year, everyone! I’m back at it again, with a full Year In Review post. Please enjoy this update as still haven’t jump on the bandwagon for sending out holiday cards. Leave a comment below (or reply to the email) with a hello and let me know what you’ve been up to.


It was a cold month in Portsmouth, New Hampshire! Having our blood thinned from a decade in California made it tough to readjust to the cold, gray, and wet New England winter. But the boys didn’t seem to mind. We bundled them up and hit the town. Sledding and ice skating in our beautiful little town.

Maverick stopped napping at home, but he wasn’t ready to go a day without a rest, so on most days I took him out in the stroller, often in the rain, snow, or sleet. Our coldest walk was 10ňöF but with 6 layers on it didn’t seem to bother him and he slept well.


More harsh than the month prior, winter kept on doing its thing in New Hampshire. Visits with family helped pass the gray days.

Amber’s amazing imagination and creativity came in handy when she made games and activities to keep the kids busy while indoors. She’s started publishing her content on Instagram and it’s gathering quite a following.


The snow came and went throughout the month, often melting completely. Towards the end of the month the temperatures climbed a bit and the snow turned to rain. We did our best to get out and explore the towns around us. Still with COVID we kept a low profile throughout the winter. Thankfully we had a library within walking distance. Our voracious reader would go through more than 50 books a week. “New book day” was always an exciting afternoon. The library even put on outdoor story time all throughout the winter!


With the snow behind us, we picked up a new toy. The “Follow Me Tandem” is an ingenious (if not clunky) device that allows me to tow Maverick’s bike behind my own. In less than 30 seconds I can un-hitch his bike, allowing him to ride by himself. Then when he’s tired I can re-attached him in less than 30 seconds and I tow him home. I could enjoy a longer ride and he felt engaged along the way. I highly recommend this contraption. On a day that I felt really strong, I even took Mason along in the bike seat. We all loved being back on the bikes again!


Spring is in the air and we kicked off the fresh weather with T-Ball. And as Maverick was outgrowing his 12″ bike we picked up a secondhand 16″ bike and he was off pedaling on it in no time.

A kayak found its way into our stable and we enjoyed paddling around our cove.


Skateparks, lots and lots of skateparks.

My first get-a-way in forever was a trip to Wyoming for a good friend’s wedding. Can you call someone a good friend if they tried to leave you for dead in Mexico when you couldn’t speak Spanish? It’s a wedding I wouldn’t miss, even if I my connecting flight got cancelled and I had to rent a car and drive 12 hours round trip in 2 days… Congratulations, Jim & Katie!

Then it finally happened; we caught COVID. Fortunately (?) it was staggered. I had a fever for 3 days. Then Maverick and Mason went down shortly afterwards and their fevers lasted 5 days. Amber wrapped us up with a 3 day fever. It wasn’t fun, and it was surprising that the kids fell more ill than us parents. Once quarantines finished, soccer sessions started. Portsmouth has so many kids sports going on throughout the year and we did our best to take advantage of them.


The boys started swim lessons in the enormous Portsmouth outdoor pool!

By this time, we’ve had a lot of time to think about what’s next for us… We’re enjoying Portsmouth, but not so much the harsh winter months, and we’re not ready to settle down just yet. So I took a quick scouting trip to Mexico to see if it might be a good fit for us to live as a family…

Upon returning from Mexico, I jumped into an activity I’ve been wanting to try for years. SAILING! I took lessons at the Kittery Point Yacht Club. Honestly, it was humbling… I usually pick up athletic actives pretty quickly, but for some reason I had a really difficult time grasping the fundamentals of sailing and all the muscle memory that goes along with sailing a small boat. It took a while but I eventually started getting the hang of things, despite a rogue jib that caused the boom to crash into my skull. Thankfully my sailing partner that day was a doctor and she gave me advice on what to look out for in regards to a concussion. Fortunately, I was feeling ok, other than the egg size welt on my forehead. But by the end of the class I was thoroughly enjoying my time on the water, heeled over, trying to go as fast as I could (until the wind shifted). Maybe one day we’ll live on a boat…


After a few too many trips to the Mexican consulate in Boston, we finally received our Temporary Residency visas! Things were starting to fall into place and by the end of the month we were out of Portsmouth and on our way to Mexico! It was sad to leave family and friends behind, but we were excited to continue exploring. With my mom’s old Subaru, we started loading up for a life south of the border. Amber packed the car WAY too full. We grabbed a set of mountain bikes (as the cobble stone roads in the place we’re headed wouldn’t be a good fit for our touring bikes). I drove 3500 miles down to Mexico over 7 days. Amber, the boys, and my Mom flew in 2 days after I arrived. This was going to be the start of a great new chapter of our lives in beautiful San Miguel de Allende, Mexico!


Our kids started at a local Montessori preschool. It’s mostly Spanish speaking kids, but there are a few other English speakers. Honestly, it was a struggle at first. This was the first time our boys had been away from Mom and Dad and thanks to COVID they didn’t have nearly the amount of socialization that they would have had under more normal circumstances. We weren’t sure if they would ever turn the corner, and we were starting to doubt if this was going to work. But little by little they started settling in at school and now, at the end of the year, we have more good days than bad. It’s mostly just the drop-offs that are challenging. School is half-day Monday through Friday.

I’d like to say it’s given Amber and I the time we needed to relax, regroup, and regain our energy, but the reality was far less glamorous. In an unfortunate turn of events, I contracted a rare bacterial infection and was feeling lower than I had felt in a long long time. It was scary, but thankfully our neighbor is a retired doctor (how lucky are we!?!?) and he recommended which of the local hospitals I should go to. The doctors spoke great English and they quickly diagnosed my issue. I ended up spending a night in the ER and then 3 days admitted as an inpatient. Slowly but steadily I started feeling better.

It took another 2 weeks to regain my stamina, and just as I did, the kids got sick at school! We really haven’t had the energy to go and explore our new town, but we’re fortunate to live in a community that’s filled with kids and is a safe place to play. So even though we stayed close to home, we still had fun with the pools, palm trees, and daily dose of sunshine.


With the kids in preschool, we went from one cold to the next with everyone in the house feeling sick for what felt like the entire month. Nevertheless, we enjoyed a trip to the annual town fair, explored a local skatepark, hit up the kids arcade, rode horses, taught driving lessons, and ate some delicious food.

By the end of the month I regained some strength and took a trip for business and stopped by Colorado and California for a few days to enjoy some time with friends I hadn’t seen in far too long.

Once a week I try to make it out for a bike ride in Mexico with a group of local riders. Getting out of the city and into the countryside only takes a few minutes and it’s very refreshing. It’s a great workout and I love being out exploring the nature!


Fortunately I made it back to Mexico by the end of the month to experience el Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) which is a fantastic cultural experience. It’s a time for families to honor their deceased relatives. They often make an alter at the grave and an offering of their loved ones’ favorite foods for when their souls return to earth for the night. It was really amazing to see how a family, a community, an entire country come together to pay respect and celebrate their lost family. Not wanting to disturb their moments we opted not to visit the cemetery at night, but rather the next morning when all the decorations were up, but all the people were gone. An entire cemetery was covered in beautiful colors, but the heartbreaking moment came when we saw the graves for the children. Looking at the headstones – 2 years old, 3 years old, 3 months old. How sad. Their graves were covered with candies and toys.

The rest of the month was enjoyed with mostly good health. Biking, extravagant Mexican children’s birthday parties, parades, and a time spent with our first visitor – Charles! Long time readers will remember that Charles and I motorcycled the Americas, for which this blog was created. We had a great time showing him around our adopted hometown.


One final business trip for the year and a trip back to New Hampshire to see friends and family. Back in Mexico we had a trip to the ER after Maverick decided to swallow a little plastic star. WTF??? Fortunately, it didn’t get lodged in his throat or lungs. An hour of the doctor’s time plus an X-ray was $43 USD out of pocket.

With December coming to an end, it was time for a winter break roadtrip! No ski slopes this year… We drove 3 hours to a Pueblo Magico town called Patzcuaro which had a beautiful central jardin (garden) and a unique Christmas feel. It was higher elevation than our home in San Miguel de Allende so the temps were quite a bit cooler, but we enjoyed the fresh, brisk air.

After 2 nights it was a 4 hour drive to the coast. The temps quickly increased as we dropped in altitude. Christmas on the beach in Zihuatanejo (the fabled beach from the movie Shawshank Redemption). It was wonderful and the boys enjoyed playing in the sand, ocean, and pools.

A week later we roadtripped back into central Mexico for a stop at Valle de Bravo, a popular getaway town for folks from Mexico City. The town is surrounded by a beautiful lake and lush forest. We enjoyed hiking, but the city was way too crowded for the New Years holiday. These are very cooperative hikers…

Back in San Miguel and we’re happy to be out of the car and in our home. Being on the road and seeing new places is fantastic, but a big challenge with 2 active little boys. We were all happy to arrive back at home and celebrate the new year by falling asleep at 9pm.

What went well, what do we want to do better, and what’s next?

I also spent a good chunk of the year working on the next generation of SnapType. It’s certainly taken longer than expected but we hope to launch soon. We’re really excited to get these new tools into the hands of students who need them most! Every week we’re getting emails from parents and teachers sharing their stories about how SnapType is changing their student’s lives. It’s empowering!

Astute readers may have realized that last year I left my career in order to focus on our family, yet in 2022 I mentioned some business trips. Well, after a 6 month hiatus, my former employer made me an offer to do some work and we eventually landed on an agreement. I’m happy to be back in the high-tech world, but doing it a bit differently this time around. I’m mostly confident in my own skin and have a sense of my worth, but after a decade in a high profile role it’s still hard not to feel a sense of character loss when going from developing cutting edge technology and negotiating hundred million dollar deals to transitioning into full time dad mode. It’s not that I don’t love being a dad, but I’ve found that I also love developing product, providing value, learning new skills, facilitating, creating, and being part of a team with a common goal. The trouble is that I want to do it all! At least for the moment, it’s nice to have struck a balance.

We spent the first half of the year where we grew up. Spending time with friends and family was wonderful, but after a year in New Hampshire we had itchy feet and were excited for a new adventure. Moving to Mexico was a big undertaking! We received temporary resident status and it’s been great to dive deeper into life in Mexico without always being on the move to a new location.

The boys are in a Montessori preschool and already learning Spanish. Transitioning into school was tough, but overtime it became easier and eventually the boys started to enjoy going into school. Everyday Maverick comes home with new words, phrases, and songs. It won’t be long before his Spanish is better than mine. Mason, who is just learning to speak English, is also picking up the Spanish. He understands quite a bit and speaks some. Recently he’s started saying “Si” instead of yes, even when we talk to him in English.

Raising two little boys is exhausting, and most days it feels like we’re just trying to survive until bedtime. We’re still spending a lot of time together as a family and we’re thankful to be part of a welcoming community here in Mexico. Our neighbors are a mix of Mexicans and expats (mostly from the US and Canada). The weather here is always beautiful! We’ve decided to extend our lease here in Mexico for another 6 months. Then we’ll see what happens next…

Our winter road trip reminded us that although we’d love to be on the road continuously, it’s not the best fit for our family (at this time). Honestly, I don’t know how some families do it with such young kids. At this stage, we’ve found that having a home base works best. When we’re ready, we’ll move move to a new home base and continue exploring. Of course we’ll look forward to the day when we can enjoyably resume overland travel. Until then, we are happy that our new home base gives us a chance to explore a new culture, language, cuisine, and people.

Finally, thanks to Amberlynn for pushing me to do this year’s annual writeup. I took the easy way out these past few years because we were so busy, but she helped me find the time this year to sit and write for a few hours. It will be a great memory for myself and my family to look back on in the years to come. ūüėĀ

Until we meet again, greetings from Mexico, where we teach kids to drive!

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My 2021: Year In Review

Global pandemic (still)…

Drove cross country in a Sprinter van with two toddlers.

No sleep.

Living in New Hampshire again!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2022!

Bonneville Salt Flats
New Hampshire Life
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My 2020: Year In Review

Global pandemic. Had a new baby. That about sums it up!

Life has been wonderful and busy! We’re excited to get out on two wheels again, even if only for a few more miles… I’ll just leave this video here. May you all have a brighter 2021!

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My 2018: Year In Review

An exhausting and refreshing 5 month bicycle journey in 2017, I felt rejuvenated to get back into the swing of things at the office and tackle new challenges. 2018 was a busy year with work, but it was also packed with adventures near and far.

Every year I like to reflect on the past 12 months to see where I spent my time. 2017,¬†2016,¬†2015,¬†2014, 2013, 2012 were all memorable and I’m glad that I’ve taken the time to keep a log. It will be fun to look back in the years to come.

Now that I’m 35, it’s been decided with Charlie (my friend of the same age), that we’re “almost 40.” Wow, that’s a crazy thought and a reminder that life is short and meant for living!


After some wonderful family time back in New Hampshire it was back to California. I was all by myself for a little while longer because Amber and my sister were on a Prius road trip from the east coast to west coast. My sister was starting a new job in northern California and Amber volunteers to drive cross country with her.

We had the privilege to host our first traveler of the year, a fellow cycle tourer (albeit the 1-wheeled kind), Ed Pratt, on his 3 year tour around the world. It felt good to repay some of the hospitality that was given to us on our trip. While at our house, he edited a video series from his in New Zealand. Check it out on his YouTube channel.

Since I moved to California in 2012, I’ve been flying to China every 6 to 8 weeks. With a 6 month hiatus, I was back on a flight across the pacific for the first China trip after our bicycle trip, and for the first trip of the new year. The timing was perfect and I was able to join the company’s annual holiday party. My colleagues were stunned to learn that in the USA, its not customary to create and perform a dance on stage during the holiday party…

However, this wasn’t an ordinary trip… I flew into Shanghai and then a few days later departed Shanghai on a flight to Germany. Another few days in Germany and then a flight to San Francisco. I had just flown around the world! That’s a first for me…

After the business meetings were over in Munich, I visited The Dachau concentration camp. Walking through the camp, where so many people were forced to suffer, was an intense experience. Although hard to fathom the atrocities, the site is now a beautiful memorial, museum, and reminder. Let us never forget…


I saw it every year… My favorite holiday in Chinese New Year! Because I work for a Chinese company, there’s always work to be done, even during US holidays. But during Chinese holidays, my email is quiet and I can enjoy a little peace. To celebrate, Amber and I flew to Colorado and spent the week visiting friends in Denver and Boulder, some whom I haven’t seen since I graduated college! It was wonderful to connect with so many friends and spend time in beautiful Colorado.

Remember those crazy suits from the above holiday party photo? Well… I took a few back to the USA. Charlie and I put them to good use during a morning bicycle ride.

Amber had a bit of an adventure herself this month too as she flew to Germany just a few weeks after I returned. A friend of ours had a business trip and Amber went along to help take care of the baby. I left a “love lock” on bridge and I gave Amber the key and directions on how to find it. She loved the scavenger hunt and the feeling of connection with me, despite being a third of the way around the world.


Family time. A fun weekend of hiking with my sister, Abby.

Kazuhiro is a young Japanese guy who is super friendly, humble and hardcore. The kid cycled from New York to San Francisco, by taking a northern route in the middle of winter! We hosted him at our house and I joined him for a few miles on the last day of his trip. Here we are taking tourist photos at the Facebook head quarters.

After our Japanese traveler left, we hosted an Italian moto traveler. Of course we had to try out the unicycle (that we purchased after hosting our Unicycle traveler in January). Fortunately, he didn’t have to test his health insurance coverage during his visit to California.


A month in motion… It started off with China Trip #2 and then a flight directly to Utah to join Amber at the American Occupational Therapy Association conference. We pitched our app, SnapType, at the inventors showcase (a.k.a. Shark Tank) and were wonderfully surprised to be the winners of the contest! The judges loved what we had already done with SnapType and for its future potential. This was a great accomplishment, especially for Amber to get the recognition and support from her fellow occupational therapists.

After the conference we spent a few days in the southern Utah deserts and national parks with our friends, David and Haley. We love them and had such a great time filled with scenic hikes, delicious meals, awkward photos, and belly laughs. Here we are twisting our way through an intricate slot canyon.

We drove back to Salt Lake City and I flew out that day for China Trip #3. But rather than share a photo from my time in China, enjoy this picture from a week later when a few of my Chinese colleagues came to California. I treated them to an authentic Mexican meal. This may be the best way to unite the citizens of the world… with an enormous plate of tacos!

And we welcomed the arrival of spring by celebrating the Hindu festival of Holi.


Hey, how about another trip to China? Sure… China Trip #4. I had a custom t-shirt made with a Mandarin phrase that rolls off the tongue – ŚłÖŤÄĀŚ§Ė (Shuai Lao Wai). In English, it translates to “Handsome Foreigner” and my colleagues loved it. They deserved a good laugh.

Leaving China it was a bus ride to Hong Kong, then a flight to Los Angeles, then Phoenix, then Flagstaff, followed by a 2 mile walk to meet Amber who was sleeping in our tent at the Overland Expo. Jet lag was no match for the energy of being surrounded by thousands of overland travelers. We gave several presentations about our travels by bicycle, motorcycle, and 4×4. When not presenting, we were catching up with friends and checking out all the seriously cool overland rigs on display. Ideas were planted, and we’ll be looking forward to more overland travel in the years to come.

Back in California and back on the bicycles for a weekend of bicycle touring and camping! We rode our bikes to Half Moon Bay to wish our friends, Christian and Persephone, bon voyage as they move to Boston for a new adventure. After the BBQ, we setup camp at the hike-and-bike site at the State Park. In the morning a fellow cyclist had his bike stolen! He was in the showers when someone came over to the site and rode away on his bike. No one realized what had happened until it was too late. Amber set off on her bike to try and find the thief while I broke down camp (she’s the tough one, not me). Unfortunately, he was long gone by then and the harsh reality set in that this traveler, who was on his way from Seattle to San Diego, would have to find new wheels. It’s a sad reminder that you can’t be too cautious with your gear…

Our friend Andrew and his Dad were on their way from San Diego to Maine and made a stop in with us for the night. We love hosting travelers and seeing our hometown friends!


Amber’s favorite vegetable is the artichoke, so when the annual artichoke festival in Castroville came around, we knew we had to attend. Although we enjoyed spending time with our friends, John and Betsy, it turned out to be a bit of a bust, with a fairground full of vendors selling crummy imported trinkets. We reluctantly took a farm tour though and were glad we did because it ended up being extremely interesting. We learned about the different types of artichokes and they let us cut some of our own to take home.

The tail leg of China Trip #5 was exhausting and wonderful. I managed a 20 hour layover in Japan on the way out. Rather than undertake the lengthy travel into downtown Tokyo, I stayed at a hotel just a few minutes from the airport and I spent a day walking around the small town of Narita. Wow, what a great decision that was! Narita has magnificent old temples, shrines and parks. Small ramen noodle restaurants are everywhere and the whole vibe was so pleasant. Hard to imagine that it’s just down the street from Japan’s busiest airport. The best bit? I loved this simple and inexpensive “bridge” that enables people to cross the river without stopping the flow of water. How ingenious!

After Japan, it was time to cross the international date line for a 10 hour layover in Honolulu, Hawaii. Making good use of my time, I walked from the airport to Pearl Harbor. This was a stark contrast in world history to where I was just hours ago.

Back at the airport and a short hop to the island of Kauai for a meet up with more of my family to celebrate my cousin’s wedding. We all had a wonderful time exploring the island. Congratulations Matt and Jess!

June also marked the start of high school summer vacation. Our 16 year old nephew, Justin, joined us in California for the summer. Excited to workout and make some money, he got what he asked for right away by being the hired muscle to move Amber’s gymnastics into a new building.


Since our friends Danny and Mckinsey moved to San Diego a few years back, we’ve missed hanging out with them and their family. So when they told us they were coming to Carmel, we jumped at the opportunity to have some fun with them. Here we are out on the lake in a pair of canoes.

China Trip #6 and a free Sunday. Bicycle riding with my colleagues! All was going well until the clamps on my folding bicycle let loose mid-ride and suddenly I lost all control of the steering! Oh China…

Overnight backpacking plans in the Sierra’s were shut down at the day before departure due to the California wildfires. Last minute, we changed our destination to an even more challenging route much closer to us. Justin and I hiked 18 miles of the Skyline-to-the-Sea trail in the Santa Cruz mountains. He did great. My old-man-knees eventually hobbled into the campground where we met up with Amber for a night of camping. We filmed the hike together and then later on Justin edited the footage into a video. Welcome to nature!


Another traveler to host! Issei is a classic rock loving college student from Japan, working his way down west coast of the USA. We indoctrinated him with a classic Californian meal.

Hot summer days and an offer from a colleague to go boating and tubing had us driving to the Sacramento Delta. We spent the day on the water getting whipped behind the speed boat. Simple pleasures.

With the end of the summer approaching, it was time for Justin to make his way back to New Hampshire and start his Junior year in high school. But before he left, we scheduled a tour of local colleges, Stanford and Santa Clara University. Teenagers love having their picture taken in public…


To celebrate our 3 year wedding anniversary, I had a painting commissioned by a talented artist and fellow bicycle traveler. She created the art while in Nepal and we had a friend of friend pick it up from her in New Delhi, India to hand carry it back to the USA – truly a world-gift! She makes beautiful watercolor paintings and the photos from their travels are really stunning. Take a look at their blog. We’ll cherish this painting at the memory of our Silk Road journey for years to come!

China Trip #7

A friends weekend of camping and mountain biking in Downieville, California was just what the doctor ordered after a hectic month of work!

The next weekend it was off to Mariposa, California for our annual pilgrimage to the Horizons Unlimited meetup. Time spent with fellow travelers, away from cell phone coverage, was quite refreshing. We gave several presentations and enjoyed soaking in presentations about Russia, Africa, and Alaska…

Our long time family cat (Fastball / Fatball) died this month. We were sad to see him go, but happy to have had nearly 17 years of fun memories together with him. He loved playing ruff and being spun in circles on the floor. I even taught him to reach up and give me a high five whenever he wanted to be let out of the house. He will be missed.


Celebrating my second favorite holiday of the year… Chinese Golden Week! My friend Salil and I headed back to South America for a week of motorcycle riding around Ecuador’s backroads. The guys at Freedom Bike Rental set us up with DR650s which were perfect for the remote dirt road riding we embarked on. I also had the opportunity to meet my niece for the first time! Amber’s sister lives down in Quito so it was a double-win.

Enjoy this video we created with highlights from our journey around Ecuador.

Flying (indirectly) from Quito to Shanghai for Trip #8 and a visit from¬†Amber’s mom wrapped up October.


Forest fires were raging this month in Northern and Southern California. The devastation to those communities is hard to comprehend. Even though hundreds of miles away, the smoke created terrible air quality throughout the Bay Area. Thankfully, the day before Thanksgiving, rain fell to help tame the fires and clear the air just in time to enjoy a lovely west coast gathering with my sisters, Abby and Molly. We worked off the calories with a bicycle ride through the neighborhood.



As the end of the year rolled around, we were about to embark on our most remarkable and challenging adventure yet…


A week overdue, our son arrived happy and healthy, and we are in love! It’s been a hectic few days since. Day and night blend into one and we are seriously sleep deprived. But Amberlynn’s mother has been visiting for a few days and we are so thankful for her help. We really hit the jackpot – she’s been a labor and delivery nurse for 25+ years.

This will be a new stage of our lives, and we’re looking forward to the journey!

What went well in 2018?

  • We created a human! Out of all the crazy, beautiful, insane, exhausting, and wonderful adventures in life, this moment and the years to come may just be the most adventurous.
  • Despite not visiting any new countries (a first in nearly a decade), I still had the opportunity to re-visit a few old ones. China (obviously), Japan, Germany, and Ecuador.
  • After the travel adventure in 2017 followed by an exhausting year in the office, Amber and I continue to realize that we want more out of life. We both enjoy our careers and we’re happy to ride this wave for a while, but we’re certainly keen for a non-conventional life filled with more adventure in the future. Sharing this grand vision with my partner feels good.
  • Continued success with our app, SnapType. Our user base is growing and we’re making a modest but healthy revenue. Winning the AOTA pitch contest was another avenue for validation and it was marvelous to receive it. We also took some big steps this year in developing the next generation of SnapType and although we’re not ready to launch it to the world just yet, it’s great to see progress being made towards that goal. We get heartwarming emails from teachers and parents each week and we know they’re going to love the new features that we’re developing for them. I spent more hours than normal this year on SnapType so we could put together the plan for the future. And when we release a pretty big bug in the middle of the year, it was a hectic week putting in a fix, but our users really appreciated the quick improvements and customer service they received. It’s been a lot of work, but also energizing and rewarding.
  • I was able to jump back into my day job and hit the ground running, even with being away for 5 months. Throughout the year I provided a lot of value to my customers and my team. It certainly wasn’t a walk in the park, but overall it was a positive experience and I’m glad that I could be of service. Although I missed out on a good amount of income while being on the road, it was well worth it to live out our dream. Business continues to be strong and it’s great to be involved in the company’s success along side my talented colleagues.
  • We continued documenting our bicycle tour with a series of more than 50 mini-episodes on YouTube. Amber does most of the hard work when it comes to editing and I come in and touch them up before they get published. We receive heaps of comments and thanks for our videos. We know we’ll be happy to look back on them later in life and we’re pleased to know that they are inspiring and educating other travelers. Even though the trip is over, we still hope to create and share videos of our future adventures. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and get notified when new videos go live. In a world where we consume so much, it feels much more fulfilling to create.

What did not go well in 2018?

  • I tried to keep up with my language learning but I quickly realized how much Russian I had forgotten. Since I travel to China for work, I thought I’d pick up my Mandarin lessons again. The education didn’t last long and after a few months I gave it a rest and have yet to pick it back up. I really like taking the time to study and learn but with such a busy year of work, my mental energy was running low.
  • Yoga… I keep saying that I’ll do it. The benefits are well known to me. But I keep putting it off… Perhaps there has been so much urgency in life life this, I didn’t spend the time to focus on the important, but less urgent items.
  • I visited New Hampshire a few times and had some great visits with family, but it always felt too fast. I miss having family down the road and hanging out with them more often.
  • My step-father has been gone for a year and a half. It’s gotten easier over time, but I still miss him. Every once in a while I’ll think of something that I’d like to share with him, but then I remember he’s gone. Rather than be sad, it makes me smile to remember him. Life goes on and he’ll always be with me.

Looking ahead

2018 was certainly a memorable year. Content from our twice-in-a-lifetime adventure, we didn’t undertake any grand travels, but we enjoyed the pregnancy progression. Nevertheless, we are already looking forward to the year ahead and to making memories with friends and family in 2019. I hope to put a few more miles (pun intended) onto the BMW R1150 RS motorcycle that I’m bike-sitting for a friend. The day job will be interesting as we continue to grow and diversify but hopefully engaging and rewarding ¬†as well with certainly more than a few trips to China. The future of SnapType is bright and we’re really excited to share the next generation with our users – we know they’re going to love it. Learning to be a father and spending time with my son are going to make 2019 wonderful, demanding, exhausting, and fulfilling.

I hope that one day my son will look back on these writings and see that his old man was once a cool guy (with a little hair still left on top of his head). May he be inspired to embrace curiosity, seek out adventure, do good as he goes, connect with community, and be happy in life.

How was your 2018? Are you happier now than you were the same time last year? Have you made progress on your personal goals? What went well for you this year? What could have gone better? Send me an email or leave a comment below, I’d love to hear form you.

Categories: Bicycle Touring, China, Ecuador, Germany, japan, Uncategorized, United States | Leave a comment

My 2017: Year In Review

Wait… What? 2017 is already over?!?!

Every year I like to reflect on the past 12 months to see where I spent my time. 2016,¬†2015,¬†2014, 2013, 2012 were all amazing years. I am looking forward to looking back (huh?) on these reviews when I’m old and gray (ok, older and grayer).

As a child, I remember sitting in class at elementary school, looking up at the clock, watching the seconds hand tick so slow, wondering if this class would ever end. Fast forward to today, at age 34, and I wish I could slow down time. So much has happened in the past year. Incredible highs and devastating lows. It’s all going by so fast…

I use a Chrome extension that flashes my age every time I open up a new web browser tab. I use it to remind myself that it’s time to get living. I’ve watched it go from 31 to 32 to 33 and onto 34. I had plenty of fun times and satisfying accomplishments in all these years, but was always left wanting something more. 34 would be different…

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a close enough friend to know that 2017 was the year of my twice in a lifetime adventure. Although the year had a tough start, it was immensely memorable.


The first overseas flight of the year happened early (as seems to be the norm these days). China Trip #1. Considering it was the middle of winter, I crocheted a hat for my colleague’s new baby.


To celebrate Chinese New Year, and some down time at the office, my friend Salil and I flew to Colombia and went for a week long motorcycle ride around the country. After a 5 year gap, it felt great to be back in Colombia! I absolutely love this country. The people are genuinely friendly, the landscapes are gorgeous, the food is delicious, the lifestyle is inexpensive, the weather is perfect, and of course the moto riding is superb with terrific on and off road routes. It was my 5th trip to Colombia and I suspect I’ll have many more.



Just as I was returning home from Colombia, Amber was flying to Ecuador to visit her sister. The fun news is that I became an uncle (again)!


Then as Amber was returning from Ecuador, I was flying off to Asia for China Trip #2. I think we went over a month without seeing each other!


Not long after China, I flew back to NH to visit with family. My step father had been in the hospital for several months and it felt good visit with him and be in the presence of people I love.



We hosted a pair of Polish cyclists who have been pedaling around the world. Basking in their adventure, we cooked a big meal and shared travel stories. It was wonderful to spend time with travelers and remember how good it feels to be out on the road.


It was then time to rack up more frequent flyer miles and head out for China Trip #3.


El Burro, my trusty motorcycle for nearly a decade, with whom I travelled to South America, was put up for adoption. I simply wasn’t giving him the attention and adventure he deserved. Fortunately, a nice family took him in and they plan to explore Baja together. At ~70,000 miles, his bones ache a bit but he loves to get out there. I wish him and his new family all the best. Here’s a photo from our first ever overnight trip together. We were both so young…



It’s the 4th month so it must be time for China Trip #4.


I also celebrated my 34th birthday in one of the best ways possible, with a weeklong visit from my friends Ryan and Rachael! Escaping New England’s arctic climate, we explored San Francisco, rode ATVs like maniacs during a freak rain storm, ripped down Big Sur on Harleys, experienced the awesomeness of the Sea Otter Classic, and screamed our vocal cords to exhaustion with more than enough DMX karaoke. #ruffriders



We took a long ride up in the mountains to celebrate the wedding of our friends, Joel and Adela. It was a beautiful setting and a wonderful event.


Back at the airport again, for a trip to Austin, Texas for a weekend to celebrate my buddy John’s last days being a bachelor. Beer and boardgames ruled the weekend. I stayed an extra day and caught up with a few college friends I hadn’t seen in years. Good times.


Alright, alright… Time for China Trip #5.



This was a big month… It started off great with a long drive down to San Diego for a visit with our friends Danny and McKinsey (and their kids). They left the Bay Area last year and we’ve missed hanging out with them.


Sadly, on the drive back home from San Diego, we learned that my step father wasn’t going to recover. We hopped on a plane that night to arrive in Boston the next morning and said our goodbyes. It was heart breaking.

4 days later my sister got married. Everyone was a wreck, but we bit our lips as best we could and put on a smile. Hearts confused and overflowing with sadness and joy, family and friends came together to take part in the beautiful weekend planned by the couple. Congratulations Hannah and Josh.


I flew back to California for a couple of work meetings and then back to NH a few days later for the memorial service. As sad as it was, it was comforting to be with family and to hear from his friends. My sister spoke a beautiful tribute to him. We’ll always remember the good times.


Keeping strong, I left New Hampshire directly for China Trip #6.

Returning from China, it was a gift to have my mom visit us in California for a week. It’s something we planned a while back and we all agreed that it was a good decision to carry through with it. It was her first time visiting us since we moved here 5 years ago. We showed her all around and most importantly enjoyed time together.



The mountains came calling again and we headed to Lake Tahoe for the wedding of our friends John and Betsy. With an impressive backdrop, the two became husband and wife!

Screen Shot 2017-12-12 at 4.59.22 AM

And now here’s where the story takes a twist… After months of planning, Amber and I took sabbaticals from our careers and set off on a grand adventure. Our plan – to bicycle the infamous Silk Road from China, through Central Asia and the Middle East. Not entirely sure what we were getting ourselves into, we turned our home over to my sister (Thanks, Abby!) and flew to Urumqi, the capital of China’s northwest Xin Jiang province.

We arrived safely in China with only one problem… Amber’s bike didn’t arrive! It took far too many phone calls, emails, and taxi rides to the airport, but eventually after 4 days, her bike arrived. Thanks to all my friends in China who helped translate and scream at the airline employees on our behalf!


The rest of the month, we cycled nearly 1,000 kilometers. Going south into the Tian Shan mountains before continuing west towards Kazakhstan, we experienced a side of China rarely seen by westerners. Even though I travel to eastern China all the time, this area had a completely different feel. We developed systems for cycling and living, learned to speak Uyghur (a local language used by the minority ethic group), ate some really delicious food and soaked in the scenery. Long days on the bike were a great time to mourn, reflect, and relax.



Leaving China behind we entered Central Asia and the former Soviet republics. The summer heat was in full force in Kazakhstan. With temperatures well over 100¬ļF and long distances between settlements and water sources, we tested our mental and physical strength.


Departing the Kazakh steppe, we entered Kyrgyzstan and cycled rolling hills with our new friends Pablo and Manon who helped us get comfortable with the art of stealth camping. During this time we explored, got lost, and finally relaxed into our journey. No rushing, just enjoying.



Climbing to heights over 14,000 feet, we crossed into Tajikistan and celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary. We tested our lungs and spirits as we cycled and pushed the bikes up at high altitudes. Leaving the pavement behind we entered the Bartang Valley – the most wild of the cycling routes through the Pamir Mountains. During one stretch we went 4 days and 150 kilometers without seeing any local people. It was the best mountain biking I’ve ever done on a road bike… The ~300 miles of rugged dirt roads engulfed in towering mountains and steep gorges was one of the most incredible segments of our tour.



Immediately after entering Uzbekistan we had a tough time. Amber became seriously ill with a bladder infection, kidney infection and the passing of kidney stones. The quality of medical care was not what we’re accustomed to in the USA. Luckily, the people of Uzbekistan are incredibly hospitable and they helped us out at every turn. With medication and time to rest under the supervision of “Nurse Ben,” Amber was able to slowly recover. With time away from the bikes we travelled by train and were overcome with emotion during visits to the famous Silk Road cities of Samarkand and Bukhara.



As winter approached in Central Asia, and with politics blocking our overland travel, we took to the skies and flew to the Middle East. Lovely hosts made us feel at home and we loved the opportunity to experience a new culture. We came to love the early morning call to prayer, cold drinking water provided for free at all the mosques, and the stark desert landscapes. While Amber regained her strength, I suffered from intense back pain as we rode through the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman.



Say it ain’t so! Our cycling journey came to an end. We totaled nearly 5,000 kilometers of riding during our 5 months of traveling. Amber kept the adventure alive by flying directly (ok, by way of 4 layovers and 40 hours of travel) to Ecuador for a visit with her sister. I on the other hand, returned to California and jumped right back into the working world. In less than a week I was already off on a flight to Hong Kong for China Trip #7 (not counting the trip to China for the start of our cycling).


Finally, it was time to head to New Hampshire to spend time with family during the holiday season. It was wonderful to see everyone after being away for 6 months!


What went well in 2017?

  • I visited 6 new countries! Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates, and Oman. This brings the official tally to 40 countries.
  • After an 8 year hiatus, I set off on another grand adventure. I craved an expedition, the call of the open road, a chance to experience new cultures and speak new languages. I wanted to challenge myself to learn and be curious. More than anything else, I wanted to ride my bicycle – all day, every day! Amber and I agreed that this was what we wanted, so we made a plan to live our dream and then turned it into a reality. I’m proud of us and now we have memories that we’ll hold with us forever!
  • As I get older, I seem to want more and more time for adventure and time with family. These goals often seem to pull with opposing force. I feel fortunate that this year was overflowing with both.
  • Our education app, SnapType, continues to thrive. With over a million and a half downloads, we’re helping students in over 50 countries! Emails continue to pour in from parents sharing stories of how much they love SnapType and how it’s completely turned around their childrens’ education. We also launched on Android to reach even more students. The development process for Android was a real challenge and there’s still plenty of room for improvement, but we launched it and it’s already making an impact! It feels so good to be doing good. We’re making a few bucks along the way which helps keep the project sustainable too. SnapType was recently featured on TechCrunch and we’ve even been approached by venture capitalists looking to invest. We’re not quite looking for that, but it is exciting!
  • I was able to negotiate a sabbatical on great terms which allowed me to continue to grow outside of the office while I grow professionally as well. My colleagues are fantastic and I appreciate the support they gave to me to pedal my dreams.
  • Movement! I flipped daily life around. Instead of spending all day on the computer with only an hour of exercise, I spent all day in motion for the entire second half the year. It felt fantastic and fulfilling both mentally and physically. To balance it all, I got lots of sleep and kept my stress quite low during the trip. This is going to be a hard transition back to office life…
  • I learned a new language and put it to use. My Russian skills are still quite poor, but they were enough to get by. I am able to read Cyrillic words and am comfortable having the same basic conversations over and over… Where are you from? You rode here on a bicycle? No way, really, all on the bicycle?! What is your profession? How old are you? Is she your wife? Do you have children? Why don’t you have children?
  • We documented our bicycle tour with a series of mini-episodes on YouTube. It’s been a great way to share the adventure with friends and family while also leaving us with great memories of the trip to watch years later. We’re a bit behind on publishing so subscribe to our YouTube channel and get notified when new videos go live.

What did not go well in 2017?

  • We lost a beloved member of our family. It’s the first loss in my immediate family and it still hurts after 6 months. I’ll get on, but it just sucks…
  • Although my back held up well for most of the year, I experienced some insanely intense back pain while camping in Oman. Oddly, it didn’t hurt during the day or while riding. But it was unbearable during the nights and early mornings. Fortunately, I have a wonderful wife who came to my rescue and helped out so much during that time. At one point, both my back and stomach muscles were in spasm and it hurt so much that I was in tears, begging for the pain medication to kick in. I’ll need to return to a daily yoga routine to keep my back healthy.

Looking ahead

2017 was certainly a memorable year for good and bad reasons. Nevertheless, I’m already looking forward to the year ahead and to making memories with friends and family in 2018. I’ll be on the look out for a new motorcycle. Work will be challenging but hopefully rewarding as well with certainly more than a few trips to China. There is also still a lot of growth opportunity for SnapType and I look forward to devoting more energy to seeing that through.

How was your 2017? Are you happier now than you were the same time last year? Have you made progress on your personal goals? What went well for you this year? What could have gone better?

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My 2015: Year In Review

Yikes, 2015 flew by! Fortunately it was action packed. Every year I like to reflect on the past 12 months to see where my life has taken me (or where I’ve taken my life). 2014, 2013, 2012 were all amazing years. Let’s dive into the highlight reel.


Amber and I rang in the new year with bass thumping music on the beach in Cabarate, Dominican Republic as we pedaled our bicycles through the North Coast of the country. We learned that no one in the DR rides a bicycle. All the locals thought we were crazy.

Dominican - North Coast

China trip #1 didn’t wait too long and I headed across the Pacific. Fortunately, I set my sites on the Portuguese colony of Macau and I really enjoyed exploring this special area. It’s very different from mainland China and also uniquely different from Hong Kong. Known as the Vegas of the far east, Macau has much more to offer than just casinos. Most of my time was spent walking the streets of the city – getting lost and soaking it all in.


A visit from our good friends, David and Haley, was welcomed. Whether we’re hiking, singing karaoke or making sheep jokes, it’s always a pleasure to spend time with these two.

January - David and Haley


Month #2 and China trip #2. Again, I was lucky enough to make a short stop over to explore another place I’d never been to – Taiwan. I spent a night in Taipei on my way out and as I do in every new place I visit, I walked… EVERYWHERE. Seeing the similarities and differences to mainland China was fun (the food was very different and quite delicious). Next stop, the 2nd tallest building in the world – Taipei 101 (ya, that’s the building’s name) at 509 meters stands like a goliath over all of the cities other sky scrapers. In 45 seconds the elevator raced me to the observation deck while my ears popped twice on the ride up! Scooters flooded the city streets.

Taiwan Beer

During my favorite holiday (Chinese New Year), I travelled back to my hometown on the east coast. While I loved seeing my friends and family, my California blood was a bit shocked with the sub-zero temperatures (Fahrenheit). Miraculously, I didn’t freeze to death during the 10 degree snowshoe hike (-10 degree with windchill).


Let us not forget about China Trip #3. Two trips in one month.


Spring weather and cycling with the J’s.

J Cycling

A unique opportunity presented itself. I had a week long business trip to China scheduled that perfectly aligned with Amber’s spring break. China Trip #4… For the cost of a few frequent flyer miles, she set off on her first trip to Asia. We had a great time together exploring Shanghai, Changzhou, Yangshuo and Hong Kong. After a long New England winter, her pale white skin was blinding eyes. While not fashionable in the US, it was revered in China. Kids also loved her blonde hair and wanted pictures with the¬†ŤÄĀŚ§Ė.

Amber with Chinese Kids

Death Valley came knocking again and a few friends and I set our sights on the adventure motorcycling rally. Much like last year, we got in way over our heads, ran out of fuel, water and food, experienced numerous mechanical breakdowns, and got stuck in deep sand. I even managed to ride at night with a missing helmet visor and a headlight that points to the sky. It was exhausting, yet incredible and very memorable. So it was pretty much perfect.

Death Valley Moto


While I do find it nice to kick back and relax on the weekends, I find it much more energizing and rewarding to take on challenges. In April I attended my second Startup Weekend, where entrepreneurs from all backgrounds come together to form a team, build a product and launch a startup, all in 54 hours. I partnered with a group of really talented engineers and together we built RedHound, a hassle-free smart alarm. Over the course of the weekend we created a prototype and pitched our startup. It went well and out of more than a dozen teams, we came in first place!

RedHound Startup Weekend

After a weekend of mental exhaustion,¬†it was time for physical exhaustion. Over the course of a few hours, I pedaled my bicycle up the East Bay’s Mt. Diablo.

Mt. Diablo Strava


Without a visit to Asia in more than a month, I must have been getting antsy. So it was back across the ocean for China Trip #5, but first I made a stop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to visit my college fraternity brother, Austin. He and his wife were gracious hosts and it was interesting to explore a city with a unique mix of people and religion. It was my first time in a predominantly muslim country and it felt nothing like I would have expected. My only previous¬†experience with¬†the faith came from what I’ve seen on TV about the middle east. Touring the grand mosque was really interesting. Below we’re taking our touristy picture in front of the famous Petronas Twin Towers.

May - KL

Back east for Amber’s graduation from Occupational Therapy graduate school.

May - Amber Graduation


A trip to Japan was a nice break from all the China travel (but for easy record keeping, let’s call this China Trip #6). These two economic giants are separated by the East China Sea but their histories have been intertwined for centuries. I find it fascinating to see how different the two cultures are though. I spent a few days touring around Kyoto, which has a very different feel from my previous trip to Tokyo. Around 2,000 temples are scattered about this ancient city. Of course, the food is always fantastic in Japan.

June - Japan Kyoto


July started off with a bang! Amber and I celebrated our July 4th holiday with an exhilarating and exhausting day of learning and riding at SoCal Supermoto. These guys put on a fantastic session and immense fun was had by all!

July - SoCal SuperMoto

Time for China Trip #7. Thankfully, a stop over in Hawaii on the return leg made the journey much more enjoyable! Spending some time catching up with my cousin, hiking, surfing, and stand up paddle boarding with giant sea turtles made this one hell of a trip! Here’s the view from the top of Diamond Head Crater, overlooking Waikiki and Honolulu.

July - Hawaii

Restless legs and good friends took me back to Yosemite for some more hiking at the end of the month. What a rad place this is…

July - Yosemite


Missoula, Montana! A celebration for a great couple, Mike and Katie, who tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony in big sky country. We partied late into the night, and I unfortunately had to wake up at 5am to catch a flight to China…

August - Mike And Katie

China Trip #8. BBQ anyone?

May - China Food


For months and months and months, Amber and I planned our wedding. The big day finally came and all of our hard work paid off! We had an incredible weekend with friends and family on a beautiful summer camp in rural Maine.

September - My Wedding

And I surprised her with a ride in a Ural sidecar. She loved it.

September - Ural

The weekend after our wedding, our friends, Matt and Alana also tied the knot. With all the running around that goes on at one’s own wedding, it¬†was great to¬†relax and enjoy our time at someone else’s wedding.

September - Hedrick Wedding

The next day we hopped on a plane and headed to Eastern Europe for a bicycle touring honeymoon! We spent just shy of 2 weeks pedaling from Ljubljana, Slovenia to¬†Poreńć, Croatia. It was fantastic, exhausting and beautiful. To top it all off we spent a few days in Venice, Italy before flying home.

September - Bike Touring

Still adjusting to the jet lag, we rallied to stay awake and celebrate the wedding of more good friends, Kyle and Caitlin. It’s so great to goof off with friends that I don’t get to see often, now that I live on the other side of the country.

September - Kyle Wedding


With so many wonderful weddings under our belt this year, I headed back to California and then made a U-turn after 2 weeks to head back to New Hampshire for one last 2015 wedding to celebrate with the incredible Byron and Sally. An H-Town selfie shows our group of childhood friends back together again.

October - Byron Wedding Group

After the wedding I went directly to Asia for China Trip #9. On the way home, I caught up with Amber in LA. She had been hard at work in her second and final fieldwork placement. Her first was in the Bay Area and for the first time in 2 years, we lived together again! Yet, for the remainder of the year, she was down in LA for an amazing opportunity to complete her fieldwork at one of the nations premier sensory integration clinics Рa great step in her career. I headed down for a long weekend on my return from China and my fraternity brother, Biscuit (future Mars astronaut), took us for a sunset cruise over Los Angeles in a small prop plane. Sweet!

October - Flying with Biscuit 2


Amber and I split the difference in driving and met up for a weekend in Pismo Beach where we rode ATVs around miles and miles of windscaped sand dunes.

November - Sand Dunes

China trip #10. Double digits this year, yikes!

Later in the month, Joel and I did something we’ve been talking about for years. We went 4-wheeling in Hollister with his Jeep. His truck is very capable and he’s a great driver. Oh so much fun!

November - 4wheeling

Back in LA, Amber and I attended the International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach. Seen below, we found a great bike for a loop around India! We also met up with some moto friends and attended a fantastic presentation from the Striking Viking, Glen Heggstad, about motorcycling around the world.

November - IMS

To wrap up the month and enjoy our Thanksgiving holiday, we hiked and hiked and hiked all throughout Joshua Tree National Park. My sister who teaches elementary school in Las Vegas also joined. I was sad not to be with all of my family, but grateful to be with some of them while exploring this beautiful place.

November - JTNP Hiking


China trip #11 was underway, until a 5 hour delay eventually turned into a cancelled flight. I ended up scrapping my entire trip.

The real year’s end excitement came with an overland journey through Baja, Mexico! I thought that moving from NH to CA would mean more opportunity to visit Mexico since I would be much closer. Sadly, it’s been hard to find the time to jump away from work for so long. But the long holiday break worked out great and our unique trip was incredible. A month prior, our friends drove an SUV from San Francisco to Cabo at the southern tip of Baja. They parked the truck and flew home. A few weeks later, Amber and I flew down to Cabo and drove the truck back to the USA! Here’s short video edit from the trip:

Baja Cactus QX4

What went well in 2015?

  • I visited 1 new state! Traveling to Hawaii takes me up to 48 states visited (Alaska and North Dakota are still pending). I’m now tied with my Dad who has also visited 48 states (missing only Hawaii and Alaska).
  • I visited new 4 new countries! With Taiwan, Malaysia, Slovenia and Croatia on the list, the total country count is now up to 32 (I think I miscounted last year – oops). I also re-visited some other amazing countries and explored new areas around Japan and Mexico. Furthermore, having Amber join me on a China trip was a real treat too.
  • I didn’t even mention our educational iPad app, SnapType. After teaming up with our awesome new developer, Brendan Kirchner, we launched a new¬†version 2.0 of the app in January. To date, there have been more than 400,000 downloads of the free version and enough sales¬†of the paid¬†version¬†to keep it interesting. Each week we receive emails from ecstatic parents, teachers and therapists who share how the app is literally changing lives. It’s incredibly rewarding.
  • Work continues to go well. I was promoted to director level this year and took on a new role. It’s great to know that I’m adding a lot of value to the company.
  • Months upon months of preparation for our wedding was well worth it. We made memories that we’ll remember for years to come! Check out this highlight video if you’re curious.
  • The year contained many small wins. I spent a good chunk of the summer rock climbing at the gym with Amber. I also made it through 15 “Learn to speak Mandarin (Chinese)” audio sessions. Fluency is still very far away, but I gained quite a bit of street credit from my colleagues in China.

What did not go well in 2015?

  • As with every year, back pain continues to be my biggest challenge. Fortunately, this summer I found that yoga has helped me have fewer “bad days.” Although, it’s a struggle to keep it up every day, especially with so much travel.
  • I was happy to have travelled back east many times to see friends and family, but it always feels¬†too fast. There are some great people in my life and it stinks that they are so far away.
  • After the trip to Death Valley, I didn’t ride my motorcycle for the rest of the year. The battery died (finally, after more than 70,000 miles) and I simply¬†was too lazy to get it up and running. I’ve been eyeing a new bike, but I’ve yet to pull the trigger.
  • While work is going great, it’s also quite stressful at times. My colleagues are fantastic, but it’s just the nature of the beast. More often than not, I do well with managing my stress, but at times it’s difficult and it get’s magnified when those times coincide with flare ups in back pain.
  • My quest for passive, location independent¬†income continues. SnapType has been the great surprise, but despite my best efforts with tweaking the Motorcycle Mexico sales funnel and working on related affiliate sales, it’s much more of a hobby and less of a business. I should let it go, but I like being a part of the community.

Looking ahead

2016 brings with it new challenges and opportunities. With Amber finally done grad school, we’ll once again be living together full time and I look forward to seeing her grow into her role as an occupational therapist. Continuing the quest for passive income and spending time with friends and family are my top priorities. Amber and I both would love to take on a big quest and we’ll be discussing what that might entail.

How was your 2015? Are you happier now than you were the same time last year? Have you made progress on your personal goals? What went well for you this year? What could have gone better?

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My 2013: Year In Review

I really enjoyed writing My 2012 Year In Review so I thought I’d give it another go with 2013. This is my chance to look back on the year to see what went right, what could have gone better and what I might like to do in the year to come. It’s been a busy year…


After spending New ¬†Years Eve in a 70’s style British pub in California, 2013 began. Thankfully my good friends David and Haley put together an artistically shameless 2013 wall calendar. It really set the tone for the coming year. At the onset, their goal was to find 12 awkward photos of me. As it turns out, they had to whittle it down from more than 60! Ya, we’ve had some fun over the years…

Ben Calendar

It didn’t take long for our first moto guests of the year to stop by. Bernd and Heidi from Germany stopped in during their two year around the world journey. Opening up our home to overland travelers is incredibly rewarding. Their stories help keep the travel spirit alive.

Bernd and Heidi

By the end of the month, I was off to China for trip # 1 of the year.


I work daily with my colleagues in China and each morning I wake up to an inbox filled with technical emails. But during my new favorite holiday of Chinese New Year, my inbox was nearly empty each morning! It  gave me time to spend a long weekend with friends up at a gigantic cabin in Lake Tahoe thanks to my buddy Charlie.


Amber and I also headed east for a visit to Yosemite. It was perfect timing with a little snowfall and only a handful of other tourists.


But by the end of the month it was time to jump on a westward plan bound for China. China Trip #2. Hungry? Eat some chicken feet…

Chicken Feet


With spring in full effect, it was time again for more exploration. Lots of day hikes around the Bay Area with friends, discovery of a local motorcycle stunt park, a trip to wine country in Napa Valley and a visit from my sister made March a fun month.

Golden Gate Bridge



I spent some more time in front of the computer screen as I learned some basic programming skills with the help of Codecademy. I find programming both straightforward and extremely complex, but intriguingly powerful. I still can’t do anything useful, but it’s been fun to learn the foundation.


I hit the big 30 this year. I don’t feel 30… In my mind, I feel like I’m 18. My body however feels more like 65… I continue to struggle with back pain and it’s very frustrating not doing the activities that I love. On the other hand, my amazing girlfriend rounded up 30 letters from 30 of my friends. This was an incredible gift as so many of the wonderful people in my life shared stories from our past. Wow, 30 years have gone by in the blink of an eye…


Even though life moves  fast, there is still so much time for adventure and good times with friends. At the start of the month we travelled south to San Diego for the wedding of our friends Danny and McKinsey.

Chair Dance

From there I boarded a plane on another business trip. This time headed east en route to Germany. Even though my feet were only in Germany for about 48 hours, it was exciting see the city of Munich. Better yet, I stayed in a working class neighborhood and devoured several delicious Turkish Kebabs. mmmmmmm.


Over the past month, I worked with a software development team in the Ukraine to build a resource for overland travelers. The site is Border Helper. Until now, it had been very difficult to find information about border crossings. This site makes it easy to read and write reviews.


Furthermore, I went to Arizona for my 3rd consecutive Overland Expo. I gave lots of presentations with advice and stories from traveling the world on a motorcycle. And as always, it’s so fun to be in a place without cell phone service and be surrounded by people who share the passion for overland travel.



Ryan and Rachel’s wedding took us back to New Hampshire for the first time since Christmas.

Moto Proposal

Meanwhile we hosted more moto travelers. Ken and Carol Duval previously stayed with us in New Hampshire and now this time in California. This amiable couple has been on the road for years, exploring all around the world.


By the month’s end I was back on a 737 and flying over the pacific ocean. China trip #3.


For years I’ve been reading Chris Guillebeau’s blog (The Art of Non-Conformity) and I’ve wanted to attend his World Domination Summit. But Portland, Oregon was always so far from New Hampshire. However, it’s close to California! It was well worth the trip and so inspiring to be around ordinary people living extraordinary lives.

Half way through 2013. Amber packed up all she had, and along with her 11 year old nephew, drove across the country so she could start grad school and work on her masters degree in occupational therapy. While we were both sad for her departure, we agreed that it was the right move for the future. So for now we’ll have 3,000 miles between us.

On the bright side, my back started feeling a little better and I hopped back on the road bike for the first time in nearly a year. It felt great to pedal through the Californian hills!
My Dad also came out for a visit. We toured all around the Bay Area including Alcatraz and the Santa Cruz boardwalk.
Dad Beach


Through smoke and ash from the Sierra Nevada forest fires, I rode up and over beautiful passes and settled in Nevada just south of Lake Tahoe for an Adventure Moto Rally. I gave a presentation and really enjoyed other presentations from renowned racer Jimmy Lewis and track legend Walt Fulton along with some fantastic dirt riding.


Over the past two months I had been working on another software project. This time I was building it all myself. And finally in September I launched www.RiderMix.com, an exclusive, members only club, for borrowing a motorcycle anywhere in the world.


Asia? Why not… China trip #4.


More exploration around the Bay Area. Hiking at Castle Rock State Park.


I racked up frequent flyer miles with another flight. China trip #5. At least I had some time for a hike along the Dragon’s Back in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Hike


Another New Hampshire wedding had me back home. This time it was my sister’s. As always, it was great to see the family. Life flies by and it’s easy to get into routine. Even though I can’t make time for a big adventure these days, I find it crucial to celebrate life’s small adventures. With the help of the One Second Everyday app, I created this compilation of my daily mini-adventures over the course of a few months.

Motorcycle Travel nuts, like me, wait impatiently all year for the Horizons Unlimited meeting. I was back for another round in Cambria. I gave a few fun presentations, met up with old friends and made new ones like Jeffrey Polnaja from Indonesia who has been riding around the world for 6 years on a Ride For Peace.

Ride For Peace


China trip #6.¬†But the really exciting thing about this trip was a long weekend stop over in Japan. It was my first time to Japan and I loved it! I stayed in old Tokyo at a quaint airbnb place and for a few days I walked all over the city, took a train to the south to see a giant Buddha, and even went to a Japanese Onsen (public bath). The weather was great and the food was delicious. Hey Japan… I’ll be back!


Then I left the California sunshine for a taste of the bitter New England winter weather! But it was a perfect visit with friends and family (and way too much turkey).


I easily surpassed 100,000 miles in the sky this year with the help of China trip #7.

I returned from China and two days later boarded a plan for my final trip of the year. This time for a vacation with Amber in Guatemala! I’ll do a separate post about our time spent in Guatemala, but I’ll share one piece of exciting news – On the top of Volcano Acatenango, in the freezing cold, howling wind and pouring rain, we got engaged!

Volcan Acatenango Proposal

What went well in 2013?

  • I racked up frequent flyer miles with 7 business trips to China and made it to 1 new country (Japan).
  • I gave several presentations about adventure motorcycle travel at exciting venues like the Overland Expo, Tahoe Adventure Moto and Horizons Unlimited.
  • I launched 2 new resources for motorcycle travelers¬†www.BorderHelper.com¬†and¬†www.RiderMix.com.
  • I increased my income and reduced my spending which helped me save a significant chunk of money.
  • I got engaged to the woman I love!

What did not go well in 2013?

Like last year, 2013 was a good year. But as always, there’s room for Kaizen.

  • Although I reached out to many of my old friends, I feel there’s still an opportunity to stay better connected and strengthen our relationships. On the same note, my family lives on the other side of the country and I didn’t spend as much time with them as I’d like.
  • While my back improved, it’s still very far from normal. I started running and cycling again but I’m still not strong enough to do other activities I really love, like basketball and freestyle mountain biking.
  • I didn’t devote any energy to languages. Sure, I learned a few phrases in Chinese to make people laugh, but I’d really like to become more proficient in Spanish and resume my previous studies in Russian.
  • I enjoy writing on the blog but it’s takes dedication and I rarely posted updates over the past year.

Looking Ahead

Though I didn‚Äôt set goals for 2013 (even though I said I would), I do have a few plans for the year to come. For one, I have a wedding to plan! There are also business opportunities that I’d like to explore. Of course, I wish I had more exotic travel, but I’ll probably stick to business trips in China while I rack up the frequent flyer miles. It’s been a good year and a good 3 decades. I’m looking forward to another good year and hopefully many more healthy and happy decades to come!

What about you? How was your 2013? Are you happier now than you were the same time last year? Have you made progress on your personal goals? What went well for you this year? What could have gone better?

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30 Years

My wonderful girlfriend collected 30 letters from 30 of my friends and family for my 30th birthday. Here is a compilation of the memories that made me laugh, cry, cringe and smile! (click the image to see the full infographic)

click on the picture to see the full story!

click on the picture to see the full story!

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The Americas According To Motorcycle Travelers

I put together this info graphic. It’s a fair representation of the Americas through the eyes of a motorcycle traveler.

The Americas According To Motorcycle Travelers

The Americas According To Motorcycle Travelers

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Weekend of Freedom World Tour

Some¬†Most days I daydream about riding the world. While it’s not always possible to get away, there’s still room for adventure. In order to celebrate our freedom on the Fourth of July. Amber and I packed up the bikes and headed north. Some might think of this trip as a relaxing ride through New England’s back roads. Instead, I like to think of it as a mini world tour…

First stop, the Wright Museum¬†which¬†exhibits artifacts illustrating the heroic efforts of ordinary people living during extraordinary times and is dedicated to celebrating Americans’ sacrifices and achievements during WWII.

Next stop, Whitehorse gear in North Conway so amber can pick up a kidney belt for back support.

The friendly folks at Whitehorse gave us a great road recommendation that took us up through Evan’s Notch in the White Mountain National Forest. Once in Maine we said hi to our buddy Paul Bunyan who was hanging out in Rumford.

The riding was mellow and fun.

Soon afterwards we crossed into Mexico. Wait, what? I’m so confused…

The plaque threw me off a bit. Shouldn’t it be in Spanish?

Sadly, there wasn’t even a Mexican restaurant in Mexico, Maine! Maybe that’s a business opportunity… ¬†After Mexico it was off to Peru. There is no downtown – just lots rural land. Does anyone know what an ATV bottle is???

So, are we on Peruvian soil or American soil?

Having had enough of Latin America we jumped across the pond and stopped by Rome for lunch. Rome was burning so we notified the volunteer fire department.

After our civic duties were done we went east, really far east, like to the far east. Welcome to China!

Unlike mexican restaurants in Mexico, we did see plenty of chinese restaurants in China. Oddly, China looked a lot like Rome, Peru, Mexico, and Maine… Oh well. We looped back around for a quick stop in our hometown of Manchester. Well not Manchester, NH but Manchester, ME. This one goes out to our buddy Pete¬†from Manchester, England. Last month he rode his motorcycle to every Manchester in the USA (there’s more than 30 of them). We had dinner and beers with him as he rolled through our Manchester.

With 300 miles logged we called it quits for the day and headed to Amber’s aunt’s place for some delicious homemade apple pie. mmmmmmmmm.

Awake and reenergized we set out the next morning to continue the adventure. We headed south to Lisbon, Portugal Maine. Unfortunately we were a week early for the Moxie Festival!

Lisbon was fun so we decided to see more of Europe. Next stop, Poland. I had to pee and just as I was about to take a leak by the building I caught myself. Fearing that if a local kid saw me peeing by an elementary school I would be charged as a sex offender, I decided to postpone my whiz until I could find a proper rest room facility.

We continued with the European theme and headed north to Norway.

Only a stones throw away from Norway, we found Paris. Imagine what a mini Eiffel Tower replica would do for tourism… Unfortunately, there¬†wasn’t¬†¬†much going on in Paris, Maine.

A few more miles (pun intended) down the road was Sweden. Judging by the few people we talked to, I’m willing to bet that most folks here do not know there’s a country called Sweden. The fire department had the only sign in town.

After Sweden we popped back down into mainland Europe for a quick stop in Denmark.

By that time we really started to enjoy Europe, so we shot over to see Amber’s other aunt who lives in Naples, Italy Maine. Together we celebrated our journey with a traditional Italian pizza served in an Irish pub…

The next morning I realized I had a freeloader trying to hitch a ride around the world. He wasn’t talking much…

We wrapped up our Weekend of Freedom World Tour with a brief stop in Limerick, Ireland Maine where they conveniently have a US Post Office.

Maine has several other worldly towns that were a bit out of our reach. We’ll leave Madrid, Moscow, Columbia (ya, they got the spelling wrong), Athens, Stockholm, Verona, Belfast, Lebanon, Vienna and Belgrade for another trip.

Editors note: We skipped all the English town names because just about every other town in New England is named after… Well… England…

As my friends at NEMO would say – Adventure Anywhere. Because memorable and meaningful adventures can happen anywhere from the backyard to Mt. Everest.

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