Wrapping up the Year in Happiness
Let’s forget the baggages of the past and make a new beginning. ~ Shehbaz Sharif
Well friends, another year is coming to an end and another year is beginning. The eternal cycle as time marches on. There is some benefit to looking back, briefly, to reflect on what has happened before, to take a small pause before moving forward to your next adventure.
Self Publishing My Book
This has been a big year in a lot of ways for me. In January I published my first book Appalachian Trail Happiness. The book has been pretty well received, I have over 20 reviews on Amazon and it has 4.5 stars. I’ve sold about 400 copies and did a three-day free download promotion and people downloaded the book over 800 times. So at this point that means over 1200 people have a copy in their hands and that’s pretty cool. I’ve also had a number of people who’ve been enthusiastic enough to share the book with friends.
Here’s a sample of what people are saying about the book on Amazon.
Most AT books I’ve read focus on the day-to-day drudgery and hardships inherent in the undertaking. This author focused more on the positives. His daily goals were find 3 things: what he learned that day, what was something beautiful he saw that day, and what made him happy that day. It was a refreshing and uplifting change. There was also good instruction on having the right attitude for a successful hike, accepting whatever happened and to not have it affect his thankfulness for the opportunity. Lastly, at age 50 he affirmed nothing is ever too late. It was only 110 pages. Wished it were longer. Very enjoyable.
I have to admit being back at work has been hard after being off for two years traveling and writing. Twice in my life I’ve been fortunate enough to put myself into a position to be leading the life I want to lead, if only for a short time. The first was the three months I spent just outside Bryce Canyon National Park staying a family cabin. Each day my routine was to get up, hike, eat, do some chores around the property, take a nap, eat dinner, photography the sunset and then after dinner sit down to write for a few hours before bed. I wrote my first book in that cabin it’s a deeply personal work and it sits in a drawer, maybe someday I’ll bring it back out and publish it.
The second time of course was my time on the Appalachian Trail, a simple and utterly magnificent time in my life. Having the freedom, for those 18 months to hike and travel and write was truly wonderful. Work, unfortunately doesn’t measure up to that.
Hiking to Havasu Falls
In need of some trail time, in need of another adventure, needing to test out the health and strength of my knee and wanting to check out a bucket list destination I decided to hike into the edge of the Grand Canyon to Havasu Falls on the Havasupai Native American Reservation. The logistics are a bit daunting, it took me 6 weeks of calling nearly every day to secure a reservation. A lesson learned, given I was hiking on weekdays in April, I probably could have waited and not started calling on the first day.
The falls were everything they had been described to be, the water was unbelievably blue. You hike through desert-like canyons, through the reservation then boom, the view above is what you walk into. The last couple of miles of the hike on the way out are a bit intense but it’s a fabulous hike and a wonderful way to spend a few days, the official page gives the details on getting reservations.
Without a doubt photography is one of my passions, as is nature. I try everyday to catch the sunset and I’m lucky, as my brother said once, that I live “in the perfect place for a sunset junky.” The sunsets here in the Mojave Desert are really spectacular and I photograph them as often as possible, here’s a couple.
The Antelope Valley Poppy Fields
One of the beautiful things about living in the Mojave Desert, is that when you get a year of high rain like we have this year, you get super blooms. In addition to some magnificent roadside shots this spring.
I was also able to spend a day photographing the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, a truly magnificent and beautiful place.
Officiating Steve and Carolyn’s Wedding
One of the absolute highlights of the year was having the honor of officiating the wedding of two really wonderful people, my friends Steve and Carolyn.
I made my return to Burning Man this year, it’s been three years since I’d been back and I was exciting to be back with Camp Oh No You Didn’t. It will likely be my last Burning Man for some time. I love the event, love the people, the conversations but frankly the logistics of getting in and out of the event have become a hassle with the huge number of people. Even being experienced and knowing how to limit the hassle it’s still more than I want to deal with. I’ve done Burning Man 8 times since 2004, the event is still magnificent, it is still a photographers dream location but I’ll be taking a break from it for a time.
This year at Burning Man was as wonderful as the other years. I met a couple of utterly magnificent humans, had some great conversations, something I seem to find increasingly rare in my life. My campmates were magnificent, my time volunteering at Arctica was the blast it always has been.
Doing my first conference keynote address
Part of my goals moving forward is to increase my income related to speaking and writing. In October I was fortunate enough to have been invited to do one of the keynote addresses at the California Business Educators Association Conference in Anaheim. They were very welcoming and the talk went very well, another piece of progress on the grand plan.
In October my siblings and I pulled off a surprise party for my mother’s 75th birthday. It was great and we completely surprised her, in fact I called her from my cell from inside the house. She was giving me a hard time about not flying in for the party when I tapped her on the shoulder. The look on her face was good enough to be my birthday present.
The next adventure
The plan had been to work until the spring of 2019 and then set out on my next adventure, 7 hikes on 7 continents. Recently, that plan has changed, I’ve decided to move up the timeline to June 30, 2018. Another opportunity has come up that may allow me to do some paid travel in addition to the larger adventure. Never fear my friends, I’ll be running a crowd source campaign related to the adventure to give those who would like to donate some special access to the adventures, and of course I’ll be writing about the trips here as well and hopefully publishing another book.
Hopefully before I hit the road again I’ll be getting out a book of poetry entitled Otherness, I’ve started a Facebook page in anticipation and as a place to post poetry, mine and others.
I look forward to the next year, I’m hoping it’s going to be a really magnificent one and I hope it will be filled with happy days for you my friends and you can make that happen. ~ Rev Kane