We are thankful for all the amazing guests we’ve had on the podcast this year–which is about to reach episode 200. Most of all we’re grateful to all of our wonderful listeners, customers and sponsors.
Christmas is the best time to take stock of what happened throughout the year. I’ve posted a portion of our family Christmas letter below to give you a look at the craziness of our lives.
A Look Back at Our Year . . .
Between January and May, Angie ran marathons like a wild woman completing 26.2 in Florida, New Jersey, Arizona, North Carolina, and North Dakota. She’s still chipping away at her 50 state marathon goal, only 13 states left! Languishing in the shadow of Angie’s awesomeness, I managed to run one marathon . . . the New Orleans Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon (because I was looking for a good excuse to visit New Orleans).
One week later we set sail on a Caribbean cruise. I love going ashore in a country I’ve never visited. From the top of a Mayan temple in Belize I was reminded of what makes me feel most alive: exploring new places, a continued sense of freedom, continual learning, and pursuing an unconventional life.
This is what motivated my biggest adventure in 2016 . . .
Epic Summer Conquest
This summer we fulfilled a dream of mine—to take a 2 month camping trip across the American West. It required the five of us to domicile in a 25 foot travel trailer for 60 days. This was never a dream of Angie’s but she graciously went along with it saying,
“I’m hoping this will get it out of his system”.
The goal of this trip was to see family, visit beautiful places and make amazing memories for our kids. We journeyed across surreal desert landscapes in New Mexico and Arizona where the heat made me doubt the wisdom of the epic ‘SUMMER’ conquest. Our first major stop was the Grand Canyon, which is basically this big hole in the ground that everybody should go see. Angie and I would love to return and run rim-to-rim.
After many miles and bathroom breaks we ended up in Anaheim, California. My main goal was to take the kids to Disneyland. They loved it. The last time I saw Disneyland was in 1986 (now I feel kinda old) and it’s amazing how many rides look exactly the same . . . cryogenically frozen in time.
We then headed up to the mountains where Angie ran a 50k trail marathon near Yosemite National Park. The next day we tested her legs by hiking the Mist Trail to the top of Vernal Falls. Our next big stop was Modesto, California, where I grew up. Then we meandered up the California and Oregon coastlines on Highway 101–which is something I’ve always wanted to do. The benefit of pulling a camper is the ability to take it slow, stay cheap, and always have a bathroom and kitchen with small appliances like instant pots handy.
During our 2 months on the road we managed to keep up with our podcasting schedule, interviews, customer support, coaching, etc., even though internet was spotty in just about every RV Park. We also had the challenge of keeping the boys entertained while we worked. Keep in mind we were all stuffed into a camper with no private rooms (except the bathroom). Thankfully Riley and Gavin have developed into avid readers so they were occupied as long as we could keep the stream of new books flowing. Thank you Amazon Prime!
We meandered back home via Big Sky country, Yellowstone Park, Mt. Rushmore, Deadwood and The Badlands. Angie ran another marathon in Montana (I ran a half) which you may have heard us talk about. It was hard to see the summer adventures finally come to an end but one benefit was getting back to the comforts of a house and a more stable routine.
In September Angie and I travelled to Germany to run the Berlin Marathon. This was another dream come true. I wanted to see as much as possible in 10 days so we rented a car and drove across the country to Bonn, Germany, where we stayed with a friend who’s been a long-time listener of the podcast. Together we hiked to a beautiful 12th century castle named Berg Eltz. There are 20,000 castles in Germany (just Google it) and I’d love to see them all!
Other highlights included an epic MTA meet-up at the Brandenburg Gate, lining up in our starting corrals with 40,000 runners, taking a in-depth walking tour of Berlin, and watching Angie cringe when I tried to converse in German. Mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut (My German is not so good).
The Berlin Marathon was absolutely top-notch! Stop what you are doing and put it on your bucket list! If you need some tips on where to stay just drop me a line.
Thankful for the Craziness
Over Thanksgiving break we planned to travel to Jacksonville, Florida, to see a friend of Angie’s. This would be the final hurrah with our camper. The trip was beset by delays and bad traffic so we ended up eating at Waffle House on Thanksgiving day. Angie will never let me live it down!
We stayed 3 nights in Orlando and I took to the boys to Disney World (thank you Mark W. for the park passes!). This was my first visit to Disney World, I’d love to go back and do the Goofy Challenge. I didn’t plan on doing so much travel this year, it’s just how things went down. I actually feel reluctant to share it all because it sounds so crazy.
We touched down in 38 states and 5 countries, stood on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, peered into the Grand Canyon, trekked into 4 national parks, flung ourselves off sand dunes, snorkeled in the clear waters of Roatan, Honduras, descended Lombard Street, crashed at my parent’s house, ran down mountains in Montana, drove the Autobahn, took a selfie at the Berlin Wall, ate raw fish in Oslo, heard Mumford and Sons in concert, went crabbing in the Puget Sound, and toured the campus of Google.
We saw where Hitler killed himself (not at the campus of Google), the door where Luther nailed the Theses, the house where Elvis was born, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Smoky Mountains and glass beaches. We saw the inside of many Mexican restaurants! We saw a Texas man try to eat a 72 ounce steak in one hour.
We rode a boat through a Louisiana swamp. We rode a boat through a fake jungle in Disneyland. We sat in too many Starbucks. We sat in the oldest saloon in Montana. But best of all, we spent lots of time together and connected with many friends and family.
The MTA podcast surpassed 4.6 million downloads and we had some amazing guests this year including two elite marathoners who competed in the Rio Olympics. Most of all we’re grateful to all of our wonderful listeners and members who inspire us everyday to be our best selves. You guys rock!
Here’s to a great 2017!