2014 Travel in Review

2014 Travel in Review

Oh what a year its been!

In 2013 I flew just over 100,000 miles. In 2014 it was over 140,000!  I found myself returning to the same places (not my intent) which is something I am working on for 2015.  Somehow I seemed to go everywhere two or three times this year.

  • Milan – Twice (though one of them I took the train to Venice, and the actual Milan trip I spent a day on Lake Como)
  • Hong Kong – Twice
  • Oahu – Three TIMES!  (though one time was in route to Kauai)

The repeating destinations were often the result of my desire to plan WAY ahead for travel.  The same places seemed to have good fares last years, but I think waiting would have found me more variety.

What is Your Favorite Destination?

Every place has its merit, but if I am being honest, Italy has stolen part of my heart as did and Tokyo two years ago and Paris…well perhaps a part of me has always belonged to Paris.  Insides the United States the victory goes to Hawaii…I find it harder and harder to leave each time I visit.  San Francisco is my domestic Paris…part of me is called to be there.

Branching Out

I am really working to get to more place I have never seen before.  So far I am booked to Australia, Morocco and Singapore.  I am headed back to Shanghai, but will be spending time in Hangzhou (Pamela’s Birthday Wish).  Bali and The Maldives are high on my list as is Amsterdam and Istanbul.  My birthday wish (both Pamela and I will be 40 this year…yikes) is to visit Machu Picchu.

Given those travels, I will hit one of my bucket list goals in 2015.  I will set foot on 6 continents in one calendar year!  I honestly have zero desire to go to Antarctica.

I Surprise Myself Sometimes

The thing I find most surprising is that I get it all in.  It takes focus and planning (things I do NOT excel at), but it also takes creativity and a bit of mania which I seem to have in constant supply!  Getting to a goal takes work, but anything is possible if you want it bad enough.  Travel is like food for my soul and I can’t imagine what I did without it.

DOCSIS 2.0 vs DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Speed Test

Moving to a Faster Cable Internet Plan

I recently upgraded my cable internet package with Mediacom to the Prime Plus package. After the upgrade my speedtest.net results were showing somewhere around 30-35 Mbps. The provisioning tech with Mediacom seems pleased with this, but suggested I should look into upgrading from my existing DOCSIS 2.0 RCA DCM425 modem to a new DOCSIS 3.0 modem. He said I should just go to my local office and request the newer modem.

Rather than continue to rent a modem from Mediacom, I purchased my own modem, a Motorola SB6141 to get rid of the modem rental fee on my account. The speed tests on the video are at roughly the same time, with only the modem swap separating them. Subsequent speed tests have revealed similar speed. If you are having trouble hitting over 35 Mbps on your DOCSIS 2.0 modem, you will want to discuss getting a DOCSIS 3.0 modem from your provider (or purchase one of our own).

Onscreen Text

My Internet was slower than advertised.
I decided to get a new cable modem.
Here is my test.
DOCSIS 2.0 vs DOCSIS 3.0
RCA DCM425 DOCSIS 2.0 Cable Modem
Motorola SB6141 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem

DOCSIS 2.0 Results
Download 34.02 Mbps
Upload 5.82 Mbps

DOCSIS 3.0 Results
Download 56.51 Mbps
Upload 6.10 Mbps

Major Change
Download Speed
22.49 Mbps Increase
Just from changing my Cable Modem.

2013 Travel in Review

2013 Travel in Review

An interesting thing occurred to me. Prior to this year I fed into the idea that travel was a rare event. That it somehow could only happen when all the stars aligned and you were gifted huge amounts of cash. When we went to Paris in 2011, I recall a good number of people reciting from the script of life,

Oh, that’s a ONCE in a lifetime trip!

I first found myself confused by this sentiment. Why will I only go to Paris ONCE in my lifetime? The more I heard it, the more I found this notion not making sense at all to me and, if I am being honest, the more it started to make me angry. In 2011 I flew 12576 miles and visited Paris, France…Austin with Pamela and Chicago on my own. One new country and only the second time I had been outside the United States (the previous was Jamaica).

I considered this more in 2012 as Pamela and I went to Hawaii, back to Austin and to NYC. I took my first solo trip to Washington D.C. as a personal exploration. In total I flew 16625 miles that year and visited no new countries.

My New Year’s Resolution for 2013 (I rarely make these) was to start using my Passport AND make American Airlines Executive Platinum Status. It seemed a crazy idea, but often the seeming insurmountable task can be achieved with only a little planning. I took this task one step at a time…I charted everything and I succeeded!

Above you can see my flights for this year (yes 2013 only). This will seem huge to some of my friends, while to others I have made in the frequent flyer community it will be normal or even a light travel year. In total I flew 110,624 miles and visited 6 new countries (8 if you count airports which I generally do not).

For so long, I was afraid and I let that fear paralyzed me. The world was a scary place. I don’t speak the language. Planes are uncomfortable. How will I respond to the time changes? What if something happens? I don’t know anyone. I will be alone. There are a million other excuses, none of them valid. My eyes have been opened to a world that exists outside my own shell. I would be a fool to say I have no feat, but it’s so much less so than a year ago.

My biggest challenge this year has been time. It’s time that will be the undoing of us all. Most of my trips are short, generally lasting 5 days (one day traveling, three days in the destination, and one day traveling home). I generally do these over minor U.S. holidays as I want to be home with Pamela and my family on the major ones. There is never enough TIME and I have come to appreciate how finite this is…how special.

It’s this, that implores me to press on with my journeys. There is so much to see and so little previous time to see it.

Useful Packing Tips

Packing tips on the internet are usually less than helpful. With the notable exception of the awesome travel philosophy site OneBag.com these tips generally consist of the same, boring, recycled tips from days gone by.

This video (by Holiday Inn Express) on the other hand makes a generally useful set of ideas I have never seen before, or at least has a new spin.

Tip of the hat to Gary

Virgin America Knows How to Make a Safety Video

It seems to me that if you keep running the same boring messages about flight safety at the begining of flights, people will tend to not pay attention (with the notable exception of my wife). If you, however, take the time to think about and creatively produce a Glee musical version of the flight safety video, well people watch it on t he internet!

Kudos to Virgin America for the fun video!

Tip of the Hat to OneMileAtATime

A Video With Some Meaning

We have been talking about books for next years book club and I recommended two. This first is perhaps the most important, Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist (the second The Name of the Wind). I cant imagine a better book about believing in your heart, about the importance of the journey, about taking your dream and finding joy in the pain and the triumph that comes from accepting and following what you want out of life. Along those same lines I would like to share with you one of my favorite web videos called A Story for Tomorrow. I get emotional every time I see it. Enjoy!

Star Wars Uncut

This Crowdsourcing Thing

It is a bit of constant amazement to me that these sorts of projects exist and seem to flourish on the internet. Below is a home-brewed version of Star Wars Episode IV : A New Hope, completely put together from different small film tribute style projects around the internet. Its a basically a bunch of 15 seconds clips that encompass the entire film. Just thought I would share…if you make it though let me know!