2023, Looking Forward

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Earlier this year, Kate published our 2022 looking back post on our travel focused blog. We reflected on our travels and what the past year was like. Now that we're coming in to the new year, I can't help but find myself setting my sights on the big themes of this year for me and my family.

In our travels, I always find that I want to stop, and slow down through the holidays. We spend a lot of time resting, and unapologetically working on projects, staying in the camper, and just in-general doing less. The past few years this has happened in Texas, and I affectionately refer to this time of year as second summer.

But, all things must come to an end, and I'm itching to get back on the road, and move forward with our plans for the year. Here are the key things that are weighing on my mind the most these days.

Get Land in Vermont

A key reason why we started traveling full-time was to search the country for places that we felt strongly that we wanted to live in. We've seen many places now, and have realized that there's a handful of places that could work, but we've decided that we're going to pursue a land purchase in Vermont. Owning land in-general is a big piece of our transition out of full-time RV Life and into the next phase of our life, which is to have a homestead of some sort.

View of Lake Champlain in Vermont

When we were parked in Taos, I found myself talking in podcast interviews about this idea of "sweat, not debt". Simply put, the idea is that we intend to use what we have to get what we want, but avoid going deep in debt in the process. Now, I don't know how fully we can realize that in Vermont compared to New Mexico, but I do know that we can utilize the camper to allow us to purchase our land, and then build a house later.

I'd love to be able to have a small house built by the end of the year, but that feels unlikely to happen. We're not talking a full blown house, here, just one of those tuff sheds, or something like that that we would convert into a "transitional home" to help us stay comfortable in the winter while in Vermont. For now, I'm just hoping to get the land, and get the utilities needed for me to use it with my camper, and see where that takes us.

Sunset My Web Agency

Over the last few years, I've ran a small agency that managed a handful of clients. This business was critical for me when I was getting started with programming. It gave me a (spotty) source of income, and helped me build my portfolio enough to find better paying jobs. For the longest time, I've had a strong entrepreneurial streak, and I used this business to not only build my portfolio, but also serve as a playground to learn how to outsource resources, create marketing/sales strategies, and many other things. I even did a few talks about what I learned. Over the last couple of years, however, I can't help but feel myself thinking "why do I still run this?"

Side note - here's an embarassing project I worked on in 2009, trying to recover after losing my job when I was a mechanical engineer. I was trying to hock Amway products and mixed that up for business ownership.

Honestly I never thought I'd want to have a traditional job again, but it turns out I just hadn't found the right job yet. The other week, I jokingly told my wife "turns out, I could be bought". In spite of that, I don't think I'm done with business ownership, or even freelancing, but DesignFrame has run its course for me.

I never really wanted to run an agency, and it's honestly not making me enough money to be worth the trouble anymore. I'd rather spend my time focusing on other more-important endeavors, like our land purchase, homestead, and RV life. I'm still going to maintain a very small number of clients who make it worth my while, but it won't be more than one or two at a time.

The process to shut the business down is mostly done already. I have notified my remaining clients that I'm done at the end of January, and I'm helping them find new homes if they need it (or I'm simply equipping them to do it themselves). Once that's done, it's just a matter of picking the blog content I want to keep, set up redirects, and kiss the website goodbye.

Build My New Site

I'm keenly interested in setting up the new version of my personal website. This version of my site is a suuuuper down and dirty express/react app that basically curates content from other sources using REST. It's been very effective for my needs, and has served as a fantastic experiment to validate that this kind of site would be sufficient for me.

In spite of that, the design is kinda crappy, being something I threw together over a weekend, and intentionally designed to focus on the content platform and ease of use. I know that if I spend a little more time on the design I can make it a lot nicer, and simultaneously keep it just as easy to maintain moving forward.

I've been inspired by the recent rise of the fediverse, and the push for publishing content with your site being the canonical source. That inspiration has caused me to begin working on a robust syncing framework, called Adiungo to make it possible to post content wherever I feel like posting it with the confidence that it will automatically synchronize back to my main site. I envision that in the future, my site will not only house my blog content, but literally everything I have ever published online. All search-able in a single location.

Plus, I really want to get support for comments on my site. I've been feeling the sting of not having that feature, and I miss it.

This requires that I get Adiungo built out enough to be usable, and also requires that I actually build the new version of the site. Can't wait until it's ready to go, but of course I'm only working on it in spare time so the going is pretty slow.

2023, Here I come. Please don't suck. kthanxbai