Striped Fish

Is This Thing Still On?

*clears throat* Check one, two, three. Check. Check… Is this thing still on?

As I’m sure all of you noticed, my temporary hiatus turned into something more like a permanent hiatus. That was never my intention, but life happened and other responsibilities took precedence over this blog. For those of you that took the time to comment or message me while I was away, thank you. I really appreciated the encouragement, both positive and negative, to get back on the saddle.

That being said, before I get into this post, I wanted to make it clear that I’m not officially back to my regular posting schedule. This post is, instead, something of a (re)starting point for me to let you all know where I’ve been, what I’ve been doing, and what the future holds.

The Past

It’s been close to nine months since my last blog post. Crazy right? I didn’t think I had been gone that long, but time flies, it seems. Since that post, my life has been a whirlwind. To give you an idea of what I mean by that, here are some of the highlights.

Our House

As my previous post alluded to, Jenni and I bought our first home in 2015. With that purchase came freedom, a sense of accomplishment, and, unfortunately, yard work. Prior to this, we were living in a condo with shared walls, which got old, very quickly, but that made our purchase all the more exciting!

New House

This was our first day in our condo in 2013 and our first day in our new house in 2015.

With our new home came a new, very time consuming, very expensive, hobby: home automation. Home automation is the process of turning normal home objects, switches, and activities into smart devices. No longer do I have to find a remote to turn on my TV, I just have Alexa do it. Nor do I have to worry about lights or appliances being on when I leave the house, they’re smart enough to turn themselves off.

This hobby, fortunately, fits very nicely with my love for travel, because it gives me the ability to access my home at any time, from anywhere.

Our Travel

This year we traveled quite a bit. During the summer, we went to Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Italy, and Germany for our anniversary. We’re big Game of Thrones fans (the books and movies), so we thoroughly enjoyed Northern Ireland, where they shoot a significant portion of the series. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any of the cast, even though they were filming in Belfast at that time. We did, however, run into Ron Perlman and the cast of Hand of God on our flight from Berlin to London.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle – Which is apparently the queen’s favorite castle. Who knew?

Titantic Museum

The Titanic Museum is right in front of Titanic Studios, which is where they shoot Game of Thrones.

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.

giant's causeway

Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland

Ron Perlman London

Ron Perlman and the cast of Hand of God in the flesh!

As a side note, we flew Aer Lingus’ new business class, which was fantastic!

Aer Lingus Business Class

It’s nice to fly in a brand new seat!

In the fall, we went up to Niagara Falls and enjoyed some of what Canada had to offer… sort of. I say that because, Niagara is basically just a big tourist trap. Everything is over priced, “the strip” is full of gimmicky souvenirs nobody wants, and there’s not much to do other than look at the falls and gamble in the casino. Regardless, it’s still a nice city to visit at least once, especially with friends.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Finally, to wrap the year up, we traveled to New York to celebrate my brother’s wedding and head on one last vacation before 2015 was over. This vacation happened to be a 10 day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean (St. Thomas, San Juan, St. Maarten, and Tortola), which was a nice change of pace from our prior 2015 vacations.

My family loves cruises. Growing up, we went on one every year or two (which hasn’t really changed), but after a while, the Caribbean islands start running together. Once you go to one, you’ve been to them all, but what I really love about Caribbean cruises is the warmth, the relaxation, and the people. Seriously, it’s hard to find an all-inclusive vacation that compares to cruising. That is, as long as you don’t mind being on the ocean for days at a time.

Norwegian Gem

One of the many sunsets on board.

Norwegian Gem

On board the Norwegian Gem.

Snorkeling in St. Maarten

Snorkeling in St. Maarten

The Future

Unfortunately, manufactured spending is on the decline. Already in the first few weeks of 2016, we’ve lost numerous avenues of MS, yet despite that, multiple new travel hacking blogs have popped up. Is this blog unique enough to continue writing or am I just a voice in an ever growing crowd? That’s a rhetorical question I don’t really have an answer for.

So, what does the future hold for this blog, you ask? At this time, I really don’t know. I’m currently working on a few side gigs that could enhance this blog, but it’s still unclear if they’ll ever see the light of day or not. I’m also in the process of turning my reselling hobby into something more of a career by finding wholesalers and selling higher margin items, but that process takes time. I’m thinking about posting my progress on that journey, but we’ll see.

Do I want to continue writing new posts? Absolutely. I simply need to decide if I have anything worth writing about that hasn’t been regurgitated multiple times over and I need to find time. I have no idea how some bloggers post multiple times a day in addition to having a full-time job and/or a family. It’s honestly quite impressive.

The TL;DR to take away from this post is this: I’m not back to my normal posting schedule yet, but I have some ideas and side gigs I’m working on in hopes of posting more often…

…at least more often than every 9 months. 😉

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