Today is my Birthday! I am 24.
Many people don’t like birthdays. I love them.
I see it as a chance to reflect on the past year’s accomplishments, challenges, lessons, and experiences while setting goals and aspirations for the coming year – much like New Years. With a late birthday, I get to hit two birds with one stone.
Let us look back on 2011 shall we?
After a year away from home and days full of exploring, new currencies, strange foods, and exotic places, 2011 started off more challenging then I expected – because – it wasn’t challenging. Everything was so familiar that it quickly got frustrating.
I had to figure out what I was going to do with my days. How was I going to make money? What was the next step for Backpack With Brock? My business? How do I follow up such an extraordinary 2010?
Although I worked a few odd jobs here are there, I decided to take the leap (with the support of some very important people in my life) and start my own business under the ‘Backpack With Brock’ brand.
As exciting, empowering and exhilarating as this was, I quickly learned that being your own boss not to mention a company of one, is a lot harder then it sounds. Not only did I have to stay motivated, but I had to call all the shots, set my own deadlines, and become a jack of all trades. I am the marketing, accounting, editorial, public relations, tech, promotions, and design departments all in one.
Not only was there a TON of stuff to learn in order to improve my website but it was up to me to stay focused as only I would hold myself accountable.
These challenges made it a long and often tiring year as I struggled to juggle all roles of my business while simultaneously figuring out what Backpack With Brock was providing in the first place.
A challenge to say the least.
‘The Achievements and Adventures’
Challenges aside, a whole lot happened in 2011.
The biggest of all would be that I made the decision to continue blogging professionally and expand Backpack With Brock to other projects.
I began doing public speaking in schools, for groups, clubs and well, whoever would listen. Topics ranged from sharing the story of my trip around the world, to geography, history, and character building.
My biggest leap was launching ‘Backpack With Brock Adventure Coaching’, where I coach people on how to travel the world. I couldn’t believe there was no service out there for someone considering an independent adventure, where they could really hash it out.. For people considering an extended journey, I take them through the process of putting it all together, ensuring they depart prepared and confident for their trip not to mention saving them such solid cash!
My first traveller came back all in one piece (YES!) and the second is only a few days from take off. My dream is coming true.
I also visited Boston too see fellow travel blogger and friend Ryan from Pause The Moment.
There were two trips to Montreal, I ran my first 10km run with the Underwear Affair in support of cancers below the belt awareness and my friend Ben Bravery . As the name suggests, I had to run in my underwear. I took a train across Canada, visited Banff and the beautiful Rocky Mountains, and best of all, enjoyed a full year of life in Toronto with my family and friends, old and new.
While I grew my friendships with fellow travel bloggers such as Ryan & As We Travel’s Nathan and Sofia, running a full time travel blog meant the start of numerous more friendships both online and offline with the likes of Chris & Tawny of Captain and Clark, Mike of Kick The Grind, Dave and Deb of The Planet D, Andrew of The Unframed World, David of Davids Been Here, Kelley of Tripfilms, Marcello of Wandering Trader, Ant & Elise of Positive World Travel, Cailin of Travel Yourself, Andi of My Beautiful Adventures, Adam of Travels Of Adam, Caanan & Kent of No Vacation Required, Cody & Giselle of Mindful Wanderlust, Jodi of Legal Nomads and a whole bunch more…
That’ a lot of love!
I sold my very first prints and handmade greeting cards. Random but significant.
I also filmed some commercials…more on that to come.
Though I missed travelling the globe, the frequent emails, letters and cards from around the world from the friends I made during my travels filled that void and made me feel so grateful.
Many people asked how I was going to top 2010, a year of 36 countries on 6 continents and once in a lifetime experiences.
The truth of the matter is, I couldn’t top it nor did I need to. 2011 was an adventure in a completely different way, full of so many twist and turns, lessons, leaps, accomplishments and perhaps an anxiety attack or two (or three).
If 2010 was the year of adventure and exploration,
and 2011 was the year of learning and taking risks,
then 2012 will be the year of kicking ass.
Not literally kicking ass, I’m totally ‘non-violence’ but rather figuretivly. 2012 & my 25th year will be the year of taking everything I’ve learned and studied and putting it into action – stepping things up a notch and striving for nothing but AWESOME!
- I have big goals for expanding this website, reaching a larger audience while continuing to bring you more funtastic videos, pictures and stories.
- I plan to become the guy you go to if you’re planning a trip. I want to encourage and support as many people as possible to make the leap and explore the world independently!
- I will visit more schools to speak to students about their goals and aspirations and help them learn about the miraculous world that awaits them outside their towns and cities.
- Some serious travelling is in the works for 2012…I’ve got the itch again.
- I’m going to write a book. The term ‘book’ is flexible. VERY flexible.
- I am excited to grow my current friendships and the new ones that await me.
- I am going to catching up on the buckets of content I have yet to publish from my adventures over the last two years.
- AND…I’m going to learn to speak Spanish. Yes, it’s time. No excuses.
If you’ve made it here, to end of this rather lengthy post, I want Thank You. I am truly grateful and humbled by the support and love I have been provided through the last two years.
Stepping outside the norm to travel and start my own company has certainly been scary and uncertain more times then I can count, but your continuous kind words and votes of confidence have carried me through to where I am today – ready for the next step.
I am nothing short of ecstatic for 2012 and the next set of adventures.
Buckle up. It’s going to be a wild year folks!
With Love & Thanks,
‘Backpack With Brock’