This past year was pretty great, tinged with a couple of tough spots, so overall it gets a thumbs up from me. I saw Mapbox grow quite a bit, I amped up a hobby, I bonded with family, I traveled my furthest cumulative distance ever, and much more. Here's the month-by-month.
The big highlight early in the year was getting to Missouri to visit my brother and his family in conjunction with my parents. My brother and his family don't have the ability to travel anywhere near as frequently as Michelle and I do, and my parents don't like to travel as much these days, so we hatched the idea to have post-holiday Millering in Missouri, meeting halfway. It was the first time that we'd had both parents, both brothers, both wives, and all the nieces and nephews together, ever. I'm hoping to make it a more frequent occurrence in the future.
The second highlight was finally showing some of my wildlife photos in public, something that I was able to keep doing in a number of venues throughout most of the year. It really made me step up my public presentation and even resulted in a few print sales. To take something from hobby to art was pretty special and I'm thankful to both my friends at Blue Kangaroo Coffee Roasters for giving me the first opportunity as well as all of my friends who came out for the opening.
February brought a fun trip to visit our good friend Nicole (who introduced Michelle and I) down in Nashville. It was our first time there and first time meeting her Ecuadorean husband Oscar in person. Much hot chicken was had.
I also started snowshoeing via a photography class which landed me a selection in a permanent exhibit by the Oregon Historical Society. I really enjoyed snowshoeing and although I only fit one more trip in last winter, as soon as the snow picks up here I'm hoping to get out this winter.
I made beer. With friends. Fifteen gallons of it. I highly recommend trying this sometime (both the making and the beer — I still have some!)
I spent some time talking to the public about urban wildlife on invitation by the Portland Parks Department.
After thirteen years, I finally bade farewell to my first own car, the trusty turbo Jetta, and replaced it with a new custom-ordered diesel Jetta Sportwagen. The old one was registered in five states, drove through twenty-two, and touched both oceans. The new one's starting out strong with five states traversed already.
And I took a day trip to San Francisco for some strategic meetings, a happy hour, and a memorable coffee in the sun with my friend and our CEO, Eric. I was a bit down on technology for a little while after looking back on almost fifteen years of spending days sitting in front of a computer, so we talked about the long game, potential, and lots of good stuff to come.
April kicked off with a bus trip up to Seattle for several days in an Airbnb jamming on great stuff with my coworker Dane.
Back in Portland only a couple days, Michelle and I left for vacation in a treehouse in Costa Rica (the impetus for the entire trip) over my thirty-sixth birthday, our first travel to Central or South America. It was mostly a wildlife-viewing trip, and my first "exotic" trip with good camera gear, so you can bet I took home some great photographs.
A couple days back from Costa Rica, I headed to Ottawa, Canada, an old fave that I hadn't visited since the 90s, on invitation to speak at NSNorth. This was my second time being invited to speak at a large conference (after SecondConf in 2011) and I was extremely honored to share some thoughts with the fine folks assembled there.
Straight from Ottawa I headed to DC to Mapbox HQ for a week of catching up with the team. In past years I've typically gone to DC five or six times a year, but going this late in the year set the tone for what was to be about half the normal amount of visits.
During the last week of April back in Portland, I ran my first long-form workshop on TileMill, which was both fun and a great learning experience. I'd do it again.
We kicked off our third summer of backyard movie events with a showing of Ratatouille.
I headed to Minneapolis (my first time) for only about twenty-four hours to speak at FOSS4G NA about mobile mapping technology.
Back from the Midwest, our good friends Gwen, Kareene, Nate, and Vinai spent Memorial Day weekend in Portland from NYC and we visited Mount Hood and made general merriment.
However, bad news came in the form of my dad, who's sixty-eight, developing penile cancer. I took about a week stretching into June to visit with him, my mom, and my brother in Virginia during his surgery and recovery. The good news is that he's finally kicked the smoking habit and the surgery seems to have been a success. I'm incredibly thankful that things worked out ok thanks to modern medicine and a little luck.
I didn't manage to score a WWDC ticket this year, but I was still able to catch up with friends and colleagues, watch the session videos, and eventually meet my new friends Vlad and Alex, who invited me to Russia to speak at a large mobile conference. I spent a good chunk of the summer and fall wondering if that would really come together.
Lastly, after a week at home including a wildlife tracking course up on Mount St. Helens, I spent another week in DC for an all-hands sprint week, which was a great chance to meet and catch up with the growing Mapbox team. Particular highlights there were a pig roast, a group bike ride into Maryland and down through Rock Creek Park, and a video interview about Mapbox as a startup.
After getting back home for the Fourth of July, I sat tight for most of the month. We got great seats and spent the day at the Waterfront Blues Festival, ending with one of my favorite performers, the legendary Robert Plant.
Later that week, we hosted my brother's middle kid, our nephew Zach, on his eleventh-year trip to Uncle Justin and Aunt Michelle's. We did this for his older sister Mykayla two years ago and we'll do it for the other three nieces and nephews when they're old enough, too.
Michelle took a huge step and left, possibly permanently, her career in Physical Therapy in order to figure out what's next. Part of that was spending almost three weeks back East with her family in Connecticut and Cape Cod. I joined her for the last week after attending her grandma's surprise ninety-fifth birthday party, spending the week in Cape Cod and working remotely, having put a toe in both oceans inside of a month.
We got back to Portland early in the month. Mid-month I spoke again at CocoaConf PDX, helped my friend Jean by photographing her AppCamp4Girls, headed to the state fair (Michelle's first time, finally), and closed out the month at the coast with our good friends Chris and Joanie (plus some others) celebrating Chris' birthday over Labor Day weekend with some camping and cooking.
Early in the month, we had a party celebrating my official Canadian citizenship, which I pursued based on my mom having been born there.
We celebrated our seventh anniversary with a nice dinner out. We hosted our last backyard movie of the season for our friend Torie as a fundraiser for her to head to Ecuador for medical service work. And I headed to XOXO here in town, meeting some new folks, catching up with old friends, showing people around Portland, and reflecting on creativity and personal passions.
Macy, our cat, turned thirteen, and continues to do excellently. She's been through a lot with me.
I put up my last photo show of the year, headed to Chicago for what ended up being the last SecondConf, and from there, we headed straight to Russia for a combination of a speaking engagement, sightseeing, and another birthday abroad.
Michelle turned thirty-four in Moscow, and on the next day I spoke in front of about 1,000 people about mobile maps. This was a big milestone for me as it was the largest audience to whom I've spoken to date, plus I didn't have a podium to hide behind and had to stroll the stage. Surprisingly, the speaking I've been doing the past few years seemed to prepare me well and things went incredibly and I was hardly nervous. It definitely was a surreal experience, though, having a make-up artist, a TV spot, and an introduction in Russian.
We spent close to two weeks sightseeing in Moscow and St. Petersburg, staying in Airbnb's in both places, as well as having some business meetings in both cities. We even saw the world's best ballet for Michelle's birthday in an epically memorable performance. It all made the arduous visa application process worthwhile. I'd go back in a heartbeat.
Ronny, our dog, turned four. I guess I'm a dog person now. He's pretty great.
We ended the month back in Portland with our second annual apple cider pressing at the house, bringing together friends to meet each other and bond around the outdoors, a little hard work, and delicious apple cider.
The other big news to hit in October was that Mapbox was taking $10M in funding in order to grow things to the next level. I've been working for startups my whole career, but I've never been involved with one that took funding, so it's been exciting to see us grow our magic and set our sights on a big future, as well as have lots of eyes on what we've been doing. I think the best is still yet to come.
I spoke early in the month at the Portland Cartography Symposium at PSU, which was a great chance to be humbled again by real cartography professionals and to meet some new people doing interesting work.
We spent several quiet weeks back at home before hitting the road and driving to Montana over Thanksgiving, where I worked remotely from a small cabin on a horse ranch for just under two weeks.
We were reminded what real winter was like as we gelled the diesel in the car overnight in the sub-zero temperatures, I photographed some wildlife around us, and we even headed to Yellowstone National Park for a great day of communing with bison, bald eagles, coyotes, and pronghorn. It was nice to actually spend some time there, even if it was winter, since we had to pass it by on our move to Oregon in 2008.
I finally started running after making a secret resolution in Russia to start getting some scheduled exercise into my routine. I don't really like it any more than I ever did, but at least now it's part of my schedule and I've just started treating it like something I have to do like eat or sleep.
After a week back in Portland, I again headed to DC for another great week of all-hands and our holiday party.
I came back straight into Michelle's folks visiting for the weekend and our annual holiday party, which was, as usual, a ton of fun, great food, visiting with friends, and making connections between the various good people that we know.
And I officially closed my old business, which didn't see any income in 2013 as I stopped developing software last year and had wound down the consulting services in 2011 when I joined Mapbox full time.
And that brings me to now, in the last few hours of 2013, looking back on a spectacular year. I'm truly lucky to have good health, my family, some great friends, fantastic opportunities for travel, and a tremendous team at work. So long, 2013.