Quick Update (practically July 2016)

I haven’t disappeared.  Still working on writing out my experiences earlier this year — a sort of catch up.

That said, there have been some changes in my life — notably that:

  • After eight years of working at a national not-for-profit organization, I’ve moved on to a new job.  Don’t worry, still exploring life and data.
     
  • I no longer have the flexibility and the resources to tackle the remainder of the Bruce Trail at this time — so my friends are going to continue it with out me.  Part of me is saddened by this reality as I really wanted to finish it but there’s no way around this for now.  I hope to continue and finish it in the future.
     
  • With the change in resources and budget, I’m now directing more attention to exploring with the bicycle — I haven’t decided yet how to integrate that into this website yet so it currently sits on a separate website here.

Some upcoming stuff or longer-term goals:

  • I’ll be taking a few fun road trips locally and through the north-eastern US.  One of my goals is to do some hiking in Acadia National Park in August.  I know, it is tourist season but I had planned the trip when I was in my old job.
     
  • The cycling is tied to my goal of tackling the 500km Greenbelt Route here in Ontario next year.  Probably around the summer or autumn of 2017.
     
  • I really am enjoying cloudspotting so I’m probably going to delve further into that at some point but I’m not sure what to do as of yet.

Thanks again for visiting and stay tuned for more — feel free to reach out on Instagram where I’m probably the most active.

If you have questions for me, feel free to ask.

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draw.post.repeat

I’ve been meaning to do more sketching or drawing in addition to working away on Sidetracked & Wandering (a former iteration of this site) where I typically write about hiking and travel.

That’s why I’m happy to launch a shiny new initiative with my friend @serenadraws – inspired by the dear data project, but with a few twists to it.

The idea is to mail one another a postcard drawing or sketch of something on the mind or of something that has had an impact on us.  We alternate weeks.

Take a peek over @ draw.post.repeat

The “Hum” of Productivity

Interesting TED talk by Shonda Rhimes.  Not a new topic but rather a very poetic and eloquent way to express a writer’s need for a form of work/life balance.  The ability to focus on work or in order to produce the desired outcome – requires the addition of play.

Why is it that so many of us when we get older feel guilty when we spend time playing?  We think we have chores, books to read, things to learn, work to prepare for …

“You multiply your time by giving yourself the
emotional permission to spend time on things today that will give you
more time tomorrow.“ – Rory Vaden

Rory Vaden another TED Talk speaker, discussed multiplying your time.  A very different topic … I know. 

Perhaps not as different as we think?  The essence of play will help with focus and productivity.  Or rather, from Shonda’s perspective … it is fuel and energy.

Catching up with 2016

I haven’t disappeared.  In fact, here’s wishing you a belated Happy New Year!  I got home about two weeks ago and have been playing catch-up on all fronts of life — happy and sad.

Happy New Year from the roof of Africa! -- Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Happy New Year from the roof of Africa! — Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

It has been great to be back in Toronto — I was thrilled to experience feeling the cold and crisp winds again (after a month in hot and humid weather) and to eventually see some snowfall.  Seeing friends and family, and spending time with them after a month away is a peculiar feeling — I can only imagine how people feel after being away for years. 

There’s a lot that I will be posting and updating the site with over the next month or two — and I’ve got a couple of trips coming up too.  A hint for you here.

Hujambo Tanzania!

So over the next 3 to 4 weeks, I will be learning about and exploring parts of Tanzania.  I am so grateful to have the opportunity to visit Tanzania and hike Kilimanjaro.  It has been a goal of mine to hike Kilimanjaro and my friends and I had been training for it over the past year or two.  Am I ready?  Probably not but I don’t think anyone ever is on their first attempt!

No guarantees on any updates as I may not always have WiFi around but feel free to keep an eye on my Tumblr or Instagram.  You may get a glimpse of what’s happening during my travels!

I know I will be faced with challenges as well as situations where I will have to confront my internalized (and not always rational) fears but that is all a part the learning and exploration experience in travelling.  In essence this is a journey as with most of my travels — to learn more about myself.

Mount Kilimanjaro.jpg
Mount Kilimanjaro” by Muhammad Mahdi Karim (www.micro2macro.net) Facebook YoutubeOwn work. Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Commons.

The Hunt for more EveryTrail Alternatives Continues

About a year ago, I had written about the trouble EveryTrail users had been experiencing and was on the hunt for an alternative.

There were plenty of Wordpress alternatives, and TripTrack is beginning to come through as a solid EveryTrail replacement — but what if you don’t run Wordpress, want to pay $5 a month for TripTrack — or what if you want to do more with your GPS tracks or logs on your own terms?

About a year ago, I had written about the trouble EveryTrail users had been experiencing and was on the hunt for an alternative.

There were plenty of WordPress alternatives, and TripTrack is beginning to come through as a solid EveryTrail replacement — but what if you don’t run WordPress, want to pay $5 a month for TripTrack — or what if you want to do more with your GPS tracks or logs on your own terms?

Here’s what I’ve come across that may be helpful to you:

GPSFly

gpsfly.org website screenshot
gpsfly.org website screenshot

gpsfly.org is a pretty straight forward website that lets you upload your GPS tracks and share or embed them elsewhere — should you wish to do so.  As much as I enjoy TripTrack‘s user interface, I find the site a little power hungry which makes gpsfly more appealing for anyone who would like their embedded map to load faster or have their page be a little more lightweight for mobile users.

Unfortunately it seems gpsfly has been left on its own to some extent.  A little out of date and a slightly basic, the map seems to run into an error or two when one attempts to interact with the map.  It is free at the moment though!

GPS Visualizer

GPS Visualizer website screenshot
GPS Visualizer website screenshot

GPS Visualizer was another great find I came across while looking for alternative ways to make use of GPS tracks or logs.  The great thing about this web-based application is its capability to leverage GPS tracks and log files in many different ways — and then output a map or a file that will allow you to share this visualized data elsewhere.  Its strengths is also its weakness.  While GPS Visualizer allows you to create files or code elsewhere, there is no way to embed your newly-created map or data elsewhere.  Instead, you need to find a way to host the file first.

custom google maps with GPX file

An example of a custom google map I created with a GPX / KML file following UrbanHikr's instructions
An example of a custom google map I created with a GPX / KML file following UrbanHikr’s instructions

The UrbanHikr has developed some excellent detailed instructions on how to use your GPX log file (often found recorded in your handheld GPS devices) and upload the file to custom Google maps or Google Earth.  There isn’t an easy way that I’ve found to embed this custom map as of yet but I figure one can at least capture a screenshot of this in the meantime and post a link to the actual custom map for interactivity.

There’s the updated round-up for now.  If you have any additions you think I should add to this or if I’ve missed anything, feel free to chime in and share the knowledge 🙂