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2023 Year End Review – Heath & Alyssa


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In what has become a tradition, I am sharing my year-end review (a week late albeit). For a decade Alyssa and I have sat down at the end of a year to recap the highs and lows. 

As a practice, it gives me a ton of gratitude. It’s easy to forget about all of the good things that happen in a given year.

We have a focus on the bad, but there’s almost always more good than bad.

I also love to read other people’s year-end reviews. If you have a year review to share I’d love to read it in the comments!

So, without further ado. Here’s my 2023 Year in Review.

Things That Went Well in 2023

Visiting Japan

Japan sat at the top of our bucket list for years. This year we finally pulled the trigger. TBH, the price of the plane tickets stung a bit. Let’s just say it came down to traveling to Japan or building a new deck on the back of our house (and the back of our house is still deckless). 

I’m not mad though. We made memories. We camped next to Mount Fuji. We sang karaoke in Tokyo. We tried foods we’d never had before and met some wonderful people.

Also, we camped in a 16ft RV for two weeks with our two young kids and lived to tell the tale (Survivor has nothing on us).

So yes, traveling to Japan was a win (the video above is one of several from our trip).

Our Acquisition of RV Inspiration

We had no idea what we were in for when we bought our first website last December. All we knew was that we needed to start recouping our cash flow after selling all our businesses.

As it turns out, buying a business is much easier than starting one. (Severe understatement.)

Despite not working on the business for several months at a time while traveling, we grew revenue by 65% this year and will have the business paid off in Q1 or Q2 of next year. So that is cool.

All credit goes to Alyssa and our team of awesome writers and editors. This will continue to be Alyssa’s focus in 2023 as she’s loved working on it and learning tricks to make it thrive. 

Maybe we will buy another business or two in 2024…

You can read some of our business updates below:

Roadtripping across UK

This summer we took my parents to Wales and England. Before this trip they’d never really left the US. We booked an RV for them and spent an incredible two weeks road-tripping around the UK countryside.

One highlight from the trip was visiting the town of Wrexham in Wales. I’m a big Welcome to Wrexham fan and getting to see the Racecourse and buy a jersey was awesome. It was a trip I will always cherish. (We ate SO much pub food!).

Signed up for Boundless Life Program (3 months of “world schooling” in Portugal)

This fall we spent 3 months in Portugal enrolled in a program called Boundless Life. This is a startup company focused on creating world schooling opportunities for families. They provide a Montessori-style school, coworking space, and accommodations in a handful of cities around the world.

We signed up as an experiment. We’ve always loved the idea of spending an extended period in Europe. However, with kids, it adds a touch of logistics. With Boundless, we felt that it could be a more sustainable way to travel. The kids could make friends in a school setting and we’d have some time to work ourselves. Plus, we’d be in a new place to explore for three months.

The view of our daily walk to school

Overall, it was a positive experience. I feel I could write a massive amount about the highs and lows of our experience with Boundless. At the end of the day, the kids thrived and we met a lot of amazing people who I believe we’ll have a continued relationship with. It’s something we’d try again in the future if our visa restrictions/travel plans allow us.

Plus, I got to try out surfing for the first time and discovered a new sport (Padel!) that I loved.

What Didn’t Go Well in 2023

Youtube

This year we released more than 50 YouTube videos from our RV trips around the world (New Zealand, Japan, UK). It was never intended to be a business or a way to make a lot of money, but we’d hoped to see more interest than we did.

As we sat down to reflect on the year, both Alyssa and I realized that YouTube wasn’t a fit for us moving forward. (Something we actually realized in August, but we had commitments and a set runway to devote a full year to Youtube.)

While it was due in part to not getting a lot of traction in viewership, we also just didn’t love the act of filming our travels. Hauling camera gear along with hauling two kids just added a bunch of stress to our travels. The idea of being able to explore new places without filming sounded nice to us. (Can’t emphasize enough that the camera gear weighed more than carrying one of our kids. And Eli is HUGE.)

We committed to a year of making videos and I’m proud that we completed that goal. At the end of the day, we still had quite a few people tune in to our videos (if you were one of them, thank you!). Plus, we have some amazing family travel videos I will always cherish.

But for now, the new memories will go into my iPhone folder and not be uploaded to Youtube :).

Lack of Movement on Our Blog (aka this website)

We published a handful of new articles on HeathandAlyssa.com, but overall we didn’t do much with our site. It’s not like things went poorly with this site, but I don’t like having things just be stagnant. Motion is good.

One problem we’ve had with Heath and Alyssa is struggling to figure out the direction of what we want this website to be about. For a long time, it reflected our journeys in business, life, and travel.

This is fine, but our lives have taken some twists and turns. As it turns out, it’s hard to keep up with a personal blog when you don’t know what you are doing with your life.

One day we’re documenting a campground build. The next we’re traveling with kids. Next, we’re buying a blog on renovating RVs.

These pivots can make it hard to stay consistent on a blog topic.

So, moving forward, we’ve decided to dedicate HeathandAlyssa.com to just ONE of the MANY interests we have.

Looking ahead, HeathandAlyssa.com will be a resource for people planning RV trips around the world.

We’ll be publishing more articles like:

Of all the topics we’ve covered, we feel like helping people make memories through road trips is something we won’t tire of. Plus, we’ve realized through RV Inspiration the power of focusing on a single topic.

If you’ve enjoyed articles like these or want to travel to some of the places we write about, we’d love to have you stick around.

If you’re more interested in our personal journey, we’ll still be sending those types of updates to our email list (just not publishing them on this website).

Looking Ahead to 2024

We are still figuring out what we want our 2024 to look like, but we do have some plans looking forward. Here are a few personal and business aims that we have.

Continue traveling as a family.

This summer we’re planning another trip to Europe. A few months ago I was having breakfast with some friends when they casually mentioned they had extra tickets to see Taylor Swift in Vienna.

Without hesitation, I offered to buy them (without talking to Alyssa). As a big Swiftie, Alyssa was bummed she didn’t get to go see her in the US. When I told her I found us four tickets to Vienna, she was ecstatic.

When I told my friend I’d buy the tickets he asked, “Are you planning to be in Austria next summer?”

“I am now,” I replied.

We’ve 100% gone to countries for less of a reason than to see Taylor Swift.

All this to say, we invited a couple of our closest friends and are going to make a big trip out of it. Before and after we haven’t booked anything but are tentatively considering UK in the summer and Spain in the fall.

Ellie and Eli still aren’t school-age yet, so while we have a window to be more mobile we’re going to soak it up.

I’m riding the Tuscany Trail (again)

In 2022 I rode a bike across Italy with a group of friends. I loved it. It not only was a physical challenge, but an incredible way to explore rural Tuscany. I biked through castle towns (even one night slept in castle ruins), ate the best food of my life, and met some incredible people.

We biked over 300 miles and also the equivalent in elevation gain of Mount Everest. Last time we did it in 6 days and with a support van and my goal this year is to do it unsupported and in 4 days (70 miles per day). PS If you feel like joining me, there are still a few spots left but they are almost full!

Below is a video our friends Kara & Nate did from our time on the trail.

Writing my first (real) book.

On my to-do list every year since I can remember is to write a book.

One concept that I’ve thought the most about for years has been the idea of runway (specifically, emotional runway). I’ve even given a couple of talks on runway at startup events. People seem to latch on to the idea.

If you’ve ever listened to the RVE podcast or read other articles on this site, you’ve probably heard me talk about this concept.

The idea of an emotional runway is something that helped a ton while building Campground Booking. I hit burnout hard and wanted to quit a bunch of times. Figuring out how to stay in the game long enough and enjoy the process by extending my runway was huge in eventually seeing an acquisition through.

I’m early in the writing process but my goal is to publish a book this fall (saying this out loud for accountability). I hope to help other people who are working to tackle big projects or startups themselves.

Your 2024 Goals & Projects

If you made it this far in the post, I’d love to hear what you have in the works for this year. What are you most excited about? What are you building or working on? Where are you traveling? Can’t wait to hear from you.



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