Wondering Wanderer

Week Notes Vol 87

December 31, 2020

Last week of a year that I did not see coming. I’ve been thinking of lessons learned from 2020 and there are quite a few of them:

  1. Be flexible. I had to cancel all of my travel plans including Dolomites, trip to Hawaii that already got cancelled once, missing visiting Estonia this year.
  2. Have patience. Everyone is dealing with something this year.
  3. Be kind. Both to yourself and others who are struggling to make sense of this new world we live in.
  4. Celebrate victories. I paid off the last of my school loans in April and it has been liberating.
  5. Be grateful for what you have. Being stuck inside made me want to climb the walls but it was much better than having to go to the office or other workplace.
  6. Push your limits. I celebrated my birthday by walking all 30 miles of Wildwood trail in Forest Park. It was epic, it hurt but I’d do it again. My toenail is still recovering 6 months later.
  7. Find fun in little things. My parther really got into making waffles out of anything for a while. Even my birthday cake in 2020 was made of waffles;)
  8. Have consistency. I was using Duolingo to learn Italian for my upcoming trip but then stopped. I decided to refresh my German skills instead and am 140+ days into it now. I also tried to accomplish 52 hikes but was only able to get 43 due to the lockdown and wildfires.
  9. Establish healthy routines. My best new thing for 2020 was setting a sleeptime alarm to remind myself to get ready for bed. I’m still allowed to read but it is considered wind down time.
  10. Figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. 2020 is probably not the year most people would change jobs but that’s exactly what I did since it really was no longer working for me. I interviewed at numerous companies but finally settled on one that felt right. Should I have joined Slack to cash in on the boom in the second half of 2020? Perhaps - but making money wasn’t my number one motivator. I also handed over the keys to Car Talk web presence since it wasn’t something I was interested in maintaining any more.
  11. Books never go out of fashion. I had made an ambitious plan of reading 42 books in 2020, I finished twice as many (84).
  12. I don’t mind my own company, in fact I need it. I’ve gone on more solo hikes this year than usual and have very much enjoyed them.
  13. Having your Corona buddies is important. When I hiked with other people it was usually the same group - people who were cautious and considerate as well.
  14. Discover your neighbourhood. Due to lockdown and trail closures I had to look for adventures literally in my own backyard or hours away. I have walked miles of trails I would have never attempted before because getting there meant hours of forest service roads.
  15. Laugh at inconveniences. We got stuck in what can be described as mosquito mob on one of the hikes and ended up wearing rain hear during a relatively warm day - hiker fashion statement surpreme. Then there was an epic wind storm on top of a mountain that tested everyone’s limits but the coffee tasted so much better in the morning!
  16. Support what you believe in. 2020 was a year of not only COVID-19 but also shooting of Breonna Taylor and others, BLM protests, wildfires and Biden/Harris campaign.
  17. Vote. It’s the one right you have that can change this country on a local, state and federal level.
  18. Make things with your hands. I made masks for my household and for friends, finally sewed a dress I had bought a pattern for years ago and knit countless sweaters and hats. I never got into making sourdough though.
  19. Despite everything, dream of the future. I had made plans to purchase a condo in early 2020 but it did not happen. Instead it’s in the books for 2021!
  20. Make plans for when they are possible again. I now have a travel list when we can travel safely again.
  21. Stay home!. Even though some travelling might seem safe, stay home! Mexico and Hawaii can wait a bit longer.
  22. Use the time you have available wisely. All of the things you never had time for because you were too busy? Do them now! Some of my friends have finished epic household remodels this year because they had the time and were stuck at home anyway. Same goes for cooking - it is so much easier to check in on an oven or crockpot if you are home all day.
  23. Limit your screen time. It’s so easy to go down the Netflix/Hulu/Amazon rabbit hole but staring at the screen does not make you happier.
  24. Find ways to connect with your friends and family. Everyone’s pretty worn out of Zoom by this time but I have honestly talked to my friends more than usual because of it. I’m hoping that even after Covid we’ll keep our weekly/bi-weekly check in times.
  25. Educate yourself about social and societal issues. BLM didn’t just happen in 2020, things have been brewing for a long time.
  26. Keep learning. Learning comes in many forms from reading books, listening to podcasts, enrolling in online classes and tutorials. In 2020 I learned more than I ever imagined about privacy laws, Tealium and marketing analytics, data science and R, operations research and modelling to name a few.
  27. Take notes. 2020 will pass and you will forget many months about it. What will you remember about it in 2030?
  28. Prepare for the worst. Should the worst case happen, are you and your loved ones ready? Do you have a (living) will?
  29. Help others however you can. If you are fortunate to have survived 2020 mostly unscathed, help those who did not.
  30. Focus on the positive. Yes, 2020 sucked. However there were still random moments of joy and happiness. Remember those bright spots.
  31. Find a fitness routine that works for you. I really tried and failed to enjoy solo yoga. I found satisfaction in solitude walks instead.
  32. Eat food, mostly plants. As delicious as all the pastries, sourdough and takeout noodles are they are just mostly carbs.
  33. Give yourself space to fail. Everyone will try something new at some point and we can’t be all masters of something new immediately or even ever.
  34. Prioritize what truly matters. When everything is a priority, nothing is priority. If it is a priority then it should be trackable.
  35. Keep growing.

2020 career accomplishments:

  • Launced CCPA for AAA Northern California supporting both the main business and related ventures.
  • Implemented Tealium AudienceStream and EventStream to kick off visitor stitching technology for marketing goals and user journeys.
  • Transitioned marketing platform from using Adobe to Google products including re-building reports in Google DataStudio.
  • Trained a team of engineers in Tealium stack and GDS.
  • Switched gears and joined Streem as Engineering Manager of the web team.

Goals for 2021:

  • Make, mend, make do. Try to minimize the amount of stuff.
  • Learn a new craft
  • Learn a new tech stack
  • Get back on pattern writing bandwagon
  • Finish 52 hikes


Katrin Valdre

Written by Katrin Valdre who has a permanent address in Portland, OR but does not believe in one physical location. You should follow her on Twitter