Jens Oliver Meiert

My Year in Activities, 2010

Post from December 30, 2010 (↻ March 30, 2017), filed under .

I wrote a short and sweet book about all these activities: 100 Things I Learned as an Everyday Adventurer!

31 activities, 0 vacation days. Mr Meiert’s guide on how to make good use of your time and make 1 year feel like 3. I traveled, too, but not enough to write about another year in cities.

  1. Flying helicopter. In February I took a discovery flight at Golden Gate Helicopters in Hayward. I got hooked. I sorted out all the TSA stuff to get permission to take flight lessons. I’m now, yet still, in ground training to hopefully get to my first solo flight in 2011.

  2. Sky diving. In March a friend and me went sky diving in Lodi. It was great. I can’t wait to do it again.

    Jens, sky diving.
  3. Seeing a psychic. Haha. I gave her a hard time (for which I paid).

  4. Driving motorcycle. In April and May I went through motorcycle safety training to then get my motorcycle license. I thought about buying an Enduro but didn’t get to that yet. To be continued in order to get quickly up to speed. Literally.

  5. Go-kart racing. It’s not been the first time that I went go-kart racing but in May and also October a couple of friends and me went go-kart racing again. You cannot beat a German on a race track unless you show him the black flag, which happened to me once and cost me a win. (Insert mischievous smile.)

  6. Shooting. In May I went through handgun safety training (and safety training is always recommended to take) and obtained my handgun safety certificate. With a little familiarity with shooting airguns that was a bit different, and fun, and it’s a great sport. Still going shooting every once in a while.

  7. Taking improv classes. In June and July I went through 18 hours of improv training. I thought improv was dull, and strange, and… not for me, but I could not have been more wrong. It’s so much fun, and I learned a lot beyond just becoming even more spontaneous.

  8. Kickboxing. In June I “officially” started kickboxing training; Muay Thai to be precise. With a friend recommending kickboxing over any other kind of martial arts that was my first choice (yet I had done Judo and Jiu-Jitsu before). I love kickboxing, and I’m delighted to having met a lot of great people and good fighters at my gym.

  9. Welding. In June I tried TIG welding. Well.

  10. Learning more about electronics. I am an electronics noob. I did not find a lot of good classes so I got an electronics kit for self-training which I still didn’t really try.

  11. Chocolate baking. In July I took a class on chocolate baking. I even learned on how to stir all the stuff while making sure that the temperature is alright (you don’t want to mess with chocolate temperature) and that nothing lands on the ground. The chocolates turned awesome. On a hot summer day, driving back home, everything melted to one big block. I threw the chocolates away.

    Tip. As I know that some people do this (I did, too): Never, ever, put chocolate into your fridge. It ruins it.

  12. Soldering. My curiosity led me to build up yet more skills, and in July, too, it led me to taking soldering lessons. Haha. Yes. I’ve done that before, it’s easy, but I still learned a few things, and be it how to (pretend to) be able to unsolder something I messed up.

  13. Sewing. I learned a bit of sewing, on machines. That stuff is just no fun unless you, I don’t know, get paid 200k to do it. (My respect to everyone whose day job’s about sewing.)

  14. Neighborhood emergency response training (NERT). Also in July I took two full days of training to become a disaster service worker for the city of San Francisco. Doing first aid training at least once every year that rounded off my skill set when it comes to helping, or getting a bit prepared to help, in case of accidents, emergencies, or disasters. More people should do this stuff, though, fingers crossed that we never need our training.

  15. Speed dating. Yes, I’ve tried that, too. It’s, interesting.

  16. Balloon ride. Whoever is with me has a good time (usually). I took an amazing friend to a balloon ride up in Napa valley, for which we had to leave the city I think around 4 am in the morning. We had a blast. Our balloon basket toppled when landing. According to the balloon pilot—something I’m now looking into, too—this only happens every 100 or so flights. Awesome.

    Figure: See homepage, I guess [or now Google+].

  17. Open water diving. In August, too, I went through open water diving training to get my PADI open water diver license. There’s a lot of important stuff to learn in advance, it was a bit scary, and then a lot of fun. I got my license. I have to go diving more often to eventually do more diving-related licenses. (Germans love licenses.)

  18. Playing golf. On a team off-site we went on a driving range. First time I ever “played” golf. Not completely sold to the idea of doing this regularly yet.

  19. Learning about motorboat regulations. Over a dry training session at home I obtained an I-don’t-know-whether-it-actually-matters motorboat safety education certificate from the California Department of Boating and Waterways.

  20. Learning about carbon fiber. In another TechShop course I got taught basics about carbon fiber. Yes, it’s that exciting.

  21. Rock climbing and bouldering. In September, a friend and colleague was so kind to take me rock climbing and bouldering. I asked to be let down after climbing up a beginner wall but then got rid of my… concerns to learn to appreciate the sport. Both rock climbing and bouldering have then been a lot of fun, and I have this vision of seeing me in a harness a bit more often going forward.

  22. Sailing. With some prep work to do, too, I obtained my keelboat license with the ASA. Oh gosh, so much fun. Currently waiting for the “winter” to pass I am looking into becoming a fleet member at my yachting club and obtaining both more experience and sailing licenses in 2011.

    Jens, sailing.
  23. Learning more about wood hand tools. Not quite the guy who you would call to do physical work I felt I’d need to learn more about tools, too. Over another course I think I tried at least 20 different tools just wood-related but still, well, I was keen on leaving sharp on time.

  24. Archery training. In October I learned more about archery and got hooked, too: bought a nice recurve plus carbon arrows and targets and everything else and am now, similar to sailing, waiting for a bit warmer weather to ramp up my archery skills. Needless to say, this sport is exciting.

  25. Salsa dancing. Having learned a bit of Flamenco in the more distant past I found it useful to polish my dancing skills. In October I finally got to entering Salsa lessons. Alas, obligations didn’t really permit me to take a lot of them so right now, I have to commit myself a bit more in order to become a more proficient Salsa dancer. In general, I can move but let’s face it, men aren’t typically known to move their physical apparatus in ways that are always smooth and appealing. Being able to dance is important. What dance you learn doesn’t actually matter that much is what I’d say.

  26. Bungee jumping. In what turned out to be an odyssey due to undisclosed reasons I did my first (bridge) jump. It had pretty much turned dark when I got to jump which made this an even nicer experience. Seeing a few people in front of you disappear when jumping backwards into what appears to be nothing is quite a thrill. More of this, please.

  27. Seeing an actual race. Noticing late that Laguna Seca is actually pretty close to San Francisco (much closer than racing it in Gran Turismo could ever compensate—Laguna Seca had been one of my favorite tracks back in the days) I invited two very good friends to the Global Tuner Grand Prix. Some great ideas came to our minds, like talking business.

  28. Horseback riding. When I was little a horse threw me off his back. As far I remember. I’ve never been riding since. Well, another story is, horses were never that interesting to me. In November I had to give it a spin however and found riding quite cool. I would have loved to swap my helmet for a hat, maybe a Stetson, plus a nice suit appropriate for riding.

  29. Indoor skiing and snowboarding. While I was living in Munich and Switzerland I perfectioned finding great excuses not to go skiing and snowboarding, and never went. Something changed in my head obviously so the least I could do until I get to Tahoe, the nearest winter sports region, this season was to just try how that stuff feels like, and be it indoors. My legs turned garbage within minutes but I might use the indoor trick to prepare for, yes, the season.

  30. Hunting. I went through hunter education training, very recently, and obtained both hunting certificate and a hunting license. It’s unlikely that I will turn into a hunter, curiosity and shooting for sports have been driving factors to go for this, too.

    Hunting class.
  31. Becoming certified in telling grizzly and black bears apart. There are good reasons—up to 50,000 monetary ones—why Montana likes to make sure hunters know the difference between grizzlies and black bears. Though I am unlikely to hunt, and don’t live in Montana either, I found out about the State of Montana’s Bear Identification Program, took the brief online course and got “certified.” May be totally useless but it required minimum effort to be able to tell the difference. I certainly couldn’t before.

I tried a few more things but many too trivial (like exotic things to eat or drink) or too embarrassing (manicure and pedicure, for instance, a service I have never paid for before and decided to continue to take care of myself) to share.

The point is this: Trying new things, especially when bearing results like being allowed to do something (like riding motorcycles, diving, or sailing), is great. It makes you grow. It doesn’t require taking days off. It doesn’t take time: It actually gives time.

For 2011, there are already about 40 things on my to-do list that I haven’t done either. Yet. I hope you do, too, or feel inspired to.

About the Author

Jens Oliver Meiert, photo of July 27, 2015.

Jens Oliver Meiert is a developer (O’Reilly, W3C, ex-Google) and philosopher. He experiments with art and adventure. Here on meiert.com he shares and generalizes and exaggerates some of his thoughts and experiences.

There’s more Jens in the archives and at Amazon. If you have any questions or concerns (or recommendations) about what he writes, leave a comment or a message.

Comments (Closed)

  1. On December 31, 2010, 0:37 CET, Neovov said:

    This is awesome.
    I want a year like yours.

    Cheers.

  2. On December 31, 2010, 6:56 CET, Robert said:

    As for the electronics and solder achievements, Jens, and given my background as a communications engineer by trade, I’d like to point your focus on one saying I found to be true since its first appearance:

    Good electronic engineers are bad at soldering.

    And vice versa. Truth.

  3. On January 2, 2011, 20:03 CET, Kate said:

    10. Learning more about electronics -> I want to do that too (even if im a girl lol), i’ve always been a noob, but i think i really would like it 😊

  4. On January 5, 2011, 10:52 CET, Dirk said:

    2010 has been a good one. Fine regards (3x) from Berlin and all the best to you for the next one!

  5. On January 17, 2011, 22:45 CET, Ben said:

    Incredible year! Didn’t get half of it done and even had vacation days!

    It’s a great blog by the way 😊

    Best from Germany!

  6. On February 4, 2011, 13:54 CET, Anke said:

    What a year you’ve had? Amazing to see the different things you’ve done. I’ll go for skydiving this year, hope I look as relaxed as you do!

  7. On March 17, 2011, 11:22 CET, Savin said:

    Now that’s a way of making one’s life worthwhile! Kinda inspiring. I’m truly impressed.

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