I feel as if this was year, of 2019, was most characterized by a lot of traveling but also more heavily punctuated by the following highlights.
Scuba diving in these locations:
Canary Islands, Spain – First time going to these islands.
Azores, Portugal – First time going to out to the islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Balearic Islands, Spain – First time to these islands despite the bad weather.
Madeira, Portugal – Diving on a Portuguese corvette!
South Korea – Jeju Island! First time scuba diving in Asia for the first time of my life!
Thailand – First time I ever went on a liveaboard and it was niceeeeeee!
I’ve been upclose with a Whale Shark before but this one circled around several times in Thailand. You have to appreciate these times because you might not get another moment like this again. That’s what other divers have told me.
Fishing in these locations:
United Kingdom – I went there several times but I still remember that 12 pound Rainbow Trout and 22 pound Pike!!!!!
Germany – First time I finally fished in this country – caught sea-run Brown Trout.
Azores, Portugal – I caught plenty of reef fish out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Czech Republic – First time fishing in a landlocked country! Big Carp! And Wels Catfish!
Madeira, Portugal – Red Snapper mania with a few bruisers in there to bend the fishing rod.
Spain – Zebra Trout! And catching tons of them!
Slovenia – Rainbow Trout and the awesome Marble Trout! And of course, the ultra rare Hybrid Marble/Brown Trout!
California, United States – After many years of catching my first halibut, I finally catch my second one. As well as my first Sturgeon of my life!
South Korea – Caught mostly reef fish and Mackerels but also caught a lot of Carp in a Fishing Cafe!
Japan – Fishing in Hokkaido for 3 days and I finally, finally land a Taimen!
Thailand – Mahi Mahi heaven and caught epic freshwater fish such as Mekong Catfish, Arapaima, Siamese Carp, Alligator Gar, and more!
I’m still trying to decide what was the most memorable fish of 2019 and it’s difficult to decide which one… I will take all of them! Ha. Maybe the 22 pound Pike might be the winner after trying for 2 years fly-fishing for them. But that Marble Trout and its half-brother, the Hybrid Marble/Brown Trout, were awesome as well after working so hard to catch something! The Taimen was a nice gift of a surprise as well. And then again, Thailand delivering an 80+ kg Arapaima and the biggest fish that I’ve ever caught in my life, a 120+ kg Mekong Catfish, are the fish that I’ll never, ever forget in my life!
Many a fish was caught this year including this mini-Pike in England where I later landed a 22 pound monster of a fish! You have to keep trying and going at it until success finally comes around. Never know, success might be drunk and stupid at that moment and time that you can easily grab it!
Hunting in these locations:
South Korea – Shot some pheasants in what was my first time hunting in Asia even though it wasn’t really hunting.
California – Open season on wild pigs!
I didn’t hunt much this year but I still got a 100+ pound pig. Decisions have to be made whether I fish, hunt, or scuba dive more…..
Sports games, particularly football, in these locations:
Koln Haie – My first German hockey game!
FC Barcelona – Went several times but the game that really comes out on my mind is my first Champions League game and when the team won the La Liga trophy in Camp Nou!
Chelsea – Big time London football club, one of the big three clubs (the other two being Tottenham and Arsenal).
SV Wehen Wiesbaden – Former third league Wiesbaden team got promoted to second league pushing FC Koln to the limits in the German Cup game.
Manchester United – First time going to Manchester and going to the famous Old Trafford stadium!
Union Berlin – I’ve seen their crosstown rivals, Hertha BSC, several times but this was a first for the other major Berlin team. This team later got promoted to first league for the first time in the club’s history where there was a major 2 day long celebration. Finally, the German capital will have a proper Berlin Derby that will actually mean something!
Eintracht Frankfurt – An improved Bundesliga team compared to past seasons to where the team was going deep in the Europa League.
VfB Stuttgart – Went to watch the visiting St. Pauli play and its hardcore fans.
Los Angeles Lakers – Two of the best basketball world’s players: Anthony Davis and LeBron James showcased their talents at the Staples Center
San Jose Sharks – Went to watch the visiting Edmonton Oilers and later the Washington Capitals, not the San Jose Chokers.
San Francisco 49ers – An NFL game in a very long time!
Messi lifts the 2018-19 La Liga trophy in Camp Nou, Barcelona after winning the league on points.
I’ve always stated that traveling is far better when the trips involve sporting activities because you go through far more emotions of anticipation as well as the full utilization of your own experience and technical abilities. I recommend doing this as it’s not only just a test of your skills in new environments, but you just never know what might happen. Other people have noticed that I’ve spoken with far more passion about certain locations even though they themselves have also gone to the same places as I have.
I can easily hone into this vibe of jealously from other people that I really, really enjoyed my time of being at all these places while picking the more technical, difficult experiences/activities while everyone else picked the default option of being a tourist drone. I can sense that they want to do the same things like I do but they don’t do it for whatever reason. It’s easily assumed that most people out there picked the well-traveled path so the rewards are not as great as putting in the sweat, pain, frustration, failure, and hard work being put in. But as I stated before, people don’t want to put in the required hard work so they will continue to have the minimal mental reward experience – it’s like watching sports athletes perform so well out in front of the fans but the hard practices, training sessions, time spent in the gym are never, ever shown.
Someone asked me why didn’t I go to a certain FC Barcelona game? They played amazingly well during that game and won! Well… I went fishing instead… sometimes you have to make those hard choices in life – to do this or that! That’s what traveling is all about!
With the completion of the year of 2019, I look forward to 2020 with open arms to see what other challenges and adventures are out there for me. Bring on 2020! Let me do more! There certainly more things to do and achieve so I’m looking forward to whatever might come to me. Just note that if you are traveling, decide for yourself what you really want to do especially with the year 2020 coming up. Do not compare yourself to me and instead pick what it is that you really want in life because when people say that comparison is the thief of joy… it really is. It’s up to you and only you to figure out what are your true goals are and how you decide to achieve them. In my travels, particularly involving physical activities where failure is a possibility, continuous adaptation is a requirement for succeeding in new environments and situations. In other words, survive, adapt, and grow! Just don’t become a Dodo and die off as an extinct species.
My first day was a horrid day in Slovenia for fishing as the fish weren’t biting but I kept trying and trying… I finally caught my Marble Trout! You should do the same in traveling – keep expanding and growing to adapt to become successful.