The Last Four Years

So, I’m back. I stopped writing almost four years ago, and a lot has happened since then. Although in the past I did not share many personal details, I want that to change, and I want that to start now. While I used to loosely limit myself to two topics, technology and writing, I plan to broaden my focus considerably in the future. I will save my vision for this site for a later post, but today I will start down this new path with a brief rundown of the last forty-eight months.

Since I stopped writing, I have done and accomplished many things. Some of these I will write about here, some in later posts, and some not at all.

I wrote a book #

One of the first things I did after disappearing was write a book. When I stopped writing, I did so for a few reasons, but more than anything else I wanted to spend all my time on my book. For several months, I focused on nothing else: I stopped exercising, spent as little time on college as possible, and devoted all my energy to this project. My enthusiasm for it varied over the next two and a half years, but thirty months after I started, I finished the last round of revisions on a 50,000 word manuscript. I hope to someday dust it off and find a way to get it published.

I joined the Army #

I joined my university’s Army Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) program around the same time I stopped writing. In exchange for up to four year’s college tuition, a lump sum each semester for books, and a monthly stipend, students — now cadets — agree to commission into the Army as a Second Lieutenant, an officer, and serve at least four years. I signed on that dotted line in October of 2015.

As part of that curriculum, I traveled to Mongolia during the summer of 2015, went to Airborne School in 2016, and attended a month-long training event in Fort Knox, Kentucky, in 2017. After Fort Knox I opted for an extra month-long assignment, CTLT, that had me attached to a unit going to the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, CA. On the first day of my senior year, I was sitting in a humvee in the middle of the desert. The thermometer read 105 that day. I finished my rotation there just in time to fly home for the second week of school.

I got into weightlifting #

After a month in and out of the field at Fort Knox, and an NTC rotation on top of that, I got back to school tired and out of shape. My freshman year, when I ran two miles in 11:36, I had proved to myself that I could be a good runner. My sophomore and junior year, as I continued scoring well over 300 on the Army’s Physical Fitness Test even while I regularly maintained a sub-10-minute-mile pace with a 55lb rucksack on, I had proved to myself that — given proper motivation — I could excel at every physical challenge the conventional Army measured. I needed a new challenge, and so I got into weightlifting. I started working out twice a day, for over an hour each time, at least five days a week. Weightlifting became a passion of mine, and something I will undoubtedly write about in the future.

I bought my first car #

Halfway through my senior year, I bought my first car. Expedition Overland and Mountain State Overland turned me on to the Toyota 4Runner, and after a lot of research, I went down to my local dealership and picked up a 2018 TRD Off-Road. I will write about this entire process soon.

I turned my car into an adventure rig #

I had a lot of practical reasons to go with the 4Runner, like remarkable reliability and high resale value, but more than anything else I wanted an adventure rig. I wanted something that could take me anywhere, especially when that meant going off-road; something that I could live out of, whether that meant for a weekend at a park or a week in the middle of nowhere. The 4Runner fit that bill, for the most part, but it did need some modifications. I spent the rest of my senior year planning those out, and in the spring I got to work. I can’t wait to talk about this process, too.

I graduated college #

In May of 2018, I graduated from Youngstown State University with an undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Information Systems, and a minor in Mathematics.

I commissioned into the Cyber Corps #

The same day I graduated college, I commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the Army’s Cyber Corps. I had until July 18th to report to Fort Gordon in Georgia. My initial contract lasts four years.

I spent three weeks traveling the east coast #

Between graduating and moving to Georgia, my girlfriend and I spent three weeks traveling the east coast. Friday night we started a twelve hour GORUCK Tough challenge, drove home Saturday morning, and spent the afternoon sleeping; by Saturday evening we had left for North Carolina. Fifteen minutes into our adventure I hit a deer, destroyed the left side of my new 4Runner, and set our trip back a day, but we still managed to get to Ocean Isle, NC, by Sunday afternoon. After a week there we headed north to Virginia, DC, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and finally Maine. After five days in Acadia National Park we headed home. This was the first in what will become a series of grand adventures — something we will undoubtedly do again, on the east coast and elsewhere, and something I will definitely write about in time.

I moved to Georgia #

A few weeks after we got back to Ohio, we left again and moved to Georgia. I loaded my things into a U-Haul, hooked it to my car, and drove eleven hours to my new home in Augusta, Georgia, to start this new chapter in my life. I have lived here for over nine months now, and while I don’t see myself staying here forever, I do enjoy getting to spend a few months living on the other side of the country. Come May of next year I will likely get stationed in Maryland or Virginia, and so the adventure will continue.

I wrote this as much for you as for me, to make sense of the whirlwind that has been my life since I left. A lot has happened over the last four years, much of which I will write about soon. I may still choose to talk about technology and writing from time to time, but this list reflects my life on one side, and the new direction in which I plan to take this site on the other. It will be different, but as they say, change is good.