If I can choose a word to describe 2018 (and I obviously can because this is my blog) that word would be surprising.
Here a few surprises from the past 12 months!

Engagement

I got engaged.

I thought that engagement was something related to social media interactions, and that a proposal was a fancy way to give a price.

I never saw myself like a romantic person or someone that follows traditions.

I never cared about marriage, about having a family, let alone about buying a ring.

I thought they were things from the past, traditions that don’t belong to me – a modern “man of the world” that lives in the progressive Netherlands and travels the world.

Indeed I wasn’t ready. Indeed I haven’t found the right person. Indeed I fooled myself.

But since I met Hanny, everything seems so natural and spontaneous. Our relation is like nothing I experienced before.

Official fake engagement picture

I desire what I never desired, and I accept what I never accepted.

In 2018 I felt the urge to buy a ring.
I searched for fair-trade jewelry, avoiding raw materials coming from exploited lands – maybe Indonesia that in the island of Papua has the biggest mining operation in the world:

I visited ateliers and I tried to learn more about rings and diamonds.
I forged a ring that could fit well her small hand, I took it to Bali and one evening right after a spectacular sunset I asked her to marry me.

Podcasting

The second surprise from 2018 was podcasting.
I’ve been listening podcasts for years now but I never had any intention to start one myself.

Until I met Marco Gatti in Milano.

I told him “Marco, why don’t we create a content (I didn’t mention podcast) where we share what we work on and what we do to grow our businesses? An honest behind-the-scene with successes and failures”.

Marco replied: “Yes, a podcast!”.

A few days later, we were running together a half-marathon along the Martesana river outside Milano.

We run the 21km distance talking about our project.

I didn’t want to have a podcast, but in May we launched our diario di due imprenditori digitali, and it has been a surprising journey.

I didn’t expect to find people interested in listening every two weeks what I have to say. Surely I have an uncommon lifestyle but I’m not eloquent nor radio-phonic when I talk.

Never the less, the podcast is working.
Each episode is downloaded hundreds of times. What’s more important, we built a small community around it. We call our listeners ‘digimprenditori‘, a mix between the Italian words for digital & entrepreneur.

Plantar

I always been a strong runner. Not fast, not resistant, not good, but reliable enough.
I never had an injury or any other problem I often hear from other runners.

Until one day of August, a few days before my birthday, when I discovered what a plantar is.

I’ve got plantar fascitis: an inflammation of the tendon that runs along the sole.

There are three important things to do after an injury:

  • follow the physio’s advises
  • take it easy
  • don’t act like you are not injured

Unfortunately, I failed all of them.

Now, quite frankly compared with the disgraces I hear around this is nothing.

It’s not painful, it’s not permanent, and it doesn’t affect my vital functions.

But once more, I felt that running isn’t just keeping me fit: it’s keeping me sane.

The mental effects of going out in the mornings and have a stroll before sitting at the desk all day and work are better than the physical ones!

And, as often happens when you discover something really good, you just can’t stay without it anymoreI’m definitely missing more the mental benefits than the physical ones but finally now, after more than 4 months, I’m back running for 10 minutes.

Lonely Bes

Another surprise in 2018 was feeling lonely sometimes.

I always considered myself a friendly person, that enjoys spending time with people. But do they enjoy spend time with me?

It may be true or not.
It may be age-related or not.
It may be because of this nomadic lifestlyle.

Spending a few months per year in different locations has a lot of advantages and it’s surely exciting, but it doesn’t come without a price to pay.

The price is relationships. They needed to constantly be built and fostered. It’s a challenge because I”m neither here or there.
At the moment I have some friends in Italy, some in Amsterdam and a few ‘recent’ ones in Bali.

If you know me, you’re probably thinking that I’m exaggerating, right?

Well, 2018 was all about surprises and feeling lonely was a surprise for me too.

I can’t deny that this could as well be age-related. In 2019 I’ll turn 40 and I definitely became more selective/picky with the people I spent time with. I met a lot of people already in my life.

This is beautifully summarized by Jeb Gambardella in the movie ‘la grande bellezza (and my excuses for the non-Italian speakers):

Of course, it’s easier to make friends when you’re in your 20s and every person is a beautiful surprise… but is this it?

Probably since I met my significant other I weakened in this area of life. I’m happy to be with her and care less about the world, but this means less effort in relationships and ultimately I had moments when I honestly felt lonely.

What I know is that in 2019 I don’t want to feel lonely. I need to do activities that involve like-minded humans and give me a feeling of belonging.

In other words: I have to invest more in relationships.

E-bike

I have been blabbering about cycling to Italy from Amsterdam. It’s one of those adventures I had in mind for some time but I didn’t plan to make it happen in 2018.

But it did happen somehow. I say somehow, because I didn’t bike. I e-bike!

With an e-bike, that is a bicycle with a battery-powered “assist” that comes via pedaling, I left Albiate, Italy.
8 days and 813km later I reached Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Here you can see the terrible Instagram TV videos I made, again sorry for my Italian:

Biz

The last suprise for 2018 came from my professional life. I’m happy with the growth of WP-OK, my small internet company that provides unlimited WordPress support.
I don’t have babies but to me my business is like a son.

A son that is growing, learning how to move and that needs a father.

A father that is learning how to be a parent, like I’m learning how to do my job as founder, salesman, and entrepreneur.

Call me boring, but this is one of the areas of life I enjoyed the most in 2018. Seeing WP-OK growing and give value to people – both customers and collaborators – makes me very proud.

Treasure hunt during our team meeting in Firenze!

I believe 2019 will be a year of growth.

This 2018 has been full of surprises… but why?

I can say that having time and not having strict plans were important factors for making space for these surprises to happen.

To let me accept challenges and opportunities I would have ignored otherwise.

I can now let 2018 go and make space for 2019.

How was your 2018, in one word?

2018, a year of surprises
5 (100%) 5 votes

Written by Daniele
Hi, I’m Daniele! A human being from planet earth. I founded WP-OK.it and I like dancing Salsa, running, and living a location independent lifestyle.