I was cleaning out old magazines.. the ones I haven't even opened. I don't throw away my Horse issues because there are columns I actually like to read and, even if I haven't looked at an issue yet, I will. I discovered that it was a year ago from this month that I had my last article and photo shoot in The Horse magazine. Well.. not the "last". Hopefully, I mean the one before the ones I haven't done yet.
It's been a slow-ish year for motorcycle stuff. Many of the things and events I relied on for the previous year didn't happen this year. Plans change. Relationships change. Everything changes. I went into the "riding season" with such great plans covering thousands and thousands of miles. In retrospect, maybe my plans were too grandiose in the sense that, from the start, they involved too much planning. So much that almost none of them came to fruition.
I suppose you have to have goals but, next year, I think I'll keep a loose idea of places I'd like to go... like Joshua Tree.. and PCH.. and Texas.. but not make specific plans. If the opportunity comes up, I'll recognize it. But plotting out routes and dates? Nah. We're gonna try a different tactic next year. More riding, fewer destinations.
Whenever I start lamenting the disappointments of this riding year, I have to step back and try to figure out where I went wrong. In those terms, the year hasn't been a loss and there have been some super highlights. I got to see Asheville, NC for the first time when I rode up to see Y&T play (for the second time). There was the Smokeout Rally put on by The Horse in Rockingham, NC, which is always a good time.. if not life-suckingly hot. There was the annual journey to Wheels Through Time in Maggie Valley. And I _am_ leaving for Key West tomorrow. This trip has been in the hopper for a year and a half and, through much wrangling, is finally happening.
In this past year, I've met some wonderful people both in meat space and online, a few of which I can call new friends. I've started building an online presence. Perhaps the hardest part has been fleshing out what it's supposed to look like and that''s still a work in progress. Chris Lonsberry Media has got Facebook and Instagram followers. The YouTube channel is becoming a thing and growing. The blog is now a thing (as you know) and people can buy prints of my photos online. And.. I've made my first $26 as a photographer this year. [pause here until you're done laughing] I've gotten pretty good with LightRoom and Photoshop. I've gotten better with Final Cut Pro. My photos have matured in relation to content, light and composition. When it comes to writing.. well.. you've made it this far and that book might still happen. It may not have been a banner riding year, but it's been a pretty good year.
Now the days are getting noticeably shorter and the weather cooler. The country to the north will soon be locked in some level of snow. Trips in that direction will have to wait. But one of the things I love about South Carolina is that, with a few exceptions, it doesn't show. I suppose it's not the end at all. Next year, maybe I'll get into some more magazines. (That's a not-so-subtle hint for all you editors.)
Thanks for being here and ride safe!