Longnecker Year in Review: 2014

Longnecker 2014

While I'm not usually one to jump on bandwagon's, a year-in-review is never a bad idea. It's good to take a breath, look back and gain some perspective on how you spent your time over the last 365 days. Plus, writing it all down means you can actually come back, read it again and learn from it!

So much happened in 2014, but the biggest news was that we finally decided to take the plunge and start the process of traveling full time! We're not on the road yet, but we're committed, have a plan and should be on our way in 2015. More on that later!

Here a few highlights of the Longnecker's 2014:

Money

This was the year we finally got out of debt! We paid off one of our cars late 2013 and the other in early 2014. What tremendous weight off our shoulders! 

All that's left is the house, and we'll be tackling that when we start our full-time travels.

This was also the first year we were really able to start saving and building an emergency fund bigger than the minimum of $1,000.  While we were never super stressed about money, having a healthy savings account definitely helps us breath easier. Highly recommended.

Health

2014 was also the first year that I believe Ashley and I finally began to understand what we needed to do to be healthy. We were both tipping the scales at our highest weights ever (pregnancies not included!) and everything we started just wouldn't stick.

A conversation with our chiropractor flipped a switch for me, though. It was simple math - I was consistently eating too many calories for my body to burn off. The extras got stored as fat. I was making this decision over and over again, day after day without even realizing it. 

Whole30 Days 1 and 2

And so began our journey. We started by cutting out sugar, wheat and dairy from our diets. Then we did an intense 21 day cleanse. Then we did a month of Whole30. By the end of that, I was down nearly 40 pounds and a couple of pants sizes. We both felt absolutely amazing. Then we went on vacation. Then there were the holidays. And we blew it. 

But! We know what we need to do. We know what works. It's just a matter of looking past a 30 day pledge or 90 day "transformation" and coming to the cold, hard realization that if we want to stay healthy we have to eat very differently than most people. Maybe our metabolism's suck, I don't know. But it's about a life change, not a month change.

Projects

There are never a shortage of projects going on at the Longnecker household. This year we finally tackled some outside work and made the house a little bit prettier!

Multi-Tiered Garden

Tiered Garden

After dipping our toes in the gardening waters last year with a small area, we went all out this year. The useless left corner of our back yard became a 3-tiered gardening extravaganza!  Really? We had no idea what we were doing. We hacked it together only to have it mostly rebuilt by our good friend Jim Brown. 

But look how nice it looks! And we ate lots of tomatoes :)

Sunflowers

Flowerbed wall out front

Retaining Wall

We talked about doing this for quite a while, but finally got to it this year. Again, we have no idea what we're doing so Ashley's dad came and helped us figure it out. It was a butt-ton of work, but once it was done and filled with new plants it was looking pretty rad!

Adventures

Before we even made the decision to travel full-time we did make the decision to have more adventures this year. 

We started out with the family beach trip. My parents, sister and brother's family all came. There were like 15 of us in a huge beach house for the week. So much fun!

Longnecker Beach 2014

After that Ashley and I went to Portland, OR for Chris Gullibeau's World Domination Summit. Besides eating lots of amazing food (yeah we totally broke the diet for a few days), we got some great perspective and re-focused the whole purpose for Last Night Ago. Also, we walked a lot.

WDS 2014 Jon Parking Garage

Then we bought a tent and a bunch of camping gear and spent one whole night at a campground with the kids. One whole night you guys. We are crazy, right!? And we even brought my parents along in case we needed help :D

Finally, we decided that one beach trip and one camping trip weren't enough so we headed down to Panama City, FL and camped at St. Andrews State Park by ourselves!! And we survived - for several days at least. Then our good friends Allan and Anna Branch let us crash at their place for a few days while we recovered.

Panama City Camping

It was too late, though. We got the travel bug.

Converge, FL

2014 also turned out to be the first year Ashley and I were invited to a conference for Last Night Ago! We got to moderate some discussions about creativity, art and travel in Jacksonville, FL while meeting some super cool people.

Converge Fl

Did I mention I love doing stuff like this with Ashley? Because I do!

Adali's Comic Book

Loss Adali Cover

Can I just say how proud I am of all my kids? Each one of them has surprised, amazed and blown my mind multiple times over this year. From dropping really big words into sentences to picking up a conga drum for the first time and nailing the beat, these kids never cease to amaze me.

This year I tackled a big project with my oldest, Adali. We wrote, drew and created her own comic book! It was so much fun and we learned a ton. You can still download it for free here.

Full -Time Travel

Saving the best for last! Yes, after months (years?) of "thinking about it" we finally committed to selling everything and hitting the road. I have no doubt this one decision will massively affect our lives in insane ways. It's a little terrifying, but we had been playing it too safe for a while. We have the freedom to work and school from anywhere so why not do it everywhere?

If all goes well selling the house and buying the RV should put us very close to 100% debt free, and give us even more freedom to work less, travel more and create some crazy memories. 

2015 is going to be the year we went nomadic. You might even start calling us the Nomad Neckers now. If you want to.

Wrap Up

So there you go! Obviously lots more happened this year, but this is a pretty darn good overview if I do say so myself. Here's to 2015!

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Jonathan Longnecker

About the Author

Jonathan Longnecker is the strongly opinionated tattooed and bearded half of Tiny Shiny Home. He loves making music, designing brands, building websites and exploring the outdoors. Currently his jam is renovating a vintage Airstream.

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Posted January 13, 2015


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