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Thursday, January 12, 2012

A New Year

I am not going to lie... it has been weird!

How does one re-adjust to a life that does not include 1000 Challenges?  How does one fill in the gaps and holes in their day that would normally be filled with exploration, adventure, trying out something new?

Its not just the 1000 things in a year, it's the 20,000+ photos I took, its the 1000's of miles I traveled, it's the people I met, the places I visited, the food I ate, the memories I created, the action I took, the resolve that I made, it's the... it's the... it's the deliberate intention to Carpe Diem every single day!

Then all of a sudden the clock strikes midnight and a year that started at 12:01am one year ago is over.  A year that began with a dream and a #1 on a list; ended at midnight with a dream realized and a list of 1022 challenges completed.

I had hoped to write with you all and share my insights of what I have been thinking/feeling at this point, but to be perfectly honest, I have not given it time to fully set in yet.  This year has begun with a flurry.  I have found myself very busy at working to keep the momentum from last year going. 

I am headed out of town this weekend for what will provide me first real break from the 1000 Challenge (even though this is a 1000 Challenge inspired trip).  I promise when I come back I will be more insightful and have more to share.

So for now I will clear up a few things:

1.) Yes shirts and bands are still available for sale and will remain so as long as there continues to be a demand for them.  You can find all the info about that here: Shirt Info

2.) Yes, the sunrise/ sunset challenge will continue until we have filled up the entire list.  For more information on that, including the list and what places we still need, click here:  Sunrise/sunset challenge  Please remember to ONLY send in photos that have not yet been checked off from the list.  With that in mind please check the list before submitting a photo.  I cannot tell you how much time this saves me.  If you have additional photos you would like to share with me, please do so in a private message, thank you. :)

3.) Check out this amazing video a member of the 1000 Challenge Community put together.  I think it really captures the essence of what the 1000 Challenge was and is a great summary for the amazing year I created for myself.  Watch the video here: 1000 Challenge Summary Video

And finally, something I have been asked over and over again is "out of all the things you have done, what was your favorite, what was your top 5, what was your top 10?" 

It is surprisingly hard to choose 10 things out of over 1000 things.  That is less than one percent of all the stuff I did do.  However, there were definitely some of the Challenges that stand out beyond the rest.  So, without further ado, I give you, my top 10 challenge from the 1 Year 1000 Challenge.

#1 this was the easiest one.  Without question it was Sunrise/Sunset day we had on September 1st 2011.  I cannot tell you how special that day was.  100's of photos were sent in from all over the world.  It was so special because so many of us set aside a few minutes of our day to share with everyone else the beauty in their part of the world.  One of the things I hope I conveyed to all of you is just how beautiful this world we share is.  For more on the sunrise/sunset day challenge, click here: Sunrise/Sunset day

#2 The final Space Shuttle Launch:  The only time in my life I have ever truly felt I lived in a fully "United" States is when September 11th happened.  From that tragedy patriotism of the likes I have never seen was born.  Flags were everywhere, there was no Democrat and Republican, there was only American.  As awful as 9/11 was, the aftermath and floods of patriotism that came with it was something very special in our country.  I feared I never would experience that again.  I was one of over one million people who gathered in Florida to watch the final launch of the Space Shuttle.  It was amazing.  Flags were being flown everywhere.  License plates from nearly every state were scattered up and down the highway.  People were celebrating, cheering, they were being unified as Americans.  I felt a similar patriotism again, I felt like I was a part of something special, something greater than myself, and this is why this ranks as #2.

#3 International Trash Clean Up Day:  The first big event we held as a community.  This event was so special as I really realized what us as a community could accomplish if we worked together.  Each and every day the 1000 Challenge community grows.  I cannot wait until the next Trash Clean Up Day... imagine how much we will be able to clean up this year.  On that note, I am looking into places in the states where a large group of us could travel to to really clean up the area.  If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.  I prefer a coastal area, but am definitely not opposed to other areas or even urban.

#4 Machu Picchu:  It has been my experience that often times when you find yourself seeing those famous places we all want to see like  The Eiffel Tower, (for example), the experience is almost anti-climatic.  With media and photography the way they are today I find that when I arrive to these places that I have seen so many amazing pictures, that the real thing just does not measure up to those pictures.  Machu Picchu is an exception.  I have never seen a picture that even comes close to capturing the epic-ness that is Machu Picchu. What made the experience all the more special was the people I was with.

#5 The Colosseum in Rome:  The opportunity to see the Colosseum may be one of those once in a lifetime opportunities.  It was extra special to be able experience as part of the 1000 Challenge as this was one on my "lifetime list."  And if you get the chance, do not hesitate to go.  It is an amazing structure and there is definitely a feeling of "you are someplace special" when you are there.  As with Machu Picchu what made the experience all the more special was the people I was with.

#6 Hang Gliding: The beautiful views, the world class spot, the feeling of being scared shitless, the being told I was 50lbs to heavy by one person then suddenly being told my weight is just fine by another, the story, the video, the laughs from the George Lopez show, all of these elements made this an experience I will never forget.

#7 Sunrise at La Cumbre Peak (#1000): The symbolic one.  The feeling is surreal when you accomplish something you have put your heart soul and worked tirelessly at for so long.  And then like all moments, suddenly it is gone, leaving you with only the memories.  The 1000 Challenge has been and continues to be a life changing experience.  What ended on top of La Cumbre Peak, only marked the beginning of more to come.

#8 Finishing my first book/ouch my heart is broken make over:  Ouch My Heart is Broken was born out of one of the most painful times of my life.  It was something I wanted to do to just try and help people.  Writing a book is something I have tried several times then gave up on myself.  To actually complete the book and see Ouch My Heart is Broken evolve into a larger site that can access and help more people.  I cannot tell you how happy and proud that makes me feel.

#9 The Sedona Weekend: I am cheating and grouping a bunch of challenges into one here.  The reason is because all of them made up the sum of a whole.  A whole weekend that was very special to me as I got to spend it with some of my closest friends.  Not only that, but we got to test launch a charity that I want to put more time and energy into in the near future.  I had fun, but what was so fun for me was watching the people I care about have fun.  This experience was made by the people.

#10 Hoover Dam: My Dad's favorite place.  For me to be able to go here and look upon it for the first time so close to the one year anniversary of his death made it all the more special.  It was a very cathartic experience and I felt very close to my Dad while I was there.

So there you have it, my top 10 from the 1000 Challenge.  I have to run now.  I am headed off to Texas to get started on my National Park Challenge and to make some more memories in 2012.

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,



  1. Life changing experiences I would say :)

  2. And what a year it was....Sometimes we say, "well there's another day, month, year of my life I will never get back" after a bad experience with something.

    But you can say "Well, there's another year I would gladly spend doing these things over again" - An accomplishment that truly only you know how it feels.

    I read in a magazine today about things we can do for our new years resolutions - one of the suggestions was to write a blog with a goal and invite friends to read it and comment. You have done that and then some. Thanks truly for the inspirations. You rock! Peace, Lisa