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2015 Year in Review

So, 2015 has been completed. I’d really like to write this post to review my goals I’ve set in the beginning of the year, and what I’ve achieved during that.

At the beginning of 2015, I vowed myself these things:

  • Read 25 books
  • Learn backstroke and butterfly stroke
  • Run a sub 30 minutes 5k
  • Learn Mandarin
  • Travel to at least 4 countries
  • Save (a lot of) money

I’ll run through those goals one by one.

Read 25 books

I’m a bookworm. Since 2013, I joined Goodreads Reading Challenge. What I do is basically put a number of book you want to read this year, and commit to it. I found it motivating and challenging.

I don’t remember about the 2013 challenge and I can’t find any information about the past challenge in Goodreads website, so I’ll skip 2013. In the 2014 challenge, I set myself 20 books as the goal. That year, I failed. I only read 19 books. I finished the 20th book at January, so I didn’t count it in.

Last year, I increased the difficulty: 25 books.

I started the year strongly. But after April, I found myself read less and less (Bloodborne, I blame you!). By July, I’ve only read around 8 books. Not a good thing! At that rate I would fail hard.

There were two things that made me read more after that. First was when I relocated to Yogyakarta. As usual, I went to the bookshop in the airport, just chilling around and looking at the books. Usually, I don’t find anything interesting there, as most of the books there are contemporary young adult books. But, that day, I found four books so interesting, I couldn’t help but to buy them. They are Anansi Boys, Mr. Mercedes, Adultery, and Fatherland.

The second one was when I discovered The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. From August until December, I read the first 5 books of the series.

The last book I read at 2015 was Brandon Sanderson’s Alloy of Law. I finished it at the last day of 2015. I finished it nonetheless, and I successfully completed the 2015 Reading Challenge!

Learn backstroke and butterfly stroke

2014 was the year when I rediscovered my passion for swimming. I swam a lot when I was young and I really like it. However, when I was out of elementary school, I ceased to swim. So, when my friend invited me to swim with him at around September 2014, I was so out of shape. Out of 4 strokes (front crawl, butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke), I mastered 0 (zero, nil, null) of them. I didn’t quit though, as I found that swimming was really great back then, so I practiced a lot after that.

By the end of 2014, I could swim front crawl and breaststroke reasonably well (not good though!). And hence I vowed myself to learn another strokes in 2015.

I would say that I failed on this goal, because I only learned backstroke in 2015. I still can’t swim butterfly. However, I wouldn’t say that I suffer a disaster in the swimming department as I’ve improved a lot in the other areas.

In the first half of 2015, I challanged myself the 0to1650 training program. Basically, it’s a six weeks program, swimming front crawl from 0 to 1650m. I only finished five weeks of it, but I could already feel the benefit. Now I can swim 1000m comfortably. In fact, 1000m is the distance I swim for each training session I do now.

After I relocated to Yogyakarta, I got an easy access to a great swimming pool in the city. So, since August, I swim regularly 3 times a week there. My workout now consists of 100m warmup, 1000m front crawl, and 100m cooldown. Of course there were ups and downs on that, so that’s just the guideline I use at every swimming session.

Run a sub 30 minutes 5k

I started to run at August 2014. Back then, I just tired of being inactive, I want to get fit and feel better. I quickly revised my motivation after a few runs. Now, I run because I like it a lot. Something about running is so liberating. Those pantings, heavy breathings, and sore muscles feel really great. At first, I followed the Couch to 5k program (C25K). After I finished it, I run regularly, 3 times a week, 3-5 km each session. I usually woke up at 4:30 in the morning, and I was out there running at 5.


My personal record for 5k in 2014 was at around 32-33 minutes. So, at the beginning of 2015, I set sub 30 minutes of 5k to be my goal for running.


I was this close, only 29 seconds off from my target. But still, I’m really proud of this.

Overall, here’s my running achievements in the first half of 2015. I only show this because the second half of 2015 was all about cycling and swimming.


Learn Mandarin

Since I was teenager, I love Chinese literature and history a lot. I love history in general, but I think Chinese history would be my favorite, with World War II at close second. So, when I went to China on my own at the end of 2014, I was so fascinated, awed, and I tried to absorb all of everything there, especially the languange, where I found it beautiful.

Based on that, the only logical move I would do was to learn the language. So, in 2015, I vowed myself I would learn Mandarin.

This one is a complete failure. In January, I was so eager to learn, only for that eagerness to die down after few days. No excuse, I failed. This year, I will start all over.

Travel to at least 4 countries

In 2014, I was bitten by travel bug. Since then, I suffer a serious case of wanderlust. I want to go. I want to explore the world. In that year, I traveled 4 times: Malaysia, China, Vietnam, and China again. The more I travel, the more I want to travel.

Hence, at the start of 2015, I set a goal to travel to at least 4 countries. I knew I could do that.

Things were good in the first few months of 2015. I traveled Taiwan in April. But then, I changed my plan. I didn’t travel anymore for the rest of the year and saved every little bit of money I got from my job. Why? Because I want to quit my 9-to-5 job earlier than I originally planned at the start of the year. Now? As of December 31st, I’ve quit my job.

Obviously I failed in this goal. But I’m not disappointed. It’s a necessary sacrifice for me to achive my dream in 2016: be a nomad and travel the world.

Save (a lot of) money

Nope. I don’t save money to buy house. I don’t save money to raise a family. I don’t save money for retirement. Nope. Nope. Nope.

I save money to start traveling. I want to travel long term. I want to never stop traveling. I want travel to be my life.

My thought back then was that I need some money to start traveling. I didn’t expect myself to instantly have a steady stream of income once I quit my 9-to-5 job and start freelancing when I travel around the world. So I set the target to save a lot of money to make my first few months of traveling a bit easier.

In this department, I’d say that I’m successfully achieve what I targeted. I won’t disclose the number though.


Beside those goals, I’ve got another things that just happened without planning at the start of the year. Here we go.

  • Certified for SCUBA Diving
  • Participate in 10k race (running)
  • Became a cyclist in the second half of the year, 360km under my belt
  • Hiked 5 trails in Yogyakarta
  • Made this blog!
  • Developed my first Android app: Pumpkin Reader
  • Participated Reddit’s r/sketchdaily challenge by drawing everyday from November 23rd until December 31st
  • Driving from Ubud, Bali to Yogyakarta, around 700km, in 24 hours, with only 3 hours of sleep


2015’s been an up and down year for me. Sure, there were some hardship and difficulties (who doesn’t have any, anyway). However, the ups outweigh the downs. So, 2015 is a good year for me! I improved a lot, I achieved a lot, I progressed a lot. I feel that I’m stronger now to face even harder challenges I will face in 2016.

So that’s it, my 2015 year in review. Goodbye 2015! Welcome 2016!