Miha Rekar bio photo

Miha Rekar

👨‍💻 Software Developer
🎙️ Podcaster
☕️ Home Barista
🏃 Runner
📷 Photographer
📖 Aspiring Stoic
🦄 Incurably Curious

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One year has ended, and another has begun. As is now a tradition, I write a blog post looking back at the previous year. I started this as a simple Instagram story back in 2018, and then longer and longer posts in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Compared to the previous two years, 2022 felt “normal” again. I even wrote 3 blog posts!

Writing

The first one was about my learnings of keeping a journal for over 3 years. It was a refresher post of the journaling one from back in 2018. The old one got shared a lot, and I got asked a lot of follow-up questions during the years, so I’ve tried to address some of them.

I still journal daily, and it’s one of the best habits I have. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. Every single day, when I look back at On This Day, I immediately feel happy. The great things, the bad things, the things that felt horrible, but are now hilarious, … all of it just brings joy. It’s great to see where I’m growing, and where I keep stumbling. If you have any follow-up questions, go read that post, I’m pretty sure I’ve answered them all. 😅

The second post was about the Slovenian anthem, which I wrote in reaction to the war in Ukraine. And the third one was about me leaving Twitter. Even though they sound completely different, they are quite related. Everything was starting to turn more and more toxic, and I felt like I had enough.

After a round of unfollowing and muting, however, I found Twitter enjoyable again. I didn’t install the apps back, but I visited the website daily, and always found something fun or insightful. And then Elon happened. At first, I was happy, since going private is exactly what Twitter needed. But the way he handled things: random mass lay-offs, weird policies where he could say anything (comedy was now legal, remember?), but saying anything he didn’t like got you banned, disallowing linking to external websites, … it was just too much. I don’t need that. So I left for good.

Work

Another thing I left this year was my Advisable gig. Although this wasn’t by choice. It happened, because we shut it down in September. Just back in March, we were all together on a team trip in Ireland, and it was great. But startups do, what startups do, and here we are. I’m very grateful to have worked with such incredible people. For just a taste of how great this team was, read the recommendations/reviews we got from the CEO.

This alone has opened so many doors, that I didn’t even have to look for a job, jobs were looking for me. I had so many interviews, that I lost count. But all of them were really honest and enjoyable conversations. None of the usual whiteboarding nonsense. I had some tough decisions to make, but in the end, I picked Better Stack, and am really looking forward to starting there in the next couple of weeks.

The reason for the unusually long pause is that I wanted to tackle some bigger tasks on Visualizer. Mainly a complex DB migration, and moving off of Heroku. Both required a ton of preparation and focus time, that I simply didn’t have before. And both went as well as I could have hoped for. There were several major milestones on Visualizer this year, but the thing I’m most proud of is switching to SaaS and, less than one year later, having over 180 paying customers and a churn rate of 1.73%. Not only does this cover all my expenses, but it also completely covered the purchase of my Decent machine, and pretty much all the coffee I bought last year. Not many people can say this, but it turns out that buying an expensive espresso machine was a good investment for me. 😎

But I also took on another project for European Coffee Trip. I’ve been their user and fan ever since I started drinking good coffee. They are the first place I check whenever I travel to find some great cafés. Searching through my emails, I can see we started chatting way back in 2016, but the first time we met is recorded. Anyway, we ran into each other at World of Coffee in Milan, and while they were busy, did say we need to chat about something. So we did, and I can’t tell much, but I’m super excited about what’s coming.

Traveling

Speaking of, World of Coffee Milan was incredible. I’ve been to Coffee Festivals in London, Paris, Vienna, and a couple of others, but nothing comes close to this. It was massive, and there were so many things going on at all times. There were 350 exhibiting companies, five World Coffee Championships, over 80 roasters in Roaster’s Village, as well as countless workshops and lectures on topics ranging from coffee cupping to sustainability. Decent also had a booth, where I met a ton of Visualizer users, and it was so great to add faces to usernames I’m familiar with. I love the internet, and remote culture, but nothing will ever replace meeting people in person.

That was not the only time I was in Italy, though. Soon after I started dating my girlfriend1, we decided to go to Florence. It was my first time there, and while we were there only a few days, we used them to the max. We ate so much great food and saw so much amazing art and architecture, that I can’t wait for us to return.

While passing Bologna on the Frecciarosa fast train, ads for Gardaland2 caught our attention. It had been a while since either of us had been, so we decided to plan a trip. We spent a couple of days in Arco on the north part of Lake Garda, where we hiked, swam, relaxed, and enjoyed Italian cuisine. But one day we spent in the entirety in Gardaland. We took all the rides multiple times, but spent a lot of time waiting in lines. And catching the virus. Which only manifested days later, but it left a significant mark on the year. Especially on my running, but we’ll get to that later.

The last trip we made was just 2 months ago to Rome. We took the sleeper train there, and it was fantastic. Yeah, you don’t get the best sleep, and yeah, they do wake you up at 6:30. But you arrive in the very center of the city and have the entire day left to explore. Because even if you have a morning flight, it’s at least noon before you’re in the city ready to explore. This is the closest thing we have to time traveling and I can not recommend it enough. The same goes for Rome. There are lots of good reasons why so many tourists visit it each year.

Music

This year I also traveled for music reasons. I don’t remember what was the first Cercle video I saw, but I think it was Einmusik b2b Jonas Saalbach from Preikestolen in Norway. I was hooked. The locations, the artist selection, the production, absolutely everything was top-notch in all of their videos. So in February 20203 when it was announced they were organizing their own festival I bought the tickets immediately. The world changed a lot in the next couple of months. At first, the festival was postponed to October 2020, then September 2021, and then to May 2022. But this time, as the days were getting closer to that date, it was starting to feel real. I purchased flight tickets and reserved a hotel. It. Was. Actually. Happening.

Now, as most of you know, I used to be a concert photographer. So I’ve been to many concerts, parties, events, festivals, and whatnot. But, god damn it, Cercle gonna Cercle. They absolutely blew past my expectations.

The festival was happening on the tarmac of the Museum of Air and Space in Paris with 3 stages: under Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger airliner, under Ariane 5 rocket, a European heavy-lift space launch vehicle, and under Concorde, a supersonic aircraft that needs no introduction. And there were countless other airplanes dotted around the massive field. There were 24,000 people there, yet it never felt crowded. You could go to any stage and have plenty of room to dance. Or you could go to one of several resting areas and just chill and talk to random people about life philosophies. If this were Slovenia, the Balkans, or anywhere I had visited before, the organizers would sell at least 3x the number of tickets. If not 5x.

The main thing you could feel at this festival is that Cercle cares about one thing only: providing the best possible experience to the attendees who are there for the music, not for getting wasted. What seems to matter to them is how the festival made us feel, not how much they could earn.

A couple of days after returning home, I received an email about a Cercle party being held in Bosnia. I bought tickets for the event without hesitation. This time, my friend Maja4 joined me for the ~5h road trip and the afternoon/night party. The weather forecast was gloomy, but for the entirety of Jamie Jones’s performance, it was simply perfect. We even got clear skies for the sunset. The drone pilots were loving it, and I recommend watching the video! As soon as his set was over, though, it started pouring rain. Didn’t bother us much, and we partied late into the night. Cercle did it again. I can’t wait to join them on another adventure.

Photography

After 2 years with my beloved iPhone 12 mini, I went back to the full-format iPhone 14 Pro. I still miss the mini form-factor, and every time I hold one in hand, I get nostalgic. It’s the perfect size! But the cameras on this new one? Mind. Blown. 🤯

I love to have the tele lens again. And the main sensor is out of this world for a phone. The flexibility the 48MP RAW gives you is outstanding. It’s not useful to take those big photos daily, but when you do, you really get rewarded when you open them in Lightroom.

Outside of that, my gear didn’t change. Still in love with Leica Q2 and DJI Air 2S and everything I get out of them.

Some of my Leica favs.
My favorite drone photos of this year.

I did post way less on Instagram this year. They are pushing Reels, and I really don’t want to make them. I want to use it as a photo service, not a video one. I know they want to do to TikTok, what they did to Snapchat, but I dunno. I was on board with Stories, but Reels feel like a bridge too far for me. 👴🏻

I am using Glass as well, but there aren’t many people there, so it feels like no one gets to see my photos. And if no one is there to see the photos, are they even posted? 🤔

Running

286 times for 3,254 km (2,022 miles5) and 55,891 m (183,369 ft) elevation total. It’s less than the previous 2 years and about the same as in 2019. I was on pace to hit 3,500 km, but then the virus caught me, and all my plans went out the window. Even though I was fully vaccinated and boosted, it hit me hard. Not so much the immediate symptoms, only my running ability. I quickly got tired, and I couldn’t hit any speed anymore. And this was going on for weeks after I was supposedly over it.

But then adidas Runners from the entire world were called to Berlin to attend the City Night 10k. I was hoping I’d have more time in Berlin to visit all the great coffee places and people I know there, but the run itself was amazing. The atmosphere was unlike anything I’d experienced before. The cross-shaped route was really special since I could cheer on and keep track of other friends who were running. I pushed myself to the max and managed to run it in 44:46. Not my best 10k, but amazing given the way I felt all those weeks previously.

I knew it was a good year for me way back in May when I attended Wings for Life again. If you’re not aware, it’s a really special kind of race. You’re pursued by a car, so the faster you go, the longer you can go. But the faster you go, the more tired you get. It’s a race where you need to know yourself and your limits well. And I blew by my previous record (24.6 km from 2017) and finished with 31.19 km, which is beyond my wildest hopes of reaching 30k.

But the best was yet to come: 26th Ljubljana Marathon in October. I achieved a personal best time of 3:24:14, improving on my previous PB by over 7 minutes. I started slightly too fast, but felt amazing. I constantly felt like I had to hold myself back. And I was scared of either hitting the wall or simply running out of juice like I did every time before. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later, but inevitably I couldn’t hold the pace anymore and had to slow down. But not this year. Not once did I feel any pain or anything in my body that would tell me to slow down. I was never this consistent in kilometer pace splits either. I had exactly the same pace on km 1 and 42. To the second. It was my 7th time running a marathon, but it was the first time I honestly enjoyed it. 🏃🏻‍♂️

Reading

I read way less than the previous years. I listened to more podcasts, didn’t run as many long trail runs (which are usually my audiobook time), and simply didn’t take enough time with a Kindle or a book in my hand. My Goodreads stats say that I managed 16 books. I need to improve this in 2023. 😬

In any case, here are my favorites:

Apocalypse Never by Michael Shellenberger

The first book I read in 2022, and the most impactful one. I’ve read a ton of books and articles on climate change, but none were as thought-provoking as this one. Michael argues that many environmentalists have Malthusian views and oppose the extension of cheap energy and agricultural modernization to developing nations. He believes that nuclear energy is the best solution for reducing carbon emissions because it is zero pollution and has a low environmental footprint.

He points out that solar and wind are simply not very power-dense and require large amounts of land to produce a small amount of electricity, and are also dependent on weather. He also mentions that oil giants support renewables because it means more oil and gas consumption. Michael believes the path to low emissions includes maximizing solar and hydro when conditions allow, but using nuclear for the majority of energy, and using natural gas or hydrogen to cover spikes. He also points out that cheap, reliable, and abundant electricity is necessary for prosperity and for preventing climate disasters.

The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel

Your personal experiences with money make up maybe 0.00000001% of what’s happened in the world, but maybe 80% of how you think the world works.

I’ve highlighted so many things in this book that to quote it back, I’d probably recreate the whole book. The book explores psychological and emotional factors that influence people’s attitudes and behaviors toward money. It discusses the role that money plays in human happiness and the dangers of overvaluing it. The book offers timeless lessons on how to use money wisely and make it work for you, rather than the other way around.

Here are some of my other favorite quotes to give you an idea:

People who have control over their time tend to be happier in life.

Humility, kindness, and empathy will bring you more respect than horsepower ever will.

Savings can be created by spending less. You can spend less if you desire less. You will desire less if you care less about what others think of you.

“Does this help me sleep at night?” is the best universal guidepost for all financial decisions.

I mean…right? Add it to your to-read. Seriously.

How to Be Perfect by Michael Schur

I was already a big fan of Michael Schur and his work. Everything from The Office to Parks and Recreations, but most of all The Good Place. If you enjoyed the philosophy from the latter show, as I did, you’ll eat this book up. I can especially recommend the audiobook version, since it’s narrated by the author and the cast of The Good Place. Yes, that includes Kristen Bell and Ted Danson.

In the book, Michael tries to explain the most important moral philosophies in his view: virtue ethics, deontology, utilitarianism, contractualism, ubuntu, and existentialism. And if your eyes glazed over just now, this book is for you. Because he does it in such an entertaining way that you’ll almost forget you’re reading about moral philosophy. And that’s the highest praise anyone can give.

If you watched The Good Place, read this. If not, watch it first, then read this.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Another book that altered my perception of the world a lot. An absolute must-read. I mentioned Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind last year, but this book highlights his style even more. He goes deep as a research journalist would and then makes a great story out of it.

The book explores the industrial food chain and the impact it has on human health, the environment, and society. It discusses the different options for sourcing food, including industrial, pastoral, and hunter-gatherer, and their respective pros and cons. The book ultimately advocates for a more diverse and sustainable food system.

I’d categorize this book as “slow read” apropos “slow food”. Take your time, and you’ll enjoy it more and learn a lot.

Wrapping up

Writing these posts takes a ton of time. But, like with journaling, I’m very happy I started writing them. It brings so much joy to look back at everything that happened in a year. As I get older, time is passing faster and faster, but I get to do more and more stuff, and I can’t wait to write the next post about everything that will happen in the next 12 months. 🤩

Let me leave you with the Stoic quote that was written on top of today’s morning journal post and fits like a glove:

As long as you live, keep learning how to live.

Seneca

  1. Yes, this is also new this year 🥰 

  2. The biggest and most known amusement park in the region 

  3. How the world changed since those days, huh? 😬 

  4. Who you might remember from the Iceland trip in 2021 

  5. No, I did not plan this 🙈