2022: The year of staying afloat

2022 is the year the pandemic died and everything sort of began again: work, social life, travel. I began the year in a mini-lockdown and am ending it with a series of Christmas parties with family from overseas. But despite the grand reopening, I crossed an awkward milestone this year: not a single post on this blog.


Social media on periphery of social life

Along with widely-publicised problems that hit platforms in 2022, my usage of social media really tanked this year. Perhaps it’s because I use it for work so often, to the point where even casual browsing seems like a task. I’ve almost stopped updating my Instagram, and the only platform I use diligently for personal and work reasons is LinkedIn.

I also completed what I’d call the great behind-the-scenes migration web host migration. In July 2022, my three-year contract with my then-web host ended. Not wanting to suffer a 50% increase in hosting fees, I switched web host to Exabytes, who also manage my domain.

This was the first time I’ve done a manual migration. It was a nerve-wrecking, complicated process for a non-IT person like me. Thankfully, this site is very light – it is literally just a blog – so total downtime was just about three days.

However, Exabytes as a web host has more down time than my previous host. There have been instances – twice this year – when the site was offline for a day or more, with no clear solution save a call to customer service.

Suffering the dual consequence of my drift away from social media and real-world host issues, my discipline to update has lapsed.

Trails in Bako National Park
Trails in Bako National Park

A year of return?

The idea was this: if I have a website to update, I’d be prompted to write more.

But that hasn’t happened. Instead, I’m facing the exact opposite: I write much less now.

Yet 2022 was an eventful, productive and – if I may use the word – stable.

After the drama and Covid-enforced work-from-home situation that was 2021, I stayed in my job for a whole 2022. There was no workplace drama. I struggled to adapt, but I learnt so many new things at work this.

In 2022, I also decided I want to settle down with the lady I’m currently dating. Again, no drama: just a talk, an agreement on a timeline, and now we’re looking for houses.

In January, I began a new hobby: learning Arabic calligraphy in the Chinese style, from a teacher in China, via Zoom. Then, in August, loosening Covid-19 restrictions meant I resumed competitive running again. I did two races that month and while I’m not anywhere close to my peak in 2015, competitive running is always a welcome distraction from the mundane.

In 2022, I began to travel again – twice. In July, I finally got on a plane with my partner and spent five days in Kuching, Malaysia. We hiked and overnighted at Bako National Park, ticking off a major bucket list item.

Later in the year, I returned to Turkiye, covering Gaziantep, Kapadokya and, my favourite city, Istanbul. As the last city I transited in during my return from Lebanon in the early days of the pandemic, returning felt symbolic. Like a closure.

It’s not that nothing happened in 2022, and that’s why I didn’t write. Perhaps I didn’t write because, for the first time in a while, I’ve enjoyed living.

Walking from Uchisar, Kapadokya
Walking from Uchisar, Kapadokya. I returned to Turkiye again after departing hastily in 2020.

Reading in 2022

I’ll end my yearly posts with some of the best books I’ve read this year. For the second year in a row, my reading preferences trend towards non-fiction or Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

  1. House of Stone, Anthony Shadid – Returning from the diaspora, a Lebanese man rebuilds his grandmother’s house, explores family history and tries to survive early-2000s Lebanon in Marjaayoun, southern Lebanon
  2. You Sexy Thing, Cat Rambo – A team of mercenaries-turned-chefs accidentally steal a high-tech ship with a stowaway on board.
  3. Stranger Country, Monica Tan – An Australian-Chinese lady travels the Outback in Australia tracing the history of Asian immigration and Aboriginal heritage
  4. Ten Low, Stark Holborn – An ex-con on a desert planet is forced to take on and mentor a wounded government soldier that may or not be the most lethal living weapon in the galaxy.
  5. Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls, Nina Renata Aron – What is co-dependency, and how does caring too much for others ruin our relationship with them? Nina Renata Aron illustrates this with her relationship with her drug addict husband.
  6. Nine Quarters of Jerusalem, Matthew Teller – The most detailed travelogue I’ve read this year. Teller explores the unique history of the holy city of Jerusalem, and all its multi-layered ethnic and religious complexity.
  7. A Pilgrimage to Eternity, Timothy Egan – Fearing he’s losing his faith, the writer – practicing Catholic – walks from Canterbury to Rome to try to understand why people in the heartland of Christianity no longer believe.


Thanks… if you’re still reading. And see you in 2023!

Leave a Reply