2022 in review: clouds clearing

This was the first year since 2017 that started and ended with me writing for the same set of core clients. After watching 2020 tear down a non-trivial chunk of my business and spending much of 2021 contining to rebuild from that occupational rubble, that was a profound relief.

PCMag lets me both post quick updates on tech-policy developments and take such journalistic detours as writing about the possible return of supersonic air travel. Fast Company gives me the space for more in-depth pieces on technology, policy and science. USA Today, where I’ve now been writing for more than 11 years, remains a great place to explain tech–concisely!–to readers. And in Light Reading and Fierce Video, I have trade-pub clients that let me get into weeds on telecom and video topics, making me more informed about those issues when I step back to cover them for a consumer audience.

The Calendar app on my Mac, showing the year-at-a-glance view in which my schedule looks considerably busier than it did in the 2021 and 2020 versions of this screengrab.

So that’s how I made freelancing work this year. Along the way, these stories stand out as favorites:

Business travel resumed at a level last I’d last seen in 2019 and pushed me past the million-miler mark on United Airlines, with my sideline of speaking at conferences treating me to some new and old places: Copenhagen, Dublin, Las Vegas, Lisbon, New York, and Toronto. PCMag, in turn, gave me the chance to take that Tesla-powered road trip through some outsized and beautiful parts of the Pacific Northwest–a trek that featured an overnight stay at my in-laws’ for my first home-cooked meal in a week.

(You can see a map of those flights after the jump.)

All this travel gave me more practice than I wanted with Covid tests, but especially after I finally came down with Covid in June–and then had a remarkably easy bout that cleared in a week and allowed me to return to Ireland for the first time since 2015. Four months later, I learned that my father-in-law had cancer; two months later, that invasive case of lymphoma had taken Al from us. I wish 2022 had spared him, and then maybe you all could have soon seen him pop up in the comments as he sometimes did here to share a compliment or an encouragement.

I created the map below at the Great Circle Mapper site, following the instructions Tiffany Funk first shared in 2016 at the One Mile At A Time blog. The predominant shade of blue represents flights on United (plus Lufthansa and airBaltic segments on UA reservations), while other colors, some of which are impossible to make out, represent Aer Lingus (blue-green), Air Canada and American (red), Avelo (purple), Icelandair (dark blue), Southwest (another shade of blue) and TAP (bright green).

Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

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