Mike MJ Harris

2022 Retro


2022 offered all the delights of a more open world - a craving for expanded horizons, wilderness and to experience remote work without being stuck at home. These were all sampled and enjoyed with the only cloud being a bad back colouring the experiences.

Year in numbers

2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
Books Read 30 31 50 39 34 18 10
KM Run 455 1,082 1,796 2,472 1,642 1,083 1,145
KM Swam 138 124 67 50 116 125 123
Yoga Sessions 75 62 97 72 48 30 60
Blog Posts 2 7 8 8 14 7 5
KM Cycled 166 3,385 498 0 0 0 0

Story in the Stats

The start of the year was very intense with a new senior role at an early stage startup and a hard deadline to hit. Extended hours at a desk potentially caused a bad back which in turn brought on sciatica - weeks of pain, not being able to sit down or exercise.

This became the main factor in the stats for the year. The first few months completely out of action - only slowly being able to swim and then yoga - both of which were key to my recovery and hence the relatively high stats. Almost no cycling for the year and only some running in the last few months.

Here we are at the end of the year - the bad back and sciatica healed but still a slight physical and mental scratchiness linger.

Sweden Wild camping
Kayaking and wild camping in Sweden


The craving of something wild and remote after the last few years led to a trip for a 5k swim event in Formentera, a long weekend kayaking and wild camping in Sweden plus a two week trip to the Norwegian arctic circle including a week as crew on a boat round the Lofoton islands.

Formentera swim Norway boat
Trips to Formentera for a long swim and a sailing trip in the Norwegian arctic circle

Remote work

One of the goals for changing careers to be in tech was to one day work remotely. Last year was work from home - this year was the chance to properly remote work. The original dream ten years ago was to be tapping away on a laptop on a beach. The reality this year has been staying with friends and family across the UK and Europe (Cornwall, Spain, Germany, Switzerland). It's been a joy being able to share in others lives on extended visits while still being able to work and not breaking the bank on accommodation.

Exploded Shed
Cornelia Parker's exploded shed in the Tate. My (unexploded shed) with sore back friendly standing desk and new seedlings. With so much else happening this year gardening took a back seat after this promising start

Books and art and stuff

When travelling I love to read books by authors based in those countries - Per Peterson's Out Stealing Horses and Jo Nesbø's The Snowman both helped set the mood for the Norway trip and were both excellent. Other favourite reads included Laura Cumming's Vanishing Man and 41 False Starts by Janet Malcom. Recurring themes included Las Meninas and early 20th Century households.This year the break down was 17 female authors vs 13 male - 10% ethnically contrasting voices.

Art and theatre - loads of trips this year - but the main highlight was the discovery of the Tate private view pass. With a busy world being able to visit galleries in midweek evenings was a treat. Even better was getting to go on these trips with friends - a key area of socialising this year - especially important whilst not having an office.

With life more open I managed a repeat visit to Cornwall with the London literary salon. That brought together all the strands of the year into a few days - remote work, family, art, reading and some wilderness. Wrote more about it in one of the only two blog posts of this year (bad back and busy work meant little appetite for more time at the keyboard): Riding the waves to the lighthouse.

St Ives
View of the sea in St Ives


Bad back related - try and remember to do all the things I already know about to prevent having a recurrence next year - work hard but regular breaks, lots of stretching, consistent yoga, balance of rest and activity. All of that has happened in the second half of the year and I feel much better for it.

Climate related I want to do better at taking the train for travels to Europe - many of the 2022 trips I started looking at train options but left it too late when time and costs meant flying was too attractive an option. Aim is to use rail for anything on mainland Europe that is less than 1000km away.

The break from running also meant I had a new found love and energy for it at the end of the year. Hoping to carry that into the new year and get back to entering a few events. My mum's signed us up to a 100km weekend trail run/walk/camp to celebrate her 70th so that's something to aim for.

Hiking in Norway


The pain and discomfort of a bad back coloured the year. While looming large in the mind doing this reflection has helped remember that plenty of other things happened and to appreciate the healing since then.

The wilderness and remote work have helped balance out the last few years of restrictions. The new job has been hectic and a steep learning curve but have grown into it and am relishing the challenge of where we can get to in 2023.

So a 2023 of rail travel, movement, stretching and hopefully some more wilderness. Hope you have a good one!