It’s my birthday, so I am going to write a completely self-indulgent post about me 55

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Today is my 43rd birthday. For those of you that know a little bit about me, I have some peculiar things that help make me, me.  One of those is that I really only celebrate my prime number birthdays.

Today is one of those.  (For the non-math inclined, prime numbers are ones that can only be divided by themselves and one.  43 is one of those numbers).  Not sure why I like the primes so much, perhaps there is just a bit of mathematical purity that I like, not that I am remotely math inclined at this point in my life.  In any case, the primes are big for me.

black tie party michael hodson leaving rtw overland trip

my Casablanca look, rocking the white dinner jacket

I started my RTW journey on my 41st birthday, which was my last prime Bday.  My next won’t be until I am 47.  Unlike my last one, this birthday snuck up on me completely.  Until one of my ex-girlfriends emailed me a few days ago to ask what my plans were, I’d totally forgotten that it was only a few days away.

So, I’m feeling a bit melancholy about this one.  I don’t really have any plans.  No one I know from home is down here to celebrate with me.  My last one was a great black tie optional, goodbye party to kick off my trip.

Not sure what I am going to do for this one, but as I write this, I am headed to a little town I like, San Gil. There is a little local cigar maker there with some pretty good smokes. Think I’ll buy a box, check into one of my favorite hostels (Sam’s Hostel), sit out on the balcony overlooking the square, smoke a couple, have more than my fair share of beers, and watch Casablanca for about the 150th time. Yea, that sounds pretty good.

Since I am in a bit of a reflective mood today, I shall now give you “The Things I Miss in Life,” at least the 2010 version. These are all things that I grew up with, some long, long ago, that I have fond memories of. Would love to hear some of yours in the comment section:

  • Albums.  I was in high school when albums suddenly disappeared.  In my lifetime, it was the fastest large change I can remember.  Almost literally overnight in the mid-80s, everyone changed from albums and tapes to CD’s.  It happened in less than two years and at the end, you literally couldn’t find a album in the store almost anywhere.  I still have a fairly large collection of vinyl in storage and I still love the feeling I get when I put a needle on an album.
famous beatles album cover sgt peppers lonely hearts club band

one of the famous pieces of album art

  • Related to that, I miss album art. While some artists still have interesting art on their CD covers, the album artwork (both on the front and back and also on the insides) of some of the albums from the mid-60s to the early 80s was amazing.
  • I miss newspapers.  Yes, I know that you can still buy them, but I, like most everyone else, just read online now.  I do love that I can immediately get newspapers from all over the world, but there will always be a soft spot in my heart for Sunday mornings with reams of paper on my coffee table.  And box scores.  I miss box scores.
  • New Orleans.  Still there and still a great town, but not the same since Hurricane Katrina and the massive exodus of people.
  • The redemptive power of a high school keg party.
  • Men standing up when a woman gets up from the table.
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan.  I went to high school and college in Dallas and Austin, respectively.  I could have seen him play dozens of time at venues large and small.  Always put it off saying “I’ll catch him the next time.”  Until there was no next time.
  • Good ESPN commercials.  A decade or two ago, they were really good.
  • Another sports one — having all the big college football bowl games all happening on New Year’s Day.

season 1 DVD fantasy island tv show poster

  • Fantasy Island.  Totally cheesy show, but I grew up in the era when it was on network TV, right after the Love Boat, which I also miss.  Speaking of which, in these days of remakes of everything — why haven’t those two been remade, either for TV or in movies?
  • On a related note, Ricardo Montalbán must have been the inspiration for Dos Equis “most interesting man in the world” commercials and this cold commercial was in a series that I miss.  The backstory is what I really like — there is no such thing as fine corinthian leather.  I was just made it up, because it sounded so good.  And Montalbán sure hits it out of the park.

  • Encyclopedias.  The internet is amazing, but I miss those damn books.
  • Civility in politics.
  • Hats.  JFK was a pretty damn interesting guy, but I’ll never forgive him for making hats unfashionable.  And ladies, hats look great on you.  Wear them more often.  Sophisticated sexiness.
  • My recovery abilities from my early 20s, both in relation to alcohol and amour.

magic johnson dribbling basketball lakers

  • Magic Johnson.  No one made watching a basketball game more enjoyable.
  • The value in having an exhaustive knowledge of stupid trivia, before everyone got smart phones and could look everything up on goggle.
  • Championship heavyweight fights that people cared about — I’m not  a boxing fan, but I do miss going to a big party where people would watch.
  • The days when flying was special and not like being cattle transported from point A to point B.
  • Days before the 24/7 news cycle and before parents used their kids in an attempt to latch onto a brief bit of fame… and money.
  • Soon-to-be-missed…. books.  I love my Kindle, but the days of printed books are coming to an end, just like albums before them.

elton john's goodbye yellow brick road album coveryes album art for fragile

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About Michael Hodson

I’m an attorney that took off on my birthday in December of 2008 to circumnavigate the globe without ever getting on an airplane. After 16 months, 6 continents and 44 countries, I made it all the way back home. Right now, I am back on the road writing about it all.

55 thoughts on “It’s my birthday, so I am going to write a completely self-indulgent post about me

  • Andrea

    Happy Birthday, Michael! I’m a bit younger than you but still miss a lot of the things on your list as well. And in Australia I really miss kegs. What a waste…so many parties here and such inefficient beer drinking. Hope you have a good one!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      “Efficient beer drinking.” Yes, I think that is a phrase I will be using a lot more. Love it.

  • mika

    Happy Birthday! great list… birthdays are always time to reflect on the past (good and bad) and just a good time to stop and recognize that time is passing – sometimes hard to do when traveling through areas with different seasons than you’re used to. Enjoy the day, make some new friends, get in touch with some old friends and make some new memories too!

  • Daniel N.

    Happy Birthday Michael!

    I hear you on many of those things but I disagree with the last one: Book days are not over yet! I am enjoying myself so much in Thailand with all the old bookstores.

  • granger

    Hod-Being a few years OLDER I agree with many of the things you miss.

    I’d add MTV with actual videos (and damn good commercials at one time) and I miss those nights of beer, MD 20/20 and gin, staying up late with not a care in the world (watching either America’s Cup, SportsCenter, movies or just plain arguing)…

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Ahhh, MTV. I do remember when that was actually a movie channel. And late night America’s Cup on ESPN. Ahhhh, the days. And the drinking….

  • Craig Zabransky

    Great Nostalgia here… Love it. I am just a few years younger, a few prime numbers lower but can totally relate and agree with so much in this post. But know I still smile on every flight and marvel at it’s magic. Also books will not disappear and just like albums…people will keep collections ( and self publish 🙂
    But the bad news is they already made a remake of Fantasy Island – it bombed 🙁

    Feliz Cumpleanos. And remember the older we get, the better we were

    Stay adventurous, Craig

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      totally missed the Fantasy Island remake — apparently glad I did. As to books, I will have my collection, but I fear they are about to become like albums… collectors items.

  • Andi

    Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday!!! Don’t feel melancholy! Go do some crazy adventure to celebrate your life. 🙂

    PS I wish men still stood up when a woman left the table as well. What happened to that?

  • Angie

    Happy Birthday, Hodson! I just realized that I haven’t laid eyes on you since that night, two years ago! Two years and it feels like five!

    Love the list and agree with granger. I miss the “old” MTV…remember? They actually played music and it was worth listening to, at that!

    Miss you, friend! Enjoy your day!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Whoopsie — didn’t reply to you earlier 🙁

      Thanks for the comment and yea… I am afraid we are both old enough to actually remember music videos on MTV. Damn.

  • Nicole

    Hi Michael, happy birthday! I’m just a couple years behind you and totally with you on albums. I’d save my money and drive with friends to the underground record store in sketchy Capitol Hill and browse till we found something totally obscure. But did you know you can find Fantasy Island on you tube?

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I fear going back and watching the old episodes. Memory is so much better than reality, most times.

  • Katie

    Enjoyed the read – am definitely with you on the bowl games. Hell, I even miss just the tradition that the GOOD bowl games are the last to be played. Have a super happy birthday – I’m sure this will be your best year yet!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Old time sports traditions with always have a place in my heart. Plus, that was SUCH a great day.

  • Melvin

    Congratulations & all the best to you!!!

    I would have another idea for your birthday party!!! Enjoy a couple of drinks until 4-5am & then storm all the dorms in the hostel…

    But watch out that your room will always be locked afterwards, so that noboday can leave an alarm clock in a locker! lol

    Have a fantastic night & have an extra big beer for me!!!

  • Frannyz

    I miss looking at an Atlas (book) … online maps just aren’t the same.

    And I feel about Michael Jackson the way you do about Stevie Ray Vaughan… just goes to show… you only live once, so appreciate it!

    Happy Bday

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I was in Ethiopia when Michael Jackson died. And since I was from the U.S. and named Michael, everyone wanted my impressions and opinions. Interesting week.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      It was…. not good. But meeting ya’ll in Medellin was a highlight of Colombia. Hope to run into you guys again at Tbex.

  • Jen Bianco

    I miss liner notes. I used to read every single one on every album or CD when I got it! And re: Fantasy Island, there has a been a film in “development Hell” for several years. It’s currently slated for release in 2014.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Ahhh, liner notes. O yea. Memories. And I guess I will just have to wait till 2014 for that movie!

  • MaryAnn

    Happy Birthday Michael!!! Enjoy them ALL, prime number or not, because the alternative is death! I am considerably older than you are and I miss many of the things on your list. I miss Fantasy Island the most because I had/have a fantasy that won’t come true until/unless they revive that show! As for albums, I love them too although they are scratchy and the sound is uneven. There is a charm that can’t be duplicated by all the technology of today. I have a huge collection that I found for 50 cents to $2.00 each at, of all places, Good Will Stores. And estate sales. Most of these albums are in mint condition too.

    I am trying to teach my grandson manners like standing up, opening doors, etc as good etiquette should never go out of style. I love a man in a fedora, thank you Mad Med for making them cool again.

  • Dave and Deb

    Happy Birthday! I am with you on all of the above. I love Fantasy Island and Love Boat! We were just talking about that the other day. Saturday nights! I was allowed to stay up late to watch Fantasy island right after Love boat and would normally go to bed afraid because the guest star had to stay in a haunted house or something. I once found an entire stash of Stevie Ray Vaughan CD’s in the woods. Seriously. I was working as a production assistant on the film Jumanji. We were getting a scene ready in the woods and we had to dig up some dirt. Buried there was an entire collection. Some partiers must have left them around a bon fire or something, but their loss was my gain. I still have all the CD’s (albeit in storage and now on my ipod). today!

  • Shannon O'Donnell

    Happy Birthday a day late! As one who’s not very prone to much hoo-rah on my b-day I like your idea of the primes. Your last post reflection, about books, that makes me sad…I have yet to switch to a Kindle and will boycott as long as possible – I truly still pack my 60L backpack with as many as 4-5 honest to god paper books 🙂

    Hope you had a wholly enjoyable and relaxing day!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Ahhh, but I do love my Kindle. My large collection of hardcovers will never leave me, but I am a Kindle convert for travel. Soooo handy.

  • Phil

    Happy birthday!!
    I like your plan of cigars, beers, balcony, and casablanca. I also appreciated a lot of things on your list and I love the chrysler commercial!!! Enjoy yourself, b well, Phil

  • Kirsten Alana

    Feliz Cumpleanos Michael! I wish I’d been in a place to come down and celebrate with you in South America! And though I am younger, most of these things are missed by me as well. I was always kind of ahead of my time and running with an older crowd, maybe that’s why?

    Either way, I understand the melancholy and longing for some things that aren’t part of daily life anymore. That being said, I agree with Craig, books will never be entirely gone (doing my part by refusing to purchase a kindle) and I’m hanging on for dear life to the few vinyls I still have in storage at my mum’s. There really isn’t anything like the scratch of that needle and the start of a song on a record player.

    Cheers to many great adventures in your 43rd year!

  • Nancie

    Happy Birthday! Enjoy your day. It’s strange I’m packing and not one book in my luggage. When I looked at my Kindle as I put it in my bag it really hit me……….no more paper.

  • Kelsey

    Happy Birthday!

    I too miss the days when flying was special. I remember that my parents used to make sure we were all dressed nicely when we’d fly. Now it’s all girls in PJ pants and UGGs. But really, I don’t blame them – with all the hassle we now have to go through, I’m going to dress to make that all as easy as possible.

    Personally, I miss snail mail and the joy of receiving letters and postcards. I send out about 15 letters a week to various folks, but I also recognize that I’m very much a relic in that sense. I wish that people still wrote.

  • Christy @ Ordinary Traveler

    That’s hilarious about the prime number birthdays! Happy Birthday!! I don’t think I will enjoy not having printed books. I spend enough time staring at a computer!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      LOVE, love, love print books. Have a large hardcover collection. But that being said, you need a Kindle. Amazing product.

  • Leigh

    Maybe I missed something but why don’t you like even number? Is it because 15 is an odd number? I love all b’days though when it comes down to it prefer odd to even but celebrate both.

    Loved your list. Still get the paper everyday- hate reading online. Same with books. Love them and will be one of those late adopters of the Kindle. Still like it when a guy stands up too.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Ahhhh, just not an even number fan because none of them (except 2) are prime numbers. Too “common” in my book. 😉

  • Theodora

    Happy Birthday, rather belatedly. It may, or may not, make you feel better that I had you down, from your posts and twittery as some young whippersnapper of 28 or thereabouts. And, hurrah!, you are actually *older* than me (I’m heading up to my 37th, also a prime, but as a lady have, of course, a much earlier use-by date)…

    I hope you had some fine cigars, and a great prime birthday. I miss encyclopaedias, too. And, sometimes, I miss the type of lifestyle that comes with working one’s arse off. Not much, though. Not bloody much at all…

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Ahhhh, I am always up for being thought if as younger than I am. And that feeling does nothing more than increase every year. Thanks.

  • Nomadic Chick

    Can’t believe I missed your birthday, my friend. And sadly, I remember many of these things. But you really screwed up on not mentioning Charlie’s Angels. That was good cheese too! Hope you drank yourself silly like Melvin suggested!

  • Travel Fan

    Sorry I missed your birthday, dear. I tend to forget that you were born the year before me because of the school-grade thing. Could I celebrate it this year instead?

    I can’t imagine you reading the newspapers online! Sitting down with coffee and the sports section on Sunday mornings just seems like part of the fabric of “you”? *sigh* But the Kindle is more distressing.

    Happy VERY belated birthday (and many more).

  • Richard

    Happy Prime Birthday! I miss Magic Johnson too. Kind of along the sports theme, I miss when basketball players had unique skills and did more than just dunk. 🙂

  • Mariella

    I’m only 28 and I still agree with a lot of things on your list… and about books… I work with books so I love them in any form – printed and on my kindle – , but nothing will ever replace the feel and smell of a wellmade, preferably illustrated hardcover. Nothing like it. And I’m really really hanging onto my naive hope that the era of them is never coming to an end.

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