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The best parts of 2020

It is becoming a personal tradition to thoroughly look back at my year and ahead to the next. A week from now I will have my first proper time off of the year which I am excited to spend on a thorough review of the year my goals but let us start with the fun stuff.

Project: Home renovation

My main goal this year was to build my home and build my home I did. I bought my home in January, started demolition in March, construction in May and I moved back in on October 24th. It has been the toughest project of my life, but I am proud of how I managed it and the result is quite amazing.

A timelapse of my home renovation in 2020

Runner up project was designing and building a campaign website with my friends Sythe & Stef for a non-profit organisation. Sadly the page is still waiting to go live (related to political developments) but it was great to take on a project by myself again for the first time in year and to do this together with 2 great colleagues and friends. It reminded me of my ambition to lead my own company one day.

Run: Run – Swim – Run

A sunny selfie photo of Folkert and Bram at the beach.

2020 was not a great year in terms of great runs. No races nor exotic locations. But at least there was the return to running with my ultimate running buddy Folkert. We had an awesome summer run in the dunes, including a refreshing dip in the sea. Glad to see you back in form, Folkert. Let’s keep this up in the new year.

Runner up (haha) to this run-swim-run took place only yesterday (december 11th, 2020). My brother told me he thought the “Brettenpad” might be an interesting extension of my regular Westerpark training ground (it’s the park closest to my home). I had assumed this wasn’t interesting because it was only paved roads, but boy was I wrong! Thanks bro :)

Drive: Porsche Taycan Turbo S

A photo of a blue Porsche Taycan Turbo S charging at a FastNed charging station.
'This car is electric!'

You might say it is a bit easy, giving the win to a Porsche again. But it gave me the drive of my life. It is the most exciting Porsche, the most exciting electric car, the most powerful car I have driven in my life and I think it’s one of best looking new models created by Porsche since the (2nd gen.) Cayman.

I still get buzzed when I think back to this ride. I was able to drive it for a full day and share it with my father, sister and nephew. I will never forget my sister’s scream when we tried the 0-2,8s launch. Thanks again, Rutger 🙏

The only thing I would change is the name. I keep calling it the Mission E, after it’s prototype predecessor.

Runner up to the Taycan was my spring sunset drive from Oosterbeek to home (Amsterdam) along the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. I had just dropped my hard top at my sister’s, switched off my navigation, and enjoyed the hills, river views and sunny weather. The ultimate roadster experience.

Book: Normal People by Sally Rooney

I read quite a few great and inspiring books this year. But looking back at my reading list, this one pops out the most. I finished the book before I knew it because I couldn’t stop reading it. It’s a story about family, friendship and love in a for me very familiar setting. I loved it!

Check out Normal People on GoodReads.

Runner up to Normal People is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I was amazed how I read this 60 year old classic in the same way I read Normal People. Thanks for this timeless birthday present, Joost! 💝

Album: Punisher, Phoebe Bridgers

This album got to me. Straight to the nerves, bone & heart. Bridgers' lyrics, voice and the album’s production are top notch. To me it seems she’s a classic talent while fully rooted in her own time. DVD Menu is the best song title and I can’t stop listening (and loudly singing along) to Graceland Too. Sorry Eefje, I think I want to marry Phoebe now..

Listen to Punisher on Spotify.

Runner up to Pheebs is Eefje de Visser with Bitterzoet (‘Bitter Sweet’ in Dutch). I recently discovered I am her top listener on last.fm (and probably Spotify too). And it’s because she released yet another great album in January this year. I haven’t been able to stop listening to her music from her first album but it’s great to follow along with her evolution to this point.

Listen to Bitterzoet on Spotify.

Film: The New Pope

The New Pope is a sometimes hilarious and other times touching take on the “modern” Vatican starring John Malkovich & Jude Law. It’s beautifully stylised and the cast is an incredible mix of Hollywood class and Italian character.

This intro alone convinced me to watch The New Pope.

I read about Sorrentino’s The New Pope on the Guardian without realising there had been a prequel. I was wondering if Sorrentino was leaving out things on purpose and I needed patience to find out which made watching The New Pope all the more fascinating to me. But after finishing I found out The Young Pope had been there already. A bit confusing, but I only love the series more for it.

Spoiler alert: do not watch if you have not watched Mando Season 1 yet!

Runner up to The New Pope is The Mandalorian. Season 2 is just what any true Star Wars fan has been longing for since the original trilogy. With every film coming out since Episode 1 I was always exciting, but I got more and more disillusioned. The Mandalorian makes up for the Disneyfication by being rough around the edges, having a solid (enough) cast and connecting a lot of the interesting story lines in the universe. Keep it coming!

TV: SV Delos

I am not sure how I discovered SV Delos, but I started following American Brian and Swedish Karen on their sailing journey somewhere in the Caribbean. It was good fun and it felt like a vacation alternative to me. If you can stand their personalities and a bit of repetition be sure to start at their first episodes for the full experience.

Never Too Small in Bramsterdam!

Runner up to SV Delos is Never Too Small. A channel fully focused on showing off well designed, small apartments. Their videos are very, very well made and it has been inspiring me with inventive solutions to create (the experience of) space in tiny homes. Oh and I love those Aussie accents, ending every sentence on a high.

Gear: Oura Ring

The Oura Ring I bough a year ago as an experiment next to my Apple Watch. A year later my Apple Watch is broken and I do not feel he need to really get it fixed, because the ring is bringing most of the value the Apple Watch brought me. Pretty incredible, right?

A screenshot of the Oura Ring app telling Bram to take it easy.
Sleep is important...

The Oura Ring not only replaces the Apple Watch in monitoring certain aspects of my fitness & health. Oura also manages to bring me way better insights. This partly because I do not mind wearing it at night too (which bring the most valuable measurements) but also because they give the right amount of advice as to what to do with it.

Runner up to the Oura Ring is my Aer Fit Pack. Yes, it is a backpack. I was already happy with my Aer Travel Pack, but I only use it for longer trips (which this year were not really on the menu). The Fit Pack is just perfect for daily carry. It fits (and protects) all my working gear while still providing space for groceries, sportswear or even over night trips. With the X-Pac material it is also fully water proof, which is a must-have in the rainy Netherlands.

Check out the Aer Fit Pack 2 X-Pac. Sorry it’s sold out. But be sure to check their other bags, they are all super comfy and extremely durable.

There you go. A quick write up of one of the many things I loved about this year. I mainly write them for myself, but I think it is nice to share. Let me know what you think of my favourite parts. And what were your best parts of 2020?

Cheers, Bram