New year. New job. New state.

First of all, welcome to my version of a "year-end holiday card update from Shawn". As some of you may already know, last year was full of big changes for me. It included starting a new career out in Silicon Valley, moving across the country, and a bunch of exciting family events.

Silicon Valley

Probably the biggest change for me in 2015 was the move out to California for my new job. July marked my 3 year anniversary with Sogeti and I decided that it was time to move on and see what else was available. While visiting a friend in California, I was introduced to Dynamic Signal and proceeded to pursue one of their open positions that happened to align perfectly with my experience and career goals. The move wasn't easy as it put me thousands of miles away from my family but they have been nothing but supportive and the impact it has had on my career has been outstanding.

"Hey bro, let me tell you about my startup..."

​I reside in Palo Alto, home to Stanford University and the epicenter of Silicon Valley. Also conveniently 30 miles south of San Francisco, who claims the title of Super Bowl host this year, and 15 miles north of Levi's Stadium in San Jose, where the game will actually play. That's 45 miles for those of you counting.

Misc Adventures

Shades State Park (May)

Spent a whole day hiking every trail here by myself. Highly recommend for all of my Indiana friends!

Inside one of the many ravines inside Shades State Park

Yosemite (April)

Before I moved out to California, I came out to visit Madison (now girlfriend) and take a trip to Yosemite National Park. We went hiking all day on Four Mile Trail and got to see stunning views of Yosemite Falls, El Capitan, and Half Dome. It was an amazing trip and I encourage everyone to visit there at least once during their lifetime.

Madison and I in Yosemite
A view from above Yosemite

The Lost Coast (July)

When I moved to California, I had about a week before I started work and managed to participate in an extended backpacking trip to the Lost Coast with a bunch of friends over 4th of July weekend. Over the course of a couple days we hiked across miles of blackened beaches, saw a beached whale, climbed King's Range up a ridiculously steep incline to the other side where it was blistering hot, and then came back down the other side. The scenery was absolutely beautiful. Pictures don't do it justice but they certainly help give you an idea.

A look back at the beach we just finished hiking on the Lost Coast
A view for royalty atop King's Peak

Wedding Bells (July)

This year I was honored to be in my brother's wedding. The weather was beautifully hot and it was really awesome to see the two families come together and celebrate.

Jeff's Wedding

Flat Stanley (Fall)

While in California, I want to make sure I take advantage of everything the West Coast has to offer while I'm here. My nephew's (Graham) class participated in the Flat Stanley program and he proceeded to send his Flat Stanley out to California to visit me. This gave me even more incentive to travel around the area and document places like Big Sur, Golden Gate Park, and the Santa Cruz boardwalk for the kids back in Indiana to learn about.

Flat Stanley overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge

Memphis (November)

For Thanksgiving, I traveled with Madison to her hometown of Memphis, Tennesee. While we were there I was treated with unparalled southern hospitality, tons of barbeque, drinking until the sun came up, good cooking, and endless baked goods from Muddy's Bake Shop. We visited the Peabody Hotel (home to a few unusual residents), Memphis University, the house where she grew up, her dad's shop, the Lorraine Motel, and much more. I had a blast and look forward to going back.

Before I die I want to... (Jerry's Sno Cones in Memphis)
Madison and I enjoying some of her hometown sno cones

Star Wars 7-Movie Marathon (December)

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to participate in a 7-movie marathon leading up to the release of the newest Star Wars film. Needless to say, it was an experience and well worth it. That being said, I don't believe I will ever be doing that again.

Carmel & Big Sur (December)

Considering the expense of moving across the country, I wasn't able to spend the holidays in Indiana this year. Thankfully we live in a day in age where we can FaceTime with our loved ones across the globe in real-time. This is exactly what I did this past holiday season from Carmel, California. Carmel is a quaint town near Monterrey and Big Sur. Madison and I spent the week dog-sitting for some friends and enjoying the beaches and amazing surroundings including the Esalen Hot Springs.

Hanging out on the beach near Point Lobos
Parked on Highway 1 and made our way to this little patch of beach for some peace and relaxation
Exercising the dogs, Murphy and River, on Pebble Beach near Carmel.
Madison and I at McWay Falls

Misc Photos

Here are some miscellaneous photos from some things I did last year.

Enjoying the Bay on a beautiful day
Monterrey, CA near Cannery Row
The cliffs at Año Nuevo State Reserve
Elephant seals on the shore of Año Nuevo preparing for mating season
Disney on Ice with Madison and Pascal
Hanging out in Memphis with Madison, her dad, and her aunt
My awesome team at ADESA before I left consulting
Madison took me to my first musical (Lion King) and it was awesome