As I start writing this, it’s been 365 days, 00hrs, and 3 minutes since I started my Texas timer. So, at precisely this time last year, I was waiting vainly for my luggage to fail to arrive at DFW airport and was then whisked away on the wrong side of the road to look after a cat, 6 goldfish and a turtle.

It’s common at a milestone like this to look back and reflect on all the goings on: things that have changed, things that went well, things that went badly, lessons learnt and the like.

I am pleased to say that a great many good things have happened this year. I have worked on an awesome once-in-a-lifetime (well, once every 20 years) project with some of the smartest people in my industry. I have learnt a lot and have had an opportunity to have a great deal of fun in the process.

I got a lovely lakeside apartment with a beautiful view. I earned a lot, spent a lot, saved a little, gave away a bit and was taxed far too much.

I bought my dream car for cash and have driven it something in the order of 30,000 miles, sometimes far too quickly. I’ve driven to Houston, Galveston, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Austin. I’ve flown to Portland, Vegas, LA. I’ve seen Disneyland, Hollywood, the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon.

I’ve come out, been rejected, accepted, ignored and applauded. Found the largest gay church in the world, in the middle of the Bible-belt, went to my first gay bar, my second, my third. I went to a nude beach and survived to tell the tale. I have had my fill of guns but just can’t get enough Tex Mex and margaritas. I’ve gained just a little bit of weight and not a even a little bit of muscle. I’ve made a number of friends from varying walks of life, all convinced they don’t have an accent.

I’ve been in love, been broken hearted, experienced elation, depression, paranoia, psychosis, suicide threats second-handed. I’ve had far too little sex and far too many blood tests. I’ve taken gigabytes of pictures, sung hundreds of songs, laughed cried and been drunk, not necessarily in that order.

I’ve experienced 100 degree temperatures and skidded on icy roads, I’ve been bored at work and stressed out of my mind at home. I’ve had more than a few storms blow over.

The thing I will miss the most about this whole experience is the long drive home. That infinitely quiet and personal time: just me, my car and my radio, winding down the day, the Texas landscape stretching out in every direction as far as the eye can see. That is contentment, and that is perhaps my greatest achievement out here, so far away from home.

Three hours have passed since I started writing this. At this time last year I was just about to nod off when my luggage arrived, and my journey began in earnest.