Marko Alpner, running, black and white

2k21: Year in Review

It all started with a surprise when Taco Polako named a dish after me. If you haven’t tried ALPI štručka yet, you’re missing out. Soon after it was available on the menu, it became a bestseller. How cool is that? Rok, Igor and the girls, I’m sincerely grateful for spoiling my ass the entire year. Thank you.

Besides my love for non-authentic authentic Mexican cuisine, a big portion of my focus revolved around food. Some of you might have noticed that in my daily Instagram stories. I published a few yearly highlights already, but a quick shoutout to some of the amazing people and places that made my 2k21 a gastronomic experience.

STOW Coffee Roasters, Vito Maccheroni, NjOKARNA, Anže Kranjec, Sasha’s Sweets, Breg, Sorbara Steak House, Andrej Jurejevčič, Sandra Pašić & Miha Rekar. Thank you!

All that food required me to do quite a bit of running and cycling, just to burn some of that calorie intake. And run and ride I did.

According to Strava‘s annual #yearinsport, my legs managed to travel the distance just shy of 14.000 kilometres with an elevation of roughly 70 kilometres. Overall, I was active on 341 days with 606 hours logged, with my longest streak of 106 days. Those numbers meant I achieved all the goals I set myself for the last year and enabled me to achieve a lifelong dream of running a sub-3-hour marathon. It was a special and tearful experience. Now, it’s time to beat some of those numbers in 2k22.

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Professionally, my day-to-day focus changed quite a bit. Writing CSS code while focusing on design and user experience as a web developer for Kaldi IT was my daily routine for years. Then came an annual review, where company founders Mirko & Aleš nudged me into a new and exciting role.

Project management is a challenge I am looking forward to every morning. Each day I feel more comfortable and capable about it, but I know I’m far from where I want to be. Long way to go, I’m sure, but I’m grateful to be a part of an environment that challenges me and at the same time enables me to grow.

Personally, it was a chaotic year full of ups and downs. I turned 30, got vaccinated, travelled to London and had an amazing time. Despite attending a bunch of events, I managed to avoid the virus for the time being. Wearing a face mask and voluntarily testing on a regular basis goes a long way.

I was quite successful with (re)building some bridges and, at the same time, burning down a few others. Went to therapy and realized that I could put a bit more work into toning down that demanding attitude to myself and managing the high expectations I have for the people around me.

I’m not gonna lie, but the general lack of empathy, kindness, and the inability to accept any kind of responsibility for thy own actions are making me disappointed, sad, and furious daily. Not good for my mental health, I know. The general focus I set myself is to find the little things in life that help plough through the hard days. I hope that we can all be a bit better this year. Hope, I know. A dangerous thing.

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My professional hobby? I don’t know about this one. If I’m supposed to rate it, 3.6 sounds like a realistic number. Not great, not terrible.

I regard myself primarily as a music photographer, but attending 56 concerts in a year isn’t much, especially if the majority of them are acoustic. Comparing this number to my statistics from 2k18 & 2k19 makes me feel miserable and furious about what the current situation and disgraceful ignorance of our government have caused to the music scene in Slovenia. Nevertheless, I still consider myself lucky and grateful just to be a part of a few highlights this past year.

Working with Siddharta is always a treat and I’ll never take it for granted. Thank you for the greatest birthday gift I couldn’t even dream of. To this day, I still get shivers down my spine just thinking about it. Love you all.

Returning to Tolmin as an official photographer alongside my brother-in-arms Klemen Udovč Clementino at MetalDays festival was a cure for my soul. I missed it, badly.

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Third, probably the most challenging pair of concerts in my career, but an experience I will never forget. Joker Out, that was special. Thank you and I hope we do that again sometime soon.

I got my work featured on a bunch of billboards, album artworks by Big Band RTV Slovenija collaborations with Teo Collori and Marko Churnchetz, Emkej‘s live release from Kino Šiška and Hamo & Tribute 2 Love from Cankarjev dom. Did I mention I love prints?

While shooting concerts & musicians, I also fell in love with another aspect of photography. Working on some special and unique projects for Ljubljana magazine helped me to expand my horizons and challenged me to tell stories in a new and different way. Capturing images of old artefacts, flying kites, Luka Doncic and meeting amazing people like TipoRenesansa‘s Marko Drpić to discover our capital like I’ve seen it for the first time. Thank you Nina Kožar, Nenad Senić & PM, poslovni mediji.

Also, did I mention I got to drive a Porsche? Nina Kožar can confirm that and is also the one to blame. We ended the year working with Hana Karim and Irena Fonda for two detailed interviews featured on the Porsche Center Ljubljana website. Check them out.

Still reading? Wow. You deserve a medal, but to be honest, I’m not done yet.

I realize I have way too many hobbies, but instead of ditching one or two, I added some more. Smart, I know.

#RMK: I can’t imagine my life without a quality mechanical keyboard. One goal I didn’t accomplish this year was building my own custom keyboard. Sort of. My first keycaps were ordered and paid for on February 5th. Guess what, I’m still waiting. Luckily, a friend who also values proper tactical feedback lent me one of his own for the time being, and to be completely honest – it makes my day, every day.

#WHISKY: A few years ago, I started to appreciate and discover how amazing whisky can be. With the help of like-minded friends, my collection expanded into something I’m proud of. Even though I still consider myself just a newbie, I might start to share more about it. The main goal is to find a group of people to share knowledge, appreciation and some tasting samples with, as I consider it an underappreciated drink here in Slovenia. Luckily companies like RR Selection & Belmond Premium Brands are expanding their catalogue and making some great whisky available on the market.

#LEGO: Planning a proper and limited budget (tnx Toshl) really helped me ‘treat’ my LEGO addiction this past year. It meant fewer new sets, but I re-learned the joy of researching and deciding on the possibilities the company offers. It was hard but worth it. I’ll try to keep the same rule this year and post details of the building process behind the sets I decide(ed) to pick. Maybe I’ll sell some of the old ones. Maybe.

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#COOKIES: Baking cookies is the latest one. I am frustrated with how easily most people are satisfied with an average, store-bought cookie. I realized I can’t change that. Instead, my idea was to spoil my closest friends, colleagues, and family and show them what a proper cookie should taste like. I consider my endeavours quite successful …

Back to food, are we? I think we made a full circle and I’ll try to end it here. If you managed to read all of it, you deserve one of those cookies.

Cover & thumbnail image by Damjan Končar.