These two sound quite different, and the second form even sounds more sophisticated, but is there any real difference?
The two are equivalent.
Think of "so far" as acting as an adverb. Substitute now and you can say:
But if you are following it with a list, I would suggest you use the latter construction.
That way you put the noun that represents the list in apposition to the list itself.
Not an answer, but be aware of the (slightly obtuse) alternative reading, in the sense 'a trying experience':
or, the other way