Reflecting on the Badass Things I’ve Been up to — Finally Traveling Internationally

I’ve talked about how I’ve been feeling very comfortable in life in a blog post before, but to sum that post up, I’ve been feeling myself getting too comfortable in life. It frequently feels like I’m just complacently allowing life happen to me, and I hate this feeling of complacency more than anything.

One of the things that I’m doing to combat this, is starting to actively think about just how lucky and grateful I am for the people and experiences I have in my life.

Although I find it is really important to live in the moment and be as present as possible, I also think it’s important reflect on life from time to time. Reflecting on life allows me to think about the amazing opportunities I’ve been given, look at how I have been changing as a person over time, and plan for where I want to go in the future. It’s a great way for me to remember some of the amazing stories I have, while also thinking about just how lucky I am.

After spending a lot of time writing down some of these stories, I realized that putting all of these stories into one blog post will be way too long. To make it a shorter post, I’ve broken each of the stories into their own blog posts. This will make this into more of a blog series instead of a single blog post.

The rest of the stories will be linked below once I post them:

  • Thailand — Traveling Halfway Across the World with Friends I Met Six Months Earlier
  • A Random Night out Turning into One of the Best Weekends I’ve Ever Had
  • 12 Hours in Vegas with the Homies
  • (and more to come?)

Another quick side note… While I was splitting this up into multiple blog posts, I accidentally deleted all of the other stories… I was trying to copy and paste them into a new draft but forgot to actually paste them. 🙃 So the next few stories might take a little longer to post than I was originally planning

In December of 2016 and January of 2017, I traveled to Europe to visit my best friend Sam in Greece. After hanging out with Sam in Greece, I was going to do some solo travel in Europe, and then finally I would meet my family in Italy. Sam had been studying abroad in Greece, which is what sparked the idea of going to Europe during winter break in the first place.

Sam is the type of friend that, every single time we are together there are some amazing stories to be told. This trip absolutely lived up to that theme of our friendship.

There are plenty of great memories from this trip like: being the only people on the entire island of Santorini(that’s an exaggeration, but honestly not a large exaggeration), discovering the perfect combination of a zombie(an alcoholic drink) paired with a Nutella waffle at a bar, listening to iSpy by KYLE so many times that I will always think of Greece, and specifically Santorini, when I hear it(Sam decided it was a good idea to play it on repeat WAY too many times), and many, many more stories. I have so many extraordinary memories from this trip, and I’m so thankful for all of them.

Out of all of these stories, one story sticks out in my mind and every single time I start to tell this story I smile a little bit.

As Sam and I were getting ready to fly back to Athens from Santorini, we decided it was only right to throw one last party for Sam’s last night in Greece. Sam had made a ton of really amazing friends while in Greece, so he started a Facebook event for the party, invited all of his friends, and got ready to throw the greatest going away party ever.

We landed in Athens and got back to the apartment around 10 pm. So as soon as we got there it was time to eat a Gyro and then party!

Sidebar: I miss the Gyro’s in Greece so, so much. I tried having one last week and it just wasn’t it same. 😭

So the party begins. We were drinking Champagne, Absinthe, and Jägermeister, what could possibly go wrong? This was a truly unique combination of liquors that also made for a truly unique night.

The night continued on like this for a while, and then it became time to move from the house party to a bar. The bar that we decided to go to was one that Sam and his friends frequently went to. This was also the bar that Sam discovered his love for a drink called a Zombie, which he introduced to me as soon as I got there.

The really cool part about getting a zombie at this bar was that when the drink was served it came out in a skeleton mug and the top was lit on fire. Since it was the last night we had in Greece, we thought it was only fitting for us to steal the mugs that the Zombies were served in. It was a souvenir for us to always remember our time in Greece.

We left the bar around 3:00 in the morning, and Sam has a flight at around 6:00 am. As soon as we got back to Sam’s apartment, Sam has to immediately get all of his things together and head to the airport. Thankfully, he let me stay at his apartment so I could get a few hours of sleep before my flight later the next morning.

So Sam left for the the airport, and I started to get ready for bed. All of a sudden, I noticed a carry on in Sam’s room that was not mine… Weird.

I immediately started texting Sam and Sam’s Girlfriend(who was also studying abroad in Greece, so they were flying back together) to see if it was his… Well, guess what?! It was.

So at 4 am, while I’m still terribly drunk, I had to take my large suitcase, my carry-on, AND Sam’s carry-on to the airport. Sounds fun, right? Wrong.

I frantically got all of my stuff packed in my bags and I started trying to figure out how I was going to get to the airport. During this process, I realized that I still had the mug that I stole. I didn’t want to break my mug in my suitcase, so instead, I just put it in my coat pocket until I could think of a better option later. Then I found a bus that would take me to the airport.

During our time in Athens, we used the bus system a few different times. Each time it was fairly straightforward and there were only a handful of people on the bus, but not this time. I was not at all prepared for the journey I had ahead of me.

As I’m drunk, and trying to haul three different rolling suitcases, the bus had 10 times, maybe 20 times, the number of people than what I had ever seen before. The bus was completely, I mean completely, full. I managed to squeeze me, and my bags, onto the very front of the bus. The door just barely shut behind me.

After a thirty-minute bus ride, I finally get to the airport. Sam was waiting for me outside of security to get his bag and I’m officially the best friend that there ever was. You might think the story is over there right? Wrong.

Since I’m already at the airport, I figure I might as well go ahead and check my bag, go through security, grab some food, and find a nice spot to sleep for a bit. It’s a flawless plan!

Well as it turns out, in Europe, you can’t check in to your flight, or check a bag, until two hours before your flight… It was 6:00 am and my flight wasn’t until ~12:00 pm.

Okay, that’s fine. I decided that I’ll just find a spot to post up, sleep outside of security, and keep track of both of my bags. I found a spot that looked good to throw my stuff and take a nap. As I’m getting ready to sit down, I nonchalantly dropped my coat on the ground. BOOM. The mug... The mug. was still. in my. coat… I worked so hard to get make sure that mug was safe and after all of that, I broke the mug.

Due to being absolutely defeated at this point, I didn’t even bother to look in my pocket or try to clean it up. I just wanted to nap.

A few hours went by, I got some sleep, ate some food, all that good stuff. Now, I was finally mentally prepared to deal with this freaking mug... I took a look in my coat pocket, the cup was shattered, exactly like I thought, but wait! The front face of the mug, the day of the dead face, was completely fine! I couldn’t believe it. I was so, so happy.

Yes, it was miserable to be in the middle of that experience, but in the end, it really wasn’t that bad. Now I have a great story to tell about my time in Greece, and I also have a broken cup to make me laugh about this story every time I see it on my shelf.

This story is all about the fact that if you’re willing to go with the flow and take things as they come, then there’s nothing you can’t get through or handle. I think that’s something I have always been good at. You can’t prepare for everything, so just make the best decisions you can in the moment and figure it out as things come up.

After hanging out with Sam in Greece, and doing a bit of solo traveling after that, my family met me in Italy just after Christmas. Italy was another period of my life where there are a ton of great memories, but there is one memory/saying that I will keep with me forever.

I forget when, where, why, or how this happened, but there was one night at dinner that I finished a bottle of wine my family was having with dinner. As I was pouring the last drops into my glass, I decided it would be funny to say “Killin’ bottles since ‘94.” My family thought it was hilarious.

From that point on, with every bottle of wine that was nearly emptied, my family would pass me the bottle to me and say something about “killing the bottle.” I think this was one of the first times my family had really experienced me drinking. I’m sure it was a fun and new experience for them as much as it was for me. This trip was also just a really fun vacation with my entire family and I’m so thankful to have experienced it with them.

I originally wrote this next section a few months ago(when my brother was actually getting married), but didn’t finish this blog or actually post it. So it’s quite a few month later, but the sentiment of this next part is still true.

As I’m wrapping up the final touches of this blog post, my brother recently married his amazing wife Amanda. I will be the first to admit that I am not very good at being close with either of my siblings, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love both Ian and Ryn very dearly. Obviously we have our differences and do our own things, but I always have and always will appreciate them. One of the ways this “being bad at being close” manifests itself is that I’ve been bad at telling both of them how proud and excited I am for them.

This trip to Italy was the first time I really spent an extended amount of time with my brother and his girlfriend, now wife. It was so nice to hang out with both of them and just see how they interacted with each other. No matter how goofy or strange my brother is, or how different the two of us are, I’ve always wanted the absolute best for him. And I know that he has found the best person for him with Amanda. So this is my way of telling both Ian and Amanda how happy and excited I am for them. It was such a pleasure to spend time with you two while we were in Europe, and I cannot wait to watch how your future unfolds together.

Congratulations Ian & Amanda!

Current: Head of Sales Engineering RapidAPI. Former: Head of Developer Relations RapidAPI, Founder of HackCU. Part-time adventurer, full-time hooligan

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