During my 10-month journey in Europe, one of the stops I was most excited for was Barcelona.
Barcelona was a place I’ve heard of many times, but never pictured myself visiting.
Growing up playing FIFA, Barcelona was one of the top teams. Naturally, I was a fan of the city because Leonel Messi was one of the best players in the game.
One night in the library during graduate school, I was studying for a final exam that I had the next day. I had been talking to my friend Angel for weeks leading up to today because she mentioned how she planned to spend her birthday in Barcelona.
I said I would join her but it was one of those times where I was just saying it to say it. I didn’t know if / when I would actually go.
Well, the time came.
I realized majority of my classmates were traveling after the exam because we had a two-week break before our next final.
Not to be left out, I texted my mom and told her my plans.
My mom only had one rule. Whenever I traveled, I had to bring someone with me.
It made sense. Would you want your son / daughter traveling to a foreign country alone?
I told my mom I was going to be traveling with Angel who played on the woman’s professional team — and she was also one of the only Americans at the university.
This was sort of a lie because I wasn’t technically traveling with Angel, but Angel was going to be in the city at the same time as me.
The night before my flight I was anxious and scared. This was the first time I would be traveling alone.
I felt that fear up until the time I landed in Barcelona.
On my way out of the airport, I spotted a young guy with a Duke backpack.
Immediately, I knew I had to speak to him.
He walked up to the coin exchange, I tapped him, and made small conversation.
“You went to Duke?” I said.
His name was Alex, and it turned out he knew some of the guys I grew up with that had later gone on to play lacrosse at Duke.
We were both shocked and relieved by how we had randomly met in the airport in a foreign country, and had known some of the same people.
We quickly became friends and stuck with each other that whole first day in the city.
As the trip went on, the conversations grew deeper, and he mentioned how he had been writing a book.
He believes everyone should live their lives based on 30-day challenges.
At the time, I was writing my book which I still am very optimistic about, but his book is something I would have never thought of.
To elaborate, let’s say you decide to go 30 days with no rice or bread. Then afterward, 30 days of no social media, then 30 days no alcohol. After the 30 days you are free to pick up the habit that you dropped if you want, but the practice of just living without something you leaned on, if you will, for 30 days gives you a sense of accomplishment. It’s freeing.
Because of this experience that I will never forget, I have finally decided to live my life by 30 day challenges.
I have one more week left of my no Instagram challenge, and it feels great. I’ve been able to focus on what matters, and I feel freed from what used to take a substantial amount of my attention. I must decide what I want to give up for my next 30 days, but my thought is that it will be alcohol. This certainly won’t be easy being that it will be in the middle of the summer, but if I’m able to give up alcohol for 30 days now, what won’t I be able to do?