2006. Age 21. Madrid, Spain

The caption was: “No palm trees in Boston…”

Why did I choose this photo?

I took a two-week accelerated Spanish class at the University of St. Louis, Madrid, which counted as credit towards my graduation requirements for my Bachelor’s.

When I began thinking about what to write for this blog, “an old photo of me”, this one immediately came to mind, so I went with it. This photo was taken just outside the Hard Rock Café in Madrid, Spain the night before I flew home. Looking back on this, it was one of the best times of my life. And if I were to think back about the last moment when I remember being a “kid”, I guess it was then.

When I flew home the next afternoon, I returned to my regular classes the following week, graduated a few months later, and immediately found a full time job and an apartment. It wasn’t my dream job by any means, but it was a job, and suddenly I had bills to pay. It was time to be an adult.

I remember before boarding my international flight at JFK airport to Madrid, I hugged my dad goodbye and he said, “I wish I could have done something like this at your age. After you finish school, you’re going to start working, and then your life becomes something you have to balance. The work/life balance is tough. You may have time, you may have money, but it’s tough to have both at the same time. Live it up because you may never get a chance to do it again.”

He was right.

Ten years later, most of you know how crazy (but awesome) my life is. But vacation? I probably don’t take enough of those. I do plan on returning to Spain again some day, and I’m sure I will love it just as much as the first time.

But when you love what you do, you don’t need a vacation from it.

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