Now I’m 30, Time for a new Bucket List

I recently arrived in Johannesburg for a month-long stay to finish a consulting project we began at the end of April. So much in life has changed since this time last year (and I’ll write about it when I’m unassigned again). I’ve turned 30, secured my life in Barcelona, fallen in and out of love, taken many hobbies further than I have been able to in the past and had some amazing experiences traveling the world both for work and pleasure. Funnily, many of the things on my last bucket list were accomplished without too much effort of my own showing how putting it down on paper and focusing on what I want brings positive enriching experiences into my life.

To continue the trend I’m updating my bucket list for 30 (over a month late, but here it goes!):

  1. Get debt free
  2. Run a sub-4 hour marathon
  3. Learn to speak French
  4. Get my flexibility back
  5. Get my 6-pack back
  6. Start my own side business
  7. Write my family history
  8. Learn to drive a manual car
  9. Go road tripping around Catalunya
  10. Join a running club
  11. Complete a half marathon in 1:50
  12. Try surfing in Hawaii
  13. Visit my parent’s countries
  14. Buy an apartment of my own
  15. Run a sub-8 minute per mile 10K
  16. Try a new extreme sport
  17. Go to more networking events
  18. Do a Priorat wine tasting tour
  19. Go climbing in Margalef
  20. Go sailing to Greece or Croatia
  21. Do the Camino de Santiago
  22. Travel to Australia
  23. Start learning Catalan
  24. Perform at an open mic night
  25. Start cooking more often (and complex dishes)
  26. Do more travel through Europe
  27. Travel to North Western Spain
  28. Hike a volcano
  29. Go camping alone
  30. Travel to Brazil for carnaval

I’ve packed a lot of travel into there. Maybe work will take me to some places and I’ll have another great project manager who give free time on the weekend. I can’t wait to get back to Barcelona life and start checking some of these off the list!

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I love Krabi, Thailand! (And a little bit of Bangkok)

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While getting there required more transportation that I could imagine:

Taxi Van: Villa to Nathan Pier
Speed Walk/Run: Taxi left us at the wrong side!
Ferry: Koh Samui to Surat Thani
Bus: Surat Thani to Krabi Town
Shuttle Van: Krabi Town to Port
High Speed Boat: Port to Hotel

I absolutely loved my short stay in Krabi Thailand! Now here were the beautiful beaches and nature that I was looking for and unable to find on Koh Samui! We stayed at the Centara Grand, which was only accessible by boat making it all the more unique and beautiful. With a natural park behind us the hotel was surrounded by rocks, making this area a climbers paradise. Unfortunately, I wasn’t with climber friends and I didn’t have my climbing shoes with me. I kept thinking to myself that I have to come back here and get on those rocks! There was even one spot (that I didn’t get to capture on camera) that has rope ladders landing into the water and people boulder up and jump back into the water. It looked so amazing and fun!

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We got to experience an incredibly colorful sunset from the beach out front of our villa, transforming from a bright yellow to neon orange to vibrant pink. I could put 20 more pictures of this sunset, but I’ll spare you the repetition. Then again, nothing could be more impactful that seeing it in person. =)

Leaving the villa at night for mainland Krabi proved a bit difficult as the last shuttle boat returned at 11:30. No late night partying for us! So we ended up getting an amazing meal at the number one restaurant on Trip Advisor, checking out our empty hotel bar, and calling it a night earlier than expected. But that was okay because we planned to adventure around a bit the next morning!
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During the second day of our stay, we hired a private long-tail boat for the day and jet around to four islands near by (which I can’t remember the names of…). This is where we saw some of the most amazing beaches. I was enjoying it too much to even take many pictures. After the first stop, we completely abandoned out clothes and bags and spend the rest of the day in swimwear hoping from beach to beach, drinking lots of coconut water and Singha, swimming, with a short stop for some amazing snorkeling midway through.IMG_7409

At our first stop on the boat there was a cave shrine devoted to fertility where there were hundreds and hundreds of wooden penises of all shapes, sizes and colors. Super random!

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Besides what looked like some nice climbs, my favorite part of this beach was the food boats! I wish they had gone to all of the other islands. When we got to one beach later one, the one little shack who sold food was out of coconuts and beer. HUGE distribution problem (…and I don’t need to be a strategy consultant to see that)! Such a killer opportunity missed for this little dude with all the tourists about.

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The boat rides were great. We came and went as we pleased. The guide/driver, however, was not very talkative. And that conversation often went like this “Snorkel?” “Yes.”….stops boat and points to snorkeling gear. But the snorkeling was in itself amazing. So many different fish and other sea creatures…some that looked like giant purple vaginas, thus competing the journey after our penis adventure before. I wish I had an underwater camera. And, I wish we had more days to spend in Krabi. But, it was off to Bangkok that next morning for the long trip back home to Barna. IMG_7420

I did however have time for a few quick stops in Bangkok before heading to the airport. We hit one temple Wat Poh to see the giant lying Buddha. It was super touristic (see Japanese tourists on the bottom left…) but beautiful to take in. I could not imagine going in here to pray under those conditions, but if it was quiet it would have been a nice peaceful place. IMG_7424

Lastly, we hit up an amazing rooftop bar for a killer sunset and some drinks. Here’s one view of the city spanning out below us. And with some strong piña coladas my Thailand New Year’s Eve adventure was over. Completely worth the 20 hours of travel back home. (Someone please remind me that long layover are the devil and to just pay the extra few hundred dollars next time!)

Ringing in the New Year in Koh Samui, Thailand

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This year was the first year in my life that I didn’t celebrate NYE in New York. I decided to join some friends from the MBA in Koh Samui, Thailand to ring in the new year from an ultra luxury villa on top on Bo Phut Hills. And what a fantastic idea what was! Equipped with private chefs and the ability to order in spa services (massage everyday!) there was very little that got us out of this villa. What an amazing way to say hello to 2015!

I dream about the sunrise and sunset from this amazing house. Every new year should be this special. We didn’t explore to much of the island, just a few beaches (Coral Cove and Crystal Bay were full of trash! ew!) and Fisherman’s village. The village was cool, basically a little market leading to the beach where we found a nice spot for drinks in the sand. It was a great spot to jump our 7 waves and get 7 wishes for the year to come. Let’s see if they come true!

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Bouldering in Brooklyn

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After having gone for the first time to Brooklyn Bounders with my friend Eunice, I kick myself for not having joined here 3 years ago when she first started talking to me about it. Before the MBA I’m been climbing maybe 2 times and enjoyed it, but never fully committed to it. But, after meeting a friend in the MBA, and I think really seeing his intense passion for it, I wanted to try more and did a bunch. Even climbing outdoors a few times.

So this Christmas break, equipped with my own climbing shoes, Eunice and I decided to have a fun date and go bouldering for the day. Brooklyn bounders was amazing. Super huge space with lots of different walls, even ones with auto-belay, so no need for a partner. That was super cool. I would love to live closer to this to be able to go with her more. But, I made a commitment to myself that I would start going to the gym in Barcelona by myself to get better. She looked really good climbing, so fluid, I want to get those kinds of skills. And now that I’ve bouldered once alone, I can completely see going by myself and just practicing over and over on a day when I’m not on a project for work. IMG_7173Here’s me taking on a simple climb that got a bit scary further up, but the good kind of fear. After this, I even contemplated going again before I leave for Barna. But there’s so much more to do get ready before I leave so no time at all. I’ll work on my arm muscle strength in the meantime. But, the next great adventure in Thailand awaits!

 

Catalan Christmas Traditions!

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I learn something new every year that I am in Spain about the traditions during Christmas time (not to mention all of the festivities during the rest of the year). Above is a picture of a giant pasta shell, that is a symbol of Christmas because it is use in a Catalan soup made for Christmas day. And the city has decided to place many of them around the city. It’s not quite holly, but it is quite interesting. You can find them “hidden” or placed rather, all over the city.

As of course is our old friend Caga Tío. The log that poops out presents for little kids once feed sufficiently and beaten. Last night, I had a little christmas gathering with my friends where we did a pongo (like secret santa/white elephant, but with silly gifts) and participated in my first beating of the Tío. My Tío is quite small (and I think it’s time to invest in a bigger log) but you can see the amazement on young Miguelitos face as miraculously, after we went to the kitchen to wet the stick with which he would beat the Tío, a present was pooped out under the blanket for Miguel to enjoy. (This was Júlia’s family tradition to wet the stick, because of course that makes the poop come out faster!) Holidays in Catalunya never get old.

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Timesburg: Amazing Burgers in BCN!

IMG_7102I have sought far and wide to find an amazing burger in this town and with my trip this afternoon to Timesburg in Poble Nou, I think my search has ended (or atleast reach a high note!). Because I can’t resist queso de cabra I chose the Cabra – 200 grams of beef, queso de cabra, caramelized onions, tomato, rucola, cranberry jam, and the special Timesburg mayo. Absolutely heavenly! Real beef, cooked well and the branded bun was hilarious. There was a bit too much bread for my liking (especially since it was a massive burger!) but that was easily solved by eating my second half sans bun.

IMG_7100The fries were similarly delectable. Obviously fresh-cut and sprinkled with sea salt. The chili ketchup on the table went really well with them (and was in no way spicy. If we were hungrier we would not have shared just one ration.

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And adding to the experience was of course the ambiance. Great decor, comfortable eclectic seating. You queue to place you order from a sheet with check boxes and pick a table, but it didn’t feel like a fast food experience in any way. There is even an upstairs to accommodate spillover from the first floor. Absolutely highly recommend. I can’t wait for round two when I try the location closer to my place next week. Yum!!

 

 

2014, What a year!

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And it’s not over yet! I recently has a bit of an emotional time and as I sit on my couch this Sunday morning I thought what better thing to do this 7th of December than reflect back on all of the accomplishments and happenings of this past year to put things into better perspective. It’s probably mundane to read, but this is just for me.

January
– Rang in the NY with great friends back in NY. The last time we would ever spend in that apartment together. And maybe all together for a long time
– Ended a rocky relationship that just wasn’t right for either of us
– Experienced the Turkish baths in Barcelona with a great friend who has now moved to South Africa
– Went to Joan Miro for the first time. Good bucket list check
– Played football one last time against the girls from IESE

February
– Saw the Deloitte sports event I was planning come to fruition through the next Sports Business Club president
– Found the perfect venue for graduation

March
– Took a paella class with on of my best friends and his sister
– Met the parents of my great friends from the MBA and spent some amazing time partying with them
– Got my dad to drink cocktails and party to 4am
– Fallas!! Need I say more!
– Graduated from ESADE with an MBA and had an amazing success with the party
– Many goodbye dinners and parties
– Planned to stay until the end of May to job search. If nothing move back in June…

April
– Went camping for the first time
– Starting helping a small company do marketing for a marathon in Ethiopia
– Celebrated Easter with some great friends over Greg’s meatloaf, with a new drawing of sexy Jesus hanging over the table
– Ran the Cursa Bombers and in turn got a job less than two weeks later! (well an internship to start). Right on time for beginning of May and to relieve my stressed out soul.
– Traveled to Menorca with the three amazing ladies for one last, last-minute adventure before starting to work again

May
– Thought I was moving back to NY for three months, ended up staying and getting to keep my apt. Quite a kismet moment
– Restarted my intercambio that was lost a bit in the hectic time at the end of the MBA
– Decided to take a risk in love and not right off one bad night
– Said goodbye to my lovely Thai friends who was starting an amazing new adventure at Google in Sydney after living together for a few months

June
– Turned 29…one more year to go before 30…
– Went to Sonar and feel in love with the music of FM Belfast and had some hilarious moments with my Brazilian friends
– Bought an acoustic guitar again and jammed with a good friend on his uke
– Went camping a second time in Vall de Nuria

July
– Tried slacklineing for the first time
– Offered a full-time position at my company!
– Went on my first consulting trip to Serbia and it was a success
– Started dinners with Marta and Ramon

August
– Celebrated one day of Festes de Gracia before going to Tanzania to start my second consulting project
– Traveled all around Tanzania doing field research

September
– Went to Zanzibar…albeit to work the whole time. But we got a few hours to see it.
– Learned how to market size while one a one week trip home from Tanzi
– Went on Safari in Selous Game Reserve. Wow. Such an unforgettable experience.

October
– Did some analysis that I was super proud of and was well received by the client
– Came home for one more visit and thankfully had the dates work out well so that I could see an important person twice
– Ended the Tanzanian project with a great review from the client and an extreme love of Africa. I want to go back!

November
– Made the hard decision to tell someone I love them, not matter the consequence
– Traveled to London and Paris to visit great friends from the MBA that I hadn’t seen in a few months
– Held the beautiful new baby boy of my crazy Catalan friend
– Started a second intercambio and friend finding mission (I’ve been feeling stressed about meeting new people, but I realize now I’ve only been home for a month since this project ended. That’s not so much time.)
– Didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving for the first time in my life, but had a great dinner nonetheless
– Went to a Chemical Brother’s DJ set that was phenomenal and smiled so much that my jaw was sore the next day

December
– Got over my bad feelings from the relationship of January and have had friendly emails. Also, made a list of things I was happy about during that time
– Sewed my first pillow. While a completely random event it was nice to create something and feel like I was learning
– Made another hard decision to give up on something I really want
– Met more Catalan youth, had a silly time, and realized how much I feel the pull of my 30. I can’t have the same fun with 23-26 year olds. I miss the MBA…

So what’s to come. More amazing things. While I don’t feel completely settled into life in Barcelona yet I’m getting there. I’ve been getting my exercise routine in check, redecorating my place to make it feel more like me, planning for a little Christmas party, playing my guitar, working on my 5 and 10 years plans so I don’t feel so unfulfilled. A great deal of good time with myself is not going to waste. And I have an amazing trip home and to Thailand coming up. Should all go to plan. I’m ready to enjoy the rest of December and ring in the new year on a positive note!!