Thursday, June 28, 2007

Rome, Madrid, Seville, Ibiza and more!

The countdown begins. I didn't think I'd have the money, but thanks to a Vueling airline sale, I will be traveling 17 of the 31 days in July. To view my July travel plans, see the list below or click on the calendar image below. Notice how I intentionally kept 3 of 4 weekends free. This will allow me to enjoy my remaining weekends in Barcelona, while traveling during the weekdays.

  • Madrid June 28th - July 4th
  • Seville July 8th - 10th
  • Ibiza July 11th - 12th
  • Malaga July 17th-18th
  • Granada July 19th - 20th
  • Rome July 22nd - 25th
  • United States July 31st

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Life Truths ???

Are there certain truths that are absolutes in life? I recently saw the list below. I wish I could remember where so I could give credit where it is due. Feel free to add any of your own "life truths" in the comments.

  1. Don't worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.
  2. Don't be reckless with other people's hearts, don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.
  3. Don't waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind…the race is long, and in the end, it's only with yourself.
  4. Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh never mind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don't be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.
  5. Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.
  6. Get to know your parents, you never know when they'll be gone for good.
  7. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
  8. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.
  9. Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.
  10. Travel.
  11. Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.
  12. Live in the moment, for tomorrow you will wish for today.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dont' touch the fruit

Today I saw a grown woman cry in front of me because someone touched her bananas. Let me explain. In Spain, many of the fruit stands, know as fruterias, don't allow you pick your own produce. You tell them what you want and they run around it get it for you. The store owner was in the process of getting my fruit when a guy walked up, picked one banana and asked he how much. Big mistake. At this point, she started crying and said "you can't touch the fruit", "the bananas are ruined", etc. I was shocked at her reaction, especially since had this particular guy touched my banana I most defiantly would not have cried.

Girona, Spain

Girona is a very small town 1 hour outside of Barcelona. I have been to the Girona airport several times, but never in the city center. Multiple people suggested that I visit, so Annette and I took a day trip. Girona has some nice parts, but overall I was a bit disappointed. Below are some photos.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Entering the War Zone

This weekend was the first time that I was worried about my safety in Spain. This weekend was St. Juan, which is similar to the United States 4th of July, but on crack. All of Barcelona flock to the beaches to drink, dance and blow off their fingers , er, I mean light fireworks.

The first thing I saw as I approached Bogtell beach was an ambulance speeding down the road with its lights flashing and siren roaring. Not a good sign.

I was stunned as I watched young children light massive fire works as their parents smiled with approval from a safe distance. In typical Spanish fashion, there were no police anywhere.

I felt like I was in a war zone. The large fireworks exploded like bombs while smaller fireworks reminded me of machine gun fire. Airborne fireworks lit the sky, giving it an eerie glow. It was like this for at least 5 hours. The world could have ended and no one would have noticed.

As it got later, more people filled the beaches and the fireworks (thankfully) slowed. Around 6 A.M. many people got naked and jumped into the Mediterranean. Everyone was having fun dancing and partying to the thumping house music that filled the warm night time air. It was Spanish beach partying at its best.

Next up? My countdown until my departue on July 31st. More on my crazy travel plans soon...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Marbella Beach Party

After the Sonar craziness, my friends and I went to a beach party at Marbella. Below are a few photos with more here. As you may be able to tell, I really enjoy Barcelona during the summer.

Kris, Sandy, Jose, Keyan, Me

Me, Jose

Kris & Chris

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sonar Night

Below are some of the Sonar night photos. View the full photo gallery here.
P.S. No, I have no idea why I was making the peace sign all night.

Sonar Day 2007 Photos

A few photos from Sonar day 2007. More from Sonar night to follow soon.

Barcelona Parc Guell Party

My good friend Keyan plans events and parties in Barcelona. His company held a 2,500 person dinner in Parc Guell last Friday. Apparently it was last time the city allowed a private company to rent the parc. He was kind enough to get me a ticket. Free food, drinks and live entertainment contributed to a fun night. Below are a few photos of the entertainment. Thanks again, Keyan!

P.S. Yes, that women is naked. This was a business party. Yes, it's normal. Welcome to Europe.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Embracing Randomness

I’ve learned to embrace the randomness in life. It’s amazing where it can lead you.

One recent example led me to score a free ticket to Sonar, an annual festival of progressive music and multimedia arts. This saved me $50, provided an opportunity to meet several interesting people, hear cutting edge music and see some remarkable art. I now understand why people rank it as one of the best music & art festivals in Europe. Photos to come soon…

I’ve had some amazing experiences by putting myself in situations that allow randomness to occur. Embrace the randomness in life's interactions.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Sant Antonio

Del Meson de Sant Antonio is one example of the many streets that you can hastefully walk past without noticing when unfamiliar becomes familiar.

Pl de Francesc Maciá Barcelona

Plaza de Francesc Maciá in Barcelona Spain

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Barcelona Photos

More photos taken while walking through the streets of Barcelona. Remember, you can see all my photos by clicking on the links on the right side of this page. You can also view all of my photos by clicking here.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Break the Cycle

Never forget to SING

Some of my recent favorites from Hugh.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

That was then. This is my now.

There was a time I packed my dreams away
Living in a shell, hiding from myself.
There was a time when I was so afraid
I thought I’d reached the end.
Baby, that was then.
But I am made of more than my yesterdays.

This is my now,
And I am breathing in the moment.
As I look around,
I can’t believe the love I see.
My fear’s behind me,
Gone are the shadows and doubt.
That was then.
This is my now.

I had to decide.
Was I gonna play it safe?
Or look somewhere deep inside,
Try to turn the tide.
Find the strength to take that step of faith?

I have a courage like never before, yeah.
I settled for less, but I’m ready for more.
Ready for more…

By Jordin Sparks

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Retaining the Millennials

Today I came across this timely article which gives advice for anyone working with the latest generation of employees. It's a short, yet very interesting article.

My Mindset

My previous posts got me thinking about the “lens” through which I see the world and below are some of my life rules/assumptions that immediately came to mind.

  1. Connect 24/7: Always on, always connected, always available. Privacy is an illusion
  2. Multiculturalism: An interest and desire to understand cultural difference
  3. Globalism: Because the world is so connected, it’s always getting easier make and maintain connections.
  4. Continual change is the norm….
  5. New experiences triumph over more “stuff”
  6. Fail…a lot: One must fail rapidly to rapidly succeed.
  7. Smaller: Bigger is not better.
  8. Happiness is family, friends and a passion that gets you out of bed every morning.
  9. Balance between enjoying the present and planning for the future.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Generational Divides -Cultural Differences

Due to my age, I was blissfully unaware of critical world events during all of the 80s and some of the early 90s. For example, I don’t recall anything about AIDS epidemic, the Challenger explosion, the stock market crash of 1987 or even the fall of the Soviet Union. I only faintly recall some details about the First Gulf War.

The events that have shaped the filter through which I see the world include Hurricane Katrina, Enron, the Columbine high school massacre, Indian Ocean Tsunami, stock market crash of 2000, 9/11 and of course, the ongoing “War on Terror”.

My view on money was forever impacted by the stock market crash of 2000. I’ve always been fascinated with money and started investing in the stock market in 1998, at age 16. At the time, the markets were going nowhere but up and I recall thinking how easy it was to make money. A few years later, the market crashed and I lost a lot of money (relatively speaking). Because of this, I currently have less than 25% of my savings in stocks. The large majority of my personal savings is invested in the guarantee return fund within my former employer’s 401k plan. That may seem extremely conservative for a 25 year old. That is, until you realize that it’s a guaranteed rate of return after all fees and dedications of 7.5%. Not bad.

A year after the market crash, all of the corporate scandals started. Events such as Enron, the pension fund defaults/cuts and large scale corporate layoffs have caused me to be far more skeptical of big business that most people part of the Boomer generation. The idea of a 30 year “career path” not only does not interest me, but also a bit depressing. I want a sense of excitement, adventure and mystery.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Generational Divides -Technological Differences

In my opinion, the single largest difference between my generation and others is the cultural differences is caused by technology.

Computers and other forms of technology have been around since my early adolescence. I find it difficult to imagine life without the internet and email. The idea of using a typewriter and looking up information in a encyclopedia is laughable. I’d just launch Microsoft Word or search with Google.

I first started using computers in school for educational games. A few years later I received a Packard Bell 486 from my parents for Christmas and discovered American Online (AOL). It became an addiction. At this point, the internet and my computer is a central hub in completing many of my daily responsibilities.

In general, this has been a good thing. Like everything, technology does have its downsides. My dependence is easily revealed in my inability to quickly solve arithmetic problems mentally and my extremely poor spelling. It’s clear that I’m far too dependent on calculators and computer based spell check. In fact, my one and only fear in my previous job was being called upon to be the “scribe” in front of colleagues during a brainstorming session. I would have rather talked 1x1 with the CEO of our company. As the saying goes, “if you don’t use it, you lose it”. At the same job, many colleagues would often ask me for help with something on the computer after 30 minutes or more of futile effort. A few clicks and 2 minutes later I would be done. I’ve listened to many of experienced colleagues talk about the fast pace of change “these days”.

Will I utter those same words 20 years from now?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Generational Divides

Because I was born between 1980 and 2000 (1982 to be exact), I am part of what demographers label the “Millennials”. Other labels given to people born during this period include the Internet Generation, Echo Boomers, Nexters, Generation Y, Nintendo Generation, and the Digital Generation.

Like all generations, we have a completely new perspective, a different set of values, new experiences and an extremely distinctive work ethic. In my opinion, the generation gap between the older Millennials just entering the work force and the Boomers already entrenched in the work force is the largest it’s ever been. The divider will grow even larger as the younger Millennials begin to enter the work force in 10 years. Hell, I already notice significant differences between myself and younger members of the Millennials.

Over the next week, I will post my thoughts on this topic. Tomorrow is part 1 where I’ll discuss the technological differences.