2015 Lookback

I kicked off the year in New York … the city that most would agree is the greatest city in the world. Most of my weekdays consisted of a morning nap on the X37 from my parents’ place in Brooklyn (forever known as “home”) to my office by Rockefeller Center, and most of my weekends included top-down drives into and out of the city. (Spoiler alert : here, at the very beginning of January 2016, I’m about halfway through my car lease, and at almost 27k miles … my limit is 30k. It’s okay, I need a second car anyway.) I found out about a week ago that my car comes equipped with launch control. Stay tuned. However, I digress.

A pretty sweet owl, yeah ? They didn’t let me hold him, though.

In February, I took a redeye to London to visit a friend for the weekend. The highlight of the trip was “animal actors week” at the Harry Potter studio tour. Yes, that means I was up close and personal with Hermione’s cat, Hagrid’s dog, and some pretty sweet owls. I thought really seriously about getting an owl (Regis pride) until I read an article titled something like “ten reasons why owning a pet owl is a terrible idea.” I tend to trust articles like that because the people who write them have literally no reason to lie to you. There’s no person who benefits financially from you not getting a pet owl. About a week ago, I was talked out of a specific car by a car salesman. I couldn’t believe it. They have nothing but reasons to lie to you.

In May, a dozen or so of my friends & I rented a house in the Berkshires. The highlight of the long weekend was when three of us went off to this awesome adult-sized jungle gym. Aside from using muscles I didn’t even know I had, just to keep up with my infinitely more fit friends, I did more climbing and zip-lining than I thought one could do in an afternoon. We also hiked a mountain, though it wasn’t until 3/4 of the way up that I googled the name of the mountain, which was chosen by someone else, and saw the warning that it wasn’t intended for first-time hikers or anyone who wasn’t in “peak physical condition.” Thanks, Tim.

A few months into the year, I had a great opportunity. Funny how it worked out though. Essentially, I ran into one of my company’s execs [who was in town from London] while I was grabbing sushi with a guy I worked with at the end of 2014, and the guy from London introduced me later that day to another exec [who was in town from Hong Kong]. That’s the guy I would wind up working for throughout the year, and … spoiler alert again, I still ultimately report into him.

In mid-2015, my company gave me the amazing opportunity to work out of our Redwood City, CA offices for almost five months. I got an apartment in the Palo Alto area, had my car shipped over, and drove the 101 during rush hour every day, at least twice a day. Aside from a foot injury that sidelined me for about a month (don’t ask, I healed without stitches, like wolverine and I’m stronger than ever), it was a good time. Between weekend trips to Napa, LA, Vegas, Pebble Beach … and the daily car show at the Equinox Palo Alto parking lot, I had the closest experience I can imagine to “studying abroad,” an option that I decided to forgo in college. And at some point, it really began to feel like home. Between the cashier at my favorite dinner spot knowing my usual post-gym triple protein rice bowl, to the dude at the car wash ringing me up while I was pulling in ever-so-slowly so the hardtop would close by the time I drove under the soapy water, I accidentally organically built something while I was in California.

I was lucky enough to have more than a few friends come visit over the course of my time out west.

The culture out there is unique, and it goes without saying that life in “the Bay Area” is worlds different from life in New York. I liked it ; it was just different. What you see in the photo to the side is realistically what I wore to work almost every day. I started out in dress pants and button downs, but quickly began to dress down. The slacks became jeans and the button downs became T-shirts. I picked up that cap (now a wardrobe staple) when I got my hair cut and I felt it was too short. I had to get it cut … driving 110 on the 101 doesn’t agree with long hair. (Now I know why Izzie refuses to sit in the back seat.)

I was living and working only about 30 minutes south of San Francisco, but truth be told I didn’t go into the city nearly as much as I could have. I mean, it’s nice, but I really preferred the lifestyle (and easy parking, since every establishment has their own free parking lot) down “on the peninsula.” My usual routine spanned a roughly 12–15 mile stretch from Redwood City down to Palo Alto, in two dimensions with lots of stops inbetween. One weekend, one of my roommates took me a few miles west towards the ocean, to two sweet strips : Pescadero Creek Rd. and Skyline Blvd. After burning through about half a tank of gas in an hour, we stopped at this hidden gem of a burger joint really in the middle of nowhere. The next morning, my “low tire pressure” light came on … for all four tires. I can imagine Patrick’s WRX suffered a similar fate.

In California, it’s just really nice … all the time. But Jeff never wears shorts.

A friend of mine that I know through one of my college roommates is based out of Oakland, right across the famous “bay.” We started hanging and took a weekend trip down to LA once I was back on my feet (literally) to visit his rocket scientist friend. I had a bunch of free Uber rides to burn through (long story short, if you make a Google Ad with your promo code, you’ll become Uber royalty within days) so we navigated from Hermosa Beach to DTLA and back again in the back of a 7-Series. We drove up the PCH to Malibu where I got assaulted on the beach by waves taller than me, semi-crashed a model’s photo shoot, and watched a couple get engaged at sunset. And we went to the Equinox in Santa Monica to see if that really is where all the pretty people hide. Can confirm.

I feel like Daniel gets perpetual shotgun in my car …

In early October I went to Philly for the Forbes U30 Summit. After the excruciating experience of going through airport security, I went to the American Air lounge for some snacks and resolved to get TSA Pre✅. (Just went in the other day to do the paperwork and fingerprinting.)

On my birthday weekend, I drove through the night to Vegas with my German housemates. My present to myself was taking a 5.2L V10 Lamborghini Huracan LP610–4 out on a racetrack. But what happens in Vegas …

“Can you lease a Lamborghini for one month this summer and drive it up to my house ?” — cousin Robert, age 11

At some point, it was back to reality … and to quote my manager I was moved to Boston for some “more consistent adult supervision.” The plan was never to stay out west. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it there, but the east coast is definitely home. So I narrowed it down to two options out of a few more … New York with a team that sounded cool that I thought I’d like, or Boston with a team that I knew was cool because I’d been working with them for a few months already. It was New York with my family, or Boston with the remnants of my time at BC and way too many careless parking tickets. And I chose the latter, a decision I’m definitely happy with. I have an apartment two stops away from the office. Ignoring the 5–7 minute walk from the station to my desk, the time I spend in public transit is a little more than 3 minutes in each direction. It’s glorious, really. And I’m a quick drive from home, though I’ve yet to break the record I set junior year … going from Manhattan to BC in 2h45m in a rented Mercedes.

According to my uncle (who has friends in Woodstock), that dude is always there, in the center of town, waving at people.

In November, the same group of friends (more or less) & I rented a house in Woodstock for the weekend. Aside from getting pulled over literally 0.2 miles from our destination on the way there, in the most precarious of situations (don’t worry, I got off with a warning), it was a sweet time (if you omit the fact that all 15 of us watched UFC 193, after which point Jon and I refused to speak to anyone for the rest of the weekend). If only the hot tub worked on both nights.

I polished the year off with a gathering at my apartment consisting of my closest friends who live in the area (or close enough). I haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions per se, but every day I strive to be more like my dude Casey Neistat.

I rarely think when swiping my credit card (except for thoughts like “why are people so weird about my Magnises card ? Can’t they just give me my overpriced cup of weak coffee and not drop the card on the floor because a part of me dies every time it gets another dent ?) because I don’t want to miss out on something incredible because I overthought it. Getting out west for what felt like most of the year was worth it. It took some time to recover from my injury (and sadly I had to miss the Pebble Beach Concurs as a result) but I’m back on my feet (in fact, I started running again today [and no, it has nothing to do with a “New Year’s resolution,” it just felt right]). I have big things planned for the next few months. Now to finally try out launch control on the 4-Series.

I’ll be back.