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On This Day

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

I’m going to skip directly to the exciting news: I’m giving a TEDx talk next week!!

I’ll get back to that.

First let me introduce you to 15 year old Geremy who was a big dreamer. Somehow, he believed that although he was a highly-reserved introvert who feared public speaking, he could someday garner the courage to be a keynote speaker in an academic setting. Since 2001, he held on to that dream of making a difference in people’s lives by sharing what he has learned on his journey.

I publicly declared my desire for public speaking on my blog in 2008, but it wasn’t until recently that I’ve been blessed with amazing opportunities to actually speak.

Two weeks ago, I went to Trinidad and had two opportunities to speak in a public setting. One of those opportunities was a fancy business networking dinner where a friend recommended me to be the keynote speaker to a group of business people (thanks friend). Not only was there a good turnout, but people paid actual money to attend! My favorite part was when I spent 2 minutes talking about my lawnmower incident. They actually let me talk about severed toes on stage, and no one grabbed the microphone from me!

After my talk, I spent over an hour having individual conversations with people of various ages who approached me. If you were one of those people–hi…you’re cool!

Now on Tuesday, I’ve got an amazing opportunity to speak at a TEDx conference in Switzerland. The conference will be held in the world’s best hospitality school and my talk will focus on using the unique things about yourself to make an impact on the world. If this topic sounds familiar, it’s because it follows the vision of my brand, Peculiar PPL, to positively affect the world through Peculiar people. I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity and can’t wait to see what the future holds!

It is wonderful to look back on large crazy dreams of the past and see them actually come true. If you’re someone with big dreams, keep pursuing them because if someone who had a goat as a best friend can be invited to Switzerland to speak in front of a worldwide audience, nothing is impossible for you!

I feel like I’m forgetting something…

In preparation for my drive to Boston for my friend’s wedding, I organized everything for a flawless 6am departure.

Camera bag with lenses – check!
Fruit to eat in the car – check!
Laptop and other assorted electronics – check!
All set! Now it’s time to hit the road!

I drove to Boston, stopping at Tesla’s Superchargers along the way to recharge my battery powered car. At each supercharger, I had a haunting feeling that I was forgetting something important, but I quickly dismissed the paranoia.

Since I had the esteemed role of escorting the grandmother of the bride down the aisle, I was required to attend the wedding rehearsal. While practicing walking, I continued to feel like I forgot something, but I assumed it was relatively minor, like forgetting to pass my belt through the belt loop in the back of my pants.

Between the wedding rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner, I went to the Sheraton to check into my room. The lady at the front desk asked, “would you like us to bring your luggage to the room?” I replied, “sure!!” She followed-up with, “okay, where is it?” Hmmm… that’s a good question, where is my luggage?!

Suddenly, everything became blurry, the world spun in slow motion, and everything smelled like ketchup as the reality of the situation quickly became clear. MY SUITCASE IS SITTING IN MY LIVING ROOM IN NEW JERSEY!

I turned to the lady and said “OH NO! THIS IS A DISASTER” before sprinting out of the hotel to my car. It later occurred to me that since I didn’t give much of an explanation, she might have thought that I meant that the check-in process was a disaster.

I hopped in my car and sped away, determined to drive five hours back to New Jersey to get my luggage. When I called my mom to tell her about my brilliant accomplishment of forgetting everything, she spoke some sense into me. She wisely suggested that I buy everything I’d need for the wedding and save myself the agony of traveling to Massachusetts twice in one day. That lady is so wise…if only I had some of that wisdom at 6am when I left my suitcase behind.

Very Ill-Fitting Shirt

I rerouted myself to Macy’s and proceeded to buy everything I’d need for the next 24 hours. These items included a suit, tie, pocket square, shirt, undershirt, dress shoes, socks, underwear, razor, deodorant, toothbrush, and toothpaste. Then I went back to the hotel and tried everything on, only to realize that the shirt was too big, the shoes were too shiny, and the tie was too ugly.

The Suit and Tag

After returning these items to the store, I made better decisions the second time around and walked out with an outfit that worked. To add some extra uniqueness to the ensemble, I considered leaving the tag on my jacket, but that might have been seen as tacky in a wedding…maybe.

Second Most Important Lady

The next day, the wedding happened without any additional mishaps on my part. This allowed me to give my full attention to witnessing my two friends share one of the happiest moments of their lives.

After the ceremony, I began mentally preparing my wedding reception speech. Fortunately for the bride and groom, there wasn’t an “open mic/open speech” portion of the reception. That’s too bad because I was looking forward to starting my speech by proclaiming, “I BOUGHT NEW UNDERWEAR JUST FOR THIS WEDDING!”

Coming Full Circle in Charlottesville

Every year in August, I would experience a living nightmare of catastrophic proportions when I flew to Charlottesville for work. For some reason, everything that could go wrong would go wrong, like the time in ’09 when they cancelled the flight while I was sitting on the plane on the runway. Or the time in ’10 when I had a layover in North Carolina but the airline decided that flying home was overrated, so they cancelled my flight for no justifiable reason. Or in ’12 when my return flight was cancelled so I had to rent a car and drive seven hours home, in terrible weather conditions.

Eventually, I concluded that Charlottesville loves me so much that it tries to keep me every time I visit. Hey Charlottesville, you’re cool and all, but I am in a committed relationship with New Jersey!

US Airways at Charlottesville Airport

These terrible journeys meant that I spent a lot of time in airports, thinking. One thought that came to me in 2010 was “I need my own plane so I wouldn’t have to frequently go through this,” and I relentlessly pursued that vision since ever since. During my final trip back to Charlottesville in 2014, I stared at the United Airways Express plane on the runway and said to myself, “my next flight to Charlottesville will be in a private jet.”

I planned on avoiding Charlottesville until I could accomplish this goal, but three weeks ago I was smitten with excitement when I realized that it could happen sooner than I initially thought. Not only was I able to fly back to the same airport that was a constant source of my frustration, but I was able to fly there in the exact jet that I plan to own.

The Citation X Interior

My brother and I flew to Virginia, rented a car, went on a Segway tour, had lunch, ate a weird chemical ice cream concoction, and then he drove the entire way home since he can legally do that now!

As I relaxed in the passenger seat, I realized two things:
1) Charlottesville Airport is quite nice when you’re not stranded there against your will
2) Setting audacious goals is a great thing, because sometimes life will surprise you.

The same place where I set a seemingly impossible goal out of frustration was the same place that I walked through as I took steps toward to accomplishing that goal.

Thanks Charlottesville!

Geremy’s Peculiar Life: Reviewing My Way Through England

I left France because I needed a break from speaking French. Now I’m in England and I’m reviewing my way through the country, while speaking English!

Geremy’s Peculiar Life: France

I decided to put my high-school French class lessons to the test by flying over to France. It didn’t work out so well, but here are the things that I encountered in the process.