Project87 item #1 Celebrate New Years in a different country started off with a literal BANG. A quick backstory for the first item; one of my closest friends, Andy McCune (you'll be hearing this name often), and I decided we wanted to get out of the city for this New Years and in November found cheap flights to Milano for the holiday. He had never been to Europe, and I'm returning for the first time since I was 16, thought it would be a new adventure for the both of us.
This item was one of the only ones that had been planned before the project came to life, but the idea of beginning my year, and this project, in such epic fashion seemed like a great birth to it all. I remember finally hitting a certain mindset in December when generating ideas for the list, where prior I wasn't coming up with anything out of the box, and thinking,
"Drew, if you start your year in Italy with one of your best friends, what can't you do on this list."
And the momentum of that first mountain-top item would carry to the rest of the items over the year. It also gave me the confidence that celebrating New Years in another country, and further - completing item #1, being indeed no easy task, that if I did, I was fully capable of crushing no-easy-tasks.
The evening of December 28th we drove bursting with excitement from our Brooklyn apartment to JFK and took a redeye to MXP landing in Milan mid-morning of December 29th. We had no real plan for the trip besides exploring and trying to connect and understand a new place, it's people, food, sights, and two best friends making unforgettable memories. The only task I had besides the above was to take the hodgepodge list of things-to-do-that-would-create-my-perfect-year I had collected, at random in my phone over the last 6 weeks, and pick the 87 that would mean the most (and at that moment #1 was the only confirmed one).
That assignment took every moment from landing at MXP until 11:55 pm on New Year's Eve in our AirBnB, located in the Navigli District of Milan. With no firm celebratory plans for the New Year, that was approaching at nauseating speeds, or the celebration of Project 87 being kicked off and embarking down on an entirely new path that I had no actual strategy for. I've always been attracted to semi-calculated, semi-IhavenoideawhatthefuckImdoing ideas and this followed suit perfectly. I will figure it out when that's the next thing to figure out. I'll do it because I have to and I'm capable (I'm a big self-talker/ my own personal hype-man).
Andy boy, a fellow workaholic in the best, most efficient and impressive way, was also lost in his computer as our time in 2017 was coming to a fast close. Finally at 11:58 I, hitting submit on my list, hopped up and said,
"Bro, what do we do now?"
In our time of confusion - being in a new place, knowing nobody, with no plans - a BANG, and then multiple more, erupting in the background and bursts of color streaming through our apartment blinds. We rushed to our terrace for something incredibly unexpected, and I think a subtle nod from the universe about how the next year of my life was going to look, the most incredible firework show I've ever witnessed. The whole backdrop of Navigli lit up with various organized shows popping off as far as we could see on the horizon.
Then something else happened. BANG to our left, then to our right, then from below; the people of the streets, the bridges, the rooftops had previously (not said with confidence) decided they would, too, participate in the show letting off their own acts of celebration. And this was not your dads Fourth of July at camp ammunition, these were not only competing with the organized shows, but may have actually been bigger, bang-ier, and far more dangerous - something I was after this year. Milan, already feeling a lack of police involvement in-whole, seemed to have especially free reigns on this evening and. It. Was. Unforgettable. Just the type of experience we were after.
Finally, the boys got some Veuve and ran, in the pouring rain, to an unground party where we danced the night away to VH1 classics - something trendy Europeans apparently love. Nothing could have interrupted the adrenaline rush I was feeling that night. Item #1, checked off, and no-easy-tasking had officially begun. What a year it was going to be.
All my love,