I have always thought of myself as a semi-wannabe adventurous person who gets up and goes because why not? Life is so precious so why not just do something out of the ordinary? My heart says go be crazy and adventurous, but my mind serves as the rational parent making me think of the consequences and reason why doing something out of routine would not be good.
A couple of weeks before the big Hanger trip to Lisbon, Portugal, I received a message from Ashley Riley asking if I would like to accompany them on the journey across the Atlantic to the Web Summit Tech conference. I’m not going to lie, I thought she was testing me. She wasn’t. I instantly contacted all of my teachers for their permission to play hooky for a week. I received responses that ranged from: “Congrats! So proud of you. Just go and don’t worry about school and go explore!”, to, “Hm…I am going to need your itinerary and a receipt of your flight. You will have makeup work and take 3 extra quizzes. You will also miss points but have fun!”. Missing schoolwork is practically my biggest fear, but I mean how could I turn down a mid-semester trip across the world with this incredible company? Yolo.
Boarded the plane, fastened my seatbelt, trays placed in the upright locked position, and we were off. Seven hours later, I woke up, looked out the window, surrounded by palm trees and beautiful buildings (and local men, wink wink). Hopped in a cab, and never has looking out the car window been so entrancing. What more could anyone ask for with the incredibly diverse architecture painted in bright hues, splashed with decorative artwork, and lined with palm trees. Sunday was the big day of our private tour with our badass tour guide, Carla. I’m convinced she knows more about history than the textbooks. We cruised past the riverside, through the rolling mountains dusted with burnt orange rooftops, and arrived at the quaint town of Sintra. Talk about a dream place to live…I cannot wait to retire there. We walked along the black and white individually-placed tile sidewalks to visit antique shops and of course eat some delicious local foods. Souvenir shopping had concluded, and off we went to explore more of the beautiful city. We slowly winded through the hills and arrived at the Pena Palace where the rulers used to reside. I was going to try and walk y’all through the experience of the Palace, but honestly…a picture is worth 1,000 words, right?
After showing everyone my fourth home that I go to for holidays, we started our journey again alongside the beautiful ocean. I mean I could have sat on that shore for 3 days and done nothing but stare and be perfectly content. We hopped off in Cascais to explore a tad bit more and obviously get gelato. The tour was incredible and we learned so much about the beauty behind the city of Lisbon. Thank you, Carla :).
Okay, fun and games are over. It is time to get down to business. The next four days consist of waking up, heading over to the Web Summit Conference, power nap, dinner, and the Night Summit. I had never been to a conference before and I knew that this was a big technology conference, but boy was I amazed. We walk into a venue filled with 50,000 people connected through the common theme of passion for the advancement and innovations of technology. Who even knew that so many new tech products existed to satisfy needs we were unaware had no solution? Incredible.This week was full of networking with people of similar aspirations, getting to know so many amazing people and bonding with the Hanger Team and it was surreal.
Hanger has continued to challenge me to keep reaching for the next level, to make me a better person. From pushing me outside my comfort zone by giving my opposing opinions in meetings, to being vulnerable and writing my first blog for the world to see, to getting up in the middle of the semester and traveling to unfamiliar places. The genuine care that the company has for each individual is inspiring and how a job should be. Surround yourself with people who help you be a better you and you help them as well. Take risks. Live your dang life.
Hanger Team: I will never be able to thank you enough for taking me on this incredible work adventure. I learned so much, and I cannot wait to watch Hanger grow.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” -Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Peace and love,
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Madeline Childs is an Apparel Merchandising and Product Development major at the University of Arkansas. She love trying new things and traveling to and exploring unique places and is very passionate about aesthetics and seeing the beauty in the simplicity of our complicated and busy lives. She aspires to one day live in a big city (New York or Los Angeles) and own her own boutique and have a few clothing lines of her own.
I hope you take these words to heart because I am so proud of your past, content with your present, and excited for your future.
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