I didn’t run around the block with an empty suitcase this year

In Latin American culture, there are a few interesting New Year’s traditions:

  1. Wearing yellow underwear will bring the wearer money
  2. Wearing red underwear will bring the wearer love
  3. Wearing no underwear will do nothing. Who the hell even does that?
  4. Eating 12 grapes during the last 12 second of the year–making a wish per grape and starting the new year with a stuffed mouth as you shout out “HUPPY NBOOO YRRRRR!!!” (Because you can’t articulate more. Your mouth is full of grapes.)
  5. Running around the block with an empty suitcase to bring the wearer a year full of travels.

If you do all of the traditions you’ll be running around the block with an empty suitcase and a mouth stuffed full of grapes trying to focus on not falling over yourself and/or choking on the round fruit of the botanical genus Vitus that is clogging your pie hole all whilst wearing colorful undies.

Around the world in 80 ways

This year has been a whirlwind tour for me–and it’s still ongoing. It all began with an internship in Dallas, then an intern summit in Seattle, followed by study abroad in Lille including a convoluted itinerary from Charlotte to DC Dulles to Dublin to Paris then a train to Lille. With a side of jetlag and topped with a house-made blackberry compote. On the bright side, cheap tickets to Europe! Thanks, Aer Lingus!

Long story short: lots of planes, lots of trains, and a couple of automobiles thrown in to shake it up.

But again, I didn’t run around the block at midnight with an empty suitcase in my hand. It was too cold for that ish.

It’s all in me head

Superstitions are like a psychosomatic toy. It’s fun to believe that your sports team lost because you wore the color purple and that you should never wear purple again when your team plays. It’s almost comforting to think that you missed your train or flight because you broke a mirror 5.4009 years ago to the minute.

But it’s a lie.

Life is more complicated than we think it is. Ultimately, it’s our choices interacting with those of people around us that dictate our luck. Not a superstition.

I have so much travel coming up because I accepted opportunities that came that would allow me or require me to travel not because of a stupid suitcase. Sometimes it takes a little nudge to remind us of that.

So consider this your nudge.

There be superstitions

Don’t get me wrong, superstitions are fun to think about–as scary as they are to think about. I love the traditions of wearing the underwear and eating the grapes as much as the next person. And while it might be fun to think and dream about what would happen if the superstition actually came true, it’s best not to delude oneself into thinking that life will just gift us with something just because we did some small gesture.

At the end of the day, superstition ain’t the way; no, no, no.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Erik says:

    Spectacular. Quotable: “Ultimately, it’s our choices interacting with those of people around us that dictate our luck. Not a superstition.” Yes! I devote a lot of time in my own book, The Best Advice So Far, to this notion. The main premise is “You always have a choice.” One of the later bits of advice is this: “Life is not fair. The sooner you accept this, the happier you will be.” Superstitions allow us to believe that we can somehow force life and the universe to “even out” in our favor. But that really leads to victim mentality. It all comes down to choices: the choice to engage, the choice to change something, the choice to stop waiting for your ship to come in and wade into the waters.

    1. raulrgonza says:


      Choices are one of the topics I write about often here! More than we realize is brought as a result of choices–both conscious and unconscious.

      You brought up a great point about superstition–it just serves as an excuse in the end.

      1. Erik says:

        We are “of a mind,” as they say, you and I. Glad we are connected and I always enjoy your posts!

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