The first thing we think about when we hear the word itinerary, is travel.
A travel itinerary provides the details of our flight & accommodation and it is our reference to stay on schedule throughout the duration of our trip.
There have been many occasions where checking my travel itinerary stopped me from exploring another museum or trying one last restaurant.
If a travel itinerary is so dependable while discovering the unknowns of the world, why don’t we utilise a life itinerary while discovering the unknowns of our true self?
A life itinerary can be used in the same exact way as a travel itinerary, except the trip is the path we set for our life and it is our reference to stay on course in pursuit of happiness.
I decided to set my life itinerary on September 13th, 2012, when I arrived in London, England.
Up until this point it has been my dream since January 27th, 2005, to pursue a professional basketball career in Europe.
The reason I remember the exact dates is because of the power I felt when I set those plans in motion. In 2005, it was such a vivid dream, that I woke up, found a marker and wrote the date on the wall. It was at that moment I decided it was time to give up track & field and transfer schools to focus on basketball full-time.
At the time, anyone looking from the outside would have probably thought it was a terrible mistake, due to the fact that I was on the varsity track & field team as a freshman and only on the freshman basketball team. Perhaps people believed I caved in from the pressure of such an elite school, which DeMatha Catholic High School certainly was.
However, that was not the case I had simply unlocked the power of discovering my true self. Ironically, it was during the same time I was learning to play chess, so looking back, it was a crucial shift in my mindset and thinking pattern. I was able to differentiate the excitement & joy felt from basketball as opposed to when I competed on the track, so it was an easy decision.
The movie Love & Basketball actually played a pivotal role in my decision because before then, I was not aware of the potential to play professional basketball in Europe. Once I saw the scene where Monica(played by Sanaa Lathan) went to Europe to play, I knew that would be the only way for me to realise my dream.
As a kid the NBA was the dream of course, but I think by the time I turned 14 I knew it was time to set my sights on a different league. I was already a full-blown Kobe Bryant fan, so I was going to do everything in my power to follow a similar path.
The life itinerary plan I set in 2005 was to simply play division 1 college basketball, as I knew that was the stepping stone to a career in Europe.
Once I graduated in 2011 from a division 3 college, the chances of me playing professionally was probably 0.01%. It was at this point I realised the power of the subconscious mind and what I had written down 6 years prior. Although I was well aware that my chances to play pro was basically 0, I never once envisioned an alternative life path for myself.
My life itinerary had been submitted to the Universe and I was simply waiting for it to manifest in this reality.
Not only were the odds stacked against me due to the fact that I played at a division 3 college, but also because I played the final 20+ games of my senior season with a broken bone in my foot. At the division 1 & 2 levels I would have simply redshirted and came back for a 5th year, but when you have to pay for tuition that is not an option. So, during the week I wouldn’t practice and I wore a walking boot up until it was time to play. This was the Mamba Mentality downloaded within me.
Therefore, I was considered low level damaged goods, yet I spent the whole summer preparing as if I would get a contract overseas. The chances slimmed down even more to probably 0.001% once the NBA entered a lockout.
This meant that all of the lowered tiered NBA players now became the high tiered import (American) players in Europe and the lower tiered import players were left with nothing.
5 months after graduating in May, reality hit me, and it was delivered via my parents. Alright, you had a nice run, now it’s time to enter the real world and get a job. If I was Superman, that combination of words would be my kryptonite.
With my life itinerary still present subconsciously I decided I needed to move to Pittsburgh so I could figure out how to get back on track. I got a job at a rental car company and dreaded every minute of it, but I knew I needed money to fund the pursuit of my dream. Following my 8 to 9 hour shifts, the real work always started when I got home, as I would scour the internet to figure out a way to get in the vicinity of my dream.
“Seek and you shall find.”
One night in the early hours of the morning around 3 am, 2 months into my job, I found a link to the University of East London.I knew I finally found the needle in the haystack, and it is a day I’ll never forget. UEL (now a business partner) were offering international scholarships to American student-athletes to obtain their master’s degree in just 12 months while continuing their degree.
Naturally I didn’t sleep that night as I completed the entire application and just went into work on a natural high. A week or so later I was accepted into the sports management master’s program and it was one of the happiest days of my life. The following day, I put in my two weeks notice and told my parents I was coming back home before leaving for London in the fall.
20/20 Hindsight:I should have continued my job and just saved as much money as possible.
However, I knew I unlocked a very important level in terms of my life itinerary and my pursuit of happiness.
It is also very important to understand no one else can see the vision you have set forth for yourself, but as long as you believe in it and commit your life to it, the Universe will make it happen.
After an entire summer of working out at Lifetime Fitness (with my fractured foot) before delivering newspapers for my godfather, I had not heard back from UEL.
It was as if I was stuck in a glitched loop of some sort because the time came again when my parents suggested it was time to just get a real job and leave the basketball dream behind.
I did more research on UEL than I did in my 4 years of undergrad combined, so I knew for a fact it was not a scam of any sort, but had not received any information in 3 to 4 months.
Turned out the head of the international sport scholars was leaving her post and her successor was transitioning in. After a heated confrontation with my parents to essentially defend the pursuit of my dream there was a 2-week period where we did not speak and I just stayed in my room.
Finally, at the end of August, I heard back and less than 2 weeks later on September 11th, 2012, I was on a Virgin Atlantic flight to London.
Upon landing I slept for 24 hours and on September 13th the first thing I did was write out my first “official” life itinerary, which took me to my 30th birthday July 2019.
Writing out your life itinerary in a very specific manner is something I live by and HIGHLY recommend to anyone who reads this. It takes the guess work out of life, and you always have a reference to see if you’re on the path you set for yourself. Above all else, it helps you remain true to your self.
Peace, Love & Happiness.