I think it’s fair to say that traveling the world is on the top of nearly every Millennial’s bucket list. We are constantly bombarded with photos of our peers traveling abroad and visiting some of the most beautiful places our world has to offer. So, naturally, when I came across a photo of my childhood friend, Alexandra Rainone, bathing in the hot springs in Iceland, I was immediately intrigued. “
I was right. So, so right. And soon enough, I came across another photo of Rainone, but this time, it was different. She was in New York City, which is no surprise, considering she is a soon-to-be graduate of Fordham University, but she was dressed as a reindeer, with two of her best friends, both dressed to the nines as well, driving around a MINI Cooper, with the top down, and a giant Red Bull in their back seat.
Like anyone, I was intrigued, and began to do some digging, and what I found was incredible. Rainone and her two friends, Arianna and Claudia, had entered into the Red Bull “Can You Make It” Challenge, and they were in the process of filming their submission video for the challenge.
To give you an idea of how this challenge works, I’ll provide you with a brief outline, and I’ll allow Rainone to take over the rest. Essentially, this is a challenge specifically for college students in the U.S., hosted annually by Red Bull. The first step is gathering together a team of three people, naming the team, and putting together a submission video that encompasses all the reasons why your team should be one of the 165 teams that are chosen to participate. Once chosen, your team is flown to Europe, given 24 cans of Red Bull and one cell phone, for emergencies only. You are allowed to bring one backpack with clothes and sleeping materials, and that’s it. No money, no cell phones. Your goal is to use the 24 cans of Red Bull as currency and complete a list of tasks, in Amazing Race style, all while traveling thousands of kilometers to each check point. Pretty freakin’ rad, huh?
As you can probably tell, these three girls were one of the teams chosen to compete, under the team name of “Head Bulls in Charge,” so, needless to say, the moment she returned from her 7-day adventure, I attacked her with questions: you all deserve to read this!
The Red Bull “Can You Make It Challenge” sounds absolutely incredible, how did you first hear about it?
My friend, Jack Landry, who is a student brand ambassador for Red Bull, told me about it. I’m constantly looking for new ways to travel and see the world so I knew I had to apply. Thank god my two friends, Arianna and Claudia, felt similarly about the whole thing and wanted to make a team.
You and your team had to make a promo video before being selected as one of the official teams for the challenge. What did you and your team do to ensure that your team would be chosen?
The funny part about our video is we just wanted to have as much fun as possible and show our personalities. We weren’t thinking about what Red Bull was looking for or how to get attention, but rather how we could best convey our ridiculousness and humor. My favorite part was going out on the highway at 8 a.m. in my convertible dressed in a costume to hand out Red Bulls for peoples’ morning commutes. People ended up switching lanes next to us so they could get a Red Bull after seeing us handing them out. It was a great time and made for great footage, as well. In terms of the voting, after we submitted our application, we tried reaching out to as many friends, family and news outlets as possible to gain votes. I’m really humbled by all the support we got during this time and during the competition.
What was your first reaction when you found out that you would be heading to Europe for the challenge?
We were in total shock. All three of us are the type of people who don’t take no for an answer, so, as we said early on, we are making it no questions asked; however, when we got the call saying we were selected, it was the most surreal moment. Arianna literally fell over onto our couch and I couldn’t stop bouncing around our apartment for an hour.
Were you nervous heading into the challenge? What were your emotions like the moment you began?
I wasn’t nervous until we touched down in our starting city, Berlin. The competition became so real when we started meeting other teams. Where were we going to sleep? How were we going to convince people this was a real competition and to help us out? The reason I felt so calm was because of my teammates. I honestly trust those girls with my life and knew we’d have a blast so those facts definitely calmed my nerves. When we began, it was the most freeing feeling in the world. We had no one telling us what to do or where to go. It was a journey of seven days being surrounded by new people and places while experiencing it all with my best friends. Once I realized that, everything seemed to fall in place on it’s own.
What was your most challenging obstacle during the week?
We got stuck in the middle of Switzerland one night while we were trying to hitchhike to our next checkpoint. We were feeling unmotivated, tired and drained from trying to catch rides and finding a place to sleep. We ended up convincing a hostel to let us sleep in the lobby since we were leaving so early. The next day we were kicked off a train and it was our longest day yet. Although it was the most challenging, it was a huge testament to our team and communication style. We told each other when we were frustrated, kept each other positive and got through it as one unit rather than taking it out on each other. I hate that is what was so challenging but it was amazing to see us work together like that.
What was the biggest lesson you learned going through the entire challenge?
I’m excited to figure out that answer. After any kind of new experience or trip, it takes time to really understand the impact it had on you. One thing I definitely learned is that fate and kindness are two of the most powerful things in the world. Most of the people who we stayed with either went out of their way to help us out or happened to be at the right place at the right time for us. These strangers quickly became friends and made me reevaluate how I treated strangers and how often I helped them in my everyday life. If it wasn’t for these people’s kindness along the way, we wouldn’t have been able to make it past the starting city. From buying bus tickets to letting us sleep at their houses, I was constantly amazed by the generosity people showed us and I hope to carry that generosity home with me.
How do you feel as though this challenge changed the way you look at the world?
You don’t need as much as you think you need. I traveled around Europe with only a backpack and it still felt excessive. I only used a quarter of what I packed. When I came home to my apartment, I realized how much unnecessary things I had that felt necessary before I went on this trip. I found the most happiness on this trip with only a pair of sneakers and my best friends. It was a sobering moment that made me realize I was more materialistic than I had previously believed. I’m hoping to take this lesson after graduation and start buying and spending out of necessity rather than desire.
What does She’s Fit To Lead mean to you?
She’s Fit To Lead, to me, means striving for balance and seeking out new opportunities. This Red Bull competition was the perfect example of that. I worked hard to make our video and get us votes alongside my team members. It was a lot of work and the competition itself seemed intimidating but I didn’t let it stop me. I ignored fear and went after it. I’m a workaholic by nature so I strive to find balance by taking up these travel and adventure opportunities to cater to the adventurous side of me. Being fit to lead means taking care of myself equally in my work and personal life by taking as many opportunities I can to travel and learn.
Well, there you have it! Pretty amazing right? Maybe next year, we’ll see you heading out for the “Can You Make It Challenge!”