Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pilgrimage to the Old World

The object of this first post is to attempt to elicit the proper fanfare required for an undertaking of great pomp and ceremony. Lagan son number four has decided to spend his freshman year of college overseas at the American College of Thessaloniki, which oddly happens to reside in the town of Thessaloniki Greece (of all places). Naturally the task of assuring Joshua’s safe passage to school was put into the hands of the Lagan family's must dependable retainers.

As a result Caleb and myself are embarking on an epic journey to make sure Joshua is safely brought to his dormitory doorstep. There were some who objected to the legitimacy of our leadership of this odyssey; however their machinations were dealt with decisively.

Our mission is simple, make sure Joshua gets to Greece alive. Our personal safeties are of secondary importance to the success of the mission.

We go heavily armed, carrying at least three pairs of underwear and socks a piece.

We leave at first light (more like 10AM tomorrow).

Because of the great financial expenditure required to make this trip, Caleb and I have been given leave once we have secured Joshua’s well being at college, to enjoy a more circular return trip home. We have purchased rail tickets for a significant part of Europe and hope that our return journey will see us through Greece, Italy, France, Germany, and at last Ireland. We leave September 9th, a day which has historically heralded great ventures (unless of course you happen to be a Roman legionnaire).

After much deliberation Caleb and I have decided to pack as lightly as possible. Being Spartan usually seemed to work for them, so we figured we’d give it a try. We each have compacted our personal belongings into a single bag.

Here is a picture of my packed bag.

Unfortunately because of diplomatic necessities we are forced to bring along a second piece of luggage against our will. Stuffed to the brim with the most opulent riches of our country, we were told that this luxurious trove will enable us to richly reward those who aid our passage, as well as thank those who will prove hospitable along the way. The option of bribing the natives is useful, however the baggage train will inevitably serve to hinder our progress. We are forced to look at it as a necessary evil, but are prepared to abandon it if necessary. The Huns will inevitably strike the surplus stores if given the chance so we will be forced to be carry on with enhanced vigilance to assure these valuable tokens do not fall into the wrong hands.

Here is a picture of the treasure wagon.

Here are the two bags together. The red bag is all I am taking for the next month, the blue bag is for the gifts we shall bring with us and then hopefully bring back with us (assuming the pillaging goes well).

I will give various updates on this blog as our progress will allow. Unfortunately our Internet access may be extremely limited.

As was noted earlier, taking Josh to Thessaloniki is really only the beginning of the trip. We don’t really know how everything is gonna go, but the basic tentative very summarized plan is to get Josh and all his stuff to Greece. After we land there we'll be spending a few nights with a family we know until Josh gets himself settled. Then we're going to spend the next three or four days making our way down to Athens (by way of Olympia, Delphi, and Thermopylae). At that point it looks like Josh will go back to Thessaloniki to start his classes and Caleb and I will continue on making our way to Sparta and then finally to the town of Patras. The town of Patras is significant because that's where we're gonna hitch a ride (more like a ferry) to Italy. We're gonna end up (after a 15 hour boat ride through the Adriatic Sea, hopefully we don't get stopped by any Genoese pirates) somewhere in the heal of the Italian boot.

We're gonna make our way up to Rome, Venice, and hopefully a day or two in the Italian Alps before hopping onto a train that'll take us through France to get to my friend in Munich. We'll spend a few days reminiscing about the old days with him, then shoot our way up to my old stomping grounds in Cologne. I'll show Caleb the sights, we'll see my old host family, and after the weekend we'll take a short flight to Dublin to reconnect with our Lagan roots.

From Dublin we'll fly back to JFK. That's pretty much all circumstantial at this point though. What we know we know is that we each have a backpack, the treasure wagon (which will hopefully leave full of gifts and come back full of gifts), and a plane ticket home October 6th out of Ireland. As long as we can get to Dublin by the 6th we'll be okay :). What happens in between has yet to be hashed out.

Some people know some of that, some people know all of that. Either way please pray that we meet danger and adventure, that we make good memories and don’t get hurt too bad, that we grow close to God and to each other, that Josh feels loved and supported as he takes a courageous step into the unknown, and that Caleb and I may leave many trophies across many countries to our many victories.

All in all I'm looking at this as an amazing opportunity. I know I'll see a lot, grow a lot, learn a lot, and eat a lot. I'll do my best to take pictures, write stories, journal, and keep this site updated as much as possible.

Tomorrow begins the a great chapter in the story of my life. That it shall end in brilliant hues, all the more glorious due to the darkened shadows which form their backdrop I have no doubt.

"So discard the bowlines, skirt safe harbors. Dare great things. Dream great dreams. Ride the squall and bask in the adventure."

With a backpack and my brothers I set off...

1 comment:

  1. Daniel,

    Your backpack seems like it should suffice during your courageous adventure. I pray that both you and Caleb, and perhaps even Josh (if time will permit) will come across dangers untold and survive long enough to tell the stories that must be told of your grandiose experiences.