It’s been 100 days (more or less) of this Sabwavique experiment, and it’s time for a midterm review and a preview of what’s ahead.
As I write this post we are finishing the European portion of the program. It has been a bit aimless and winding, as it was meant to be. It has also been good training for the rest of the Sabwavique. To summarize, it has included:
(1) Paris / Stuck in Paris due to air traiff controller strike;
(2) Camino de Santiago, i.e., 800km of walking across the north of Spain in 35-40 days and passing through more towns than I could ever remember;
(3) Impromptu trip to Germany for John to visit friends made on the Camino, including Hanover, Hamburg, Sylt, and Berlin;
(4) Backpacking around Athens, Santorini, and Crete, featuring epic hikes and sleeping out on the beach on Crete;
(5) 3+ weeks in Portugal, including touring around with John’s parents and godparents, and 2 weeks of stay in Porto while John took language classes;
(6) Belgium beer tour with Cris’s mom, including Brussels, Tournai, Brugge, and various countryside breweries/abbies/restaurants;
(7) Scotland and England wandering, including Edinbourgh, Glasgow, Mull, Iona, Ulva, Oban, York, Newbury, London (still with Cris’s mom).
As a result of these experiences, I can now say:
– I can order coffee the way I like it in 7 different European countries;
– I have rented and driven cars in 5 of those countries, including that whole left side of the road thing;
– Americans have mastered the art of breakfast but failed to export this mastery.
Two of the biggest lessons for us going forward are: (a) it is hard to avoid tourism while traveling; and (b) we must avoid tourism. The best experiences we’ve had thus far have been the more in-depth and unusual experiences, such as the Camino de Santiago and backpacking around Crete. Part of the original idea was to do the kinds of things you just can’t do on the average vacation.
To that end, the next stage of the Sabwavique is as follows:
I go to Utah for 28 days of survival skills training at the Boulder Outdoor Survival School starting next week. This is something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s cool because I will learn to rely minimal resources. Also, the wilderness has always been a place of rejuvenation and spirituality for me, so I’m looking forward to that. I will provide more explanation in the coming days, but if you’re interested, check out the description of the 28-day field course at www.boss-inc.com.
Meanwhile, Cris will head to Brazil to organize and then conduct a training conference for leaders of support groups for people with family members suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This is one of Cris’s true passions and something she became intimately familiar with as the marketing director of Clearview Treatment Center. She’s doing this on a strictly volunteer basis because she’s seen the amazing impact that Dialectical Behavioral Therapy can have on patients with BPD and their family members. After that, she heads to Montezuma, Costa Rica to spend about 4 weeks at La Escuela del Sol (which was founded by a friend of ours from the MBA program) to work on her yoga, scuba diving, surfing, and fire dancing. That’s right, fire dancing. For more on that check out their website at www.laescueladelsol.com.
After that, we join back up in California to spend some quality time with my brother, his wife, and their three awesome little dudes. Then, we will attend Burning Man up in the far reaches of Nevada before heading off to southeast Asia for more international roaming.
So, a hundred days in and it’s looking great. I’m going to close it out with a few words from Cris (unedited stream of consciousness, I swear):
“In summary, the countryside of Spain looks exactly like the countryside of France, the countryside of Belgium, and the coutryside of the UK. Edinbourgh is the Athens of the north, Mull is the Crete of the north, and York is the Brugge of the UK. Paris, London, Lisbon, and Santorini are still unbeatable but something must be done about the mounds of tourists. Please go somewhere else in your next vacation. Oh, forgot about one, Iona is the Santiago of the north. Ah, something needs to be said about the Portugal. The song for Portugal is: ‘Church, church, church, port wine.’ This of course was derivated from the Camino Rap, which is: ‘Wheat, wheat, wheat, little town.’ In summary, I like beer, I like wine, and I like cafe con leche.”
So long, Europe.