Hey guys, I know it’s been a while so I’ll consider myself lucky if any of you are still following but I thought I’d follow through with what I said I’d do, and post the few entries I wrote on paper during the trip. As it turns out a trip like this leaves little time to write. Jotting down a few memories here and there might be a reasonable task but as I’m sure you all know, GOOD writing takes time and effort; something which comes rare during a turbulent season like this one. Although I have to say I believe I caught myself at the right times, in the right places, to fabricate an interesting account. It’s broken into three different entries spread throughout the journey, but I try to cover the important elements. A detailed description, considering the amount of ground we covered, makes for boring writing anyway so perhaps some of you will appreciate an abbreviated account anyway. You might agree if you take a look at the list of the cities we visited so far…
Fort Stockton, Texas
Barcelona, Spain (Cataluña)
Burwood Park, England
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Sprang-Capelle, The Netherlands
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Almkerk, The Netherlands
Prague, Czech Republic
As I was saying, It might be a little boring describing every detail so I’m certain it all worked out for the best. I’ll be posting three entries over the next couple days for those of you who are still interested. Otherwise perhaps this will just be good to have written down for myself to read at a later date which is totally fine with me as far as I’m concerned. At any rate, here goes…
12/9/13 (9:30 AM) Basel, Switzerland train to Paris, France
I am writing to you from East France on the Paris Bound Train! Today is the Third country and 6th day of this crazy journey, of which I am convinced, is a blessing far beyond what I deserve. A lot of hard work and sacrifice was put into this trip but it has become increasingly clear that mercy upon mercy have been put into place in order to allow this all to happen. The only way I can explain it is to say that God eventually grants the desires of your heart in his own time, when they match up with the desires of his.
It all started in Texas of all places. We departed from San Antonio on Thanksgiving Day with heavy hearts. I have to say I knew it would be difficult to leave but I was nowhere near prepared for the heartache. The Church my parents planted in Garden Ridge known as Highpoint Church has become a permanent part of us and knowing that we were leaving to pursue another dream was painful, even though we knew that one day this time would come. That whole debacle involving leaving is one thing but watching my parents in the rear view mirror is something else. I think my heart will probably never be the same, but there is something to be said for physically making tracks when you hurt so much that you think you might die. It may have been the vastness of the American Southwest, or the way that night and day blend together in the desert, or the numbers of lonely wonderers with no loved ones of their own that helped, but somewhere in there, something allowed me to see clearly and I was able to choke my sorrow. Perhaps the idea that my Mom and Dad told me that they are happy. After a few days I realized that somewhere deep down I considered myself responsible for them somehow, as if it was my job to make them happy. As if their world somehow revolved around me. Silly right? Well… At any rate I came to the place where you have to let go and let God. After all, who ordains their steps? It certainly isn’t me. God’s got their world and my world in the palm of his hand, and whether I’m down the street or few oceans away, he’ll be taking care of them.
We hit the city limits and we drove. We drove for 24 solid hours with a 2 hour break to sleep somewhere on the outskirts of some mid-desert town.
12,000 miles later we arrived in Carlsbad, California at 7 Am and collapsed into a pile. Over the next few days we prepared for our lives to change. We drove up to Los Angeles to pick up the rest of our stuff which I had shipped from Texas. It’s interesting to think that our lives are now in storage but I guess it comes hand in hand with doing something as insane as this.
We flew out of LAX on 12/3/13 and landed in Istanbul somewhere in time and space. If you think you know what “diversity” is, you should go to Turkey. The United States does not even hold a candle when it comes to melting pots. We then made our way to Vienna, the most westerly city in the western world. It was kind to us.
The Viennese people were patient and helpful to these culture shocked jet-lagged Americans. Although I will say that one of them had a heck of a time trying to figure out what I meant by ordering “Drip Coffee” There’s no such thing as drip coffee here by the way in case you were wondering. Hahaha, There is only espresso, cappuccino’s, latte’s and the closest thing to drip coffee, also known as an Americano. Imagine the light bulb above my head when I realized that it was named after this American invention. Not surprisingly however, these handcrafted beverages you find in Europe are most usually unmatched when it comes to quality. We may have imagined drip coffee, but they practically perfected and re-invented the entire empire of the bean.
After a near death experience or two in a taxi, we discovered Vienna. This city is amazing in ways I had never imagined. Austria has a proud, sometimes turbulent, and most often illustrious past; and Vienna has been the center of it for ages. We walked where Sigmund Freud, Adolph Hitler, Franz Ferdinand and the Hapsburgs walked. We stood at the steps of the world’s most infamous opera house. We ate hotdogs from the same stands from which they first came. We watched the streets bustle, and strolled down ancient cobble stones. We marveled at the way that the city seemed to live and breathe on its own. But most importantly we immersed ourselves in the sights and sounds of Europe.
We got on the train and took it west to a little town called Wels, where we met up with Adrie’s family who as usual cared for me as their own. One thing that I love about them is the fact that they live life. They live with their hearts accountable to God, allowing the fragrance of love, family and appreciation to surround them. There is so much I have already learned from participating in their daily life. We took the night train to Basel Switzerland where one of my oldest and dearest friends lives with his wife. He now leads worship at a large church in the city which I must say made me proud to see. I was shocked to see our picture on the screen during the service! Ha-ha, Turned out that my friend used our relationship as an example in an illustration, which he had to explain to me because it was in Swiss German lol. I was absolutely blessed by it, and to say the least it was a sweet moment for me. It was difficult to say “see you later” to them but knowing the schedule we had intended to follow, a few days was all we could spend with them.
Which brings me to this point in the journey. We haven’t yet made a whole lot of decisions about the route but we intend on making the biggest circle possible. We plan on heading to Barcelona and sailing to Rome after Paris but who really knows what will happen. If there’s anything I have learned so far, it’s that there is no way to plan for a trip like this. You really have to just allow the road to take you where it goes; otherwise you miss out on the experiences that a “schedule” does not allow for. In other words, it’s impossible to schedule adventure. You just have to position yourself for it and let it hit you. We have met so many incredible people so far. For me thing that is most difficult to deal with is that they are all lost now to the road. Facebook might connect you to them but the experience you have for a moment is something completely different. I’ve learned to just appreciate the time in which our paths intersect and always remember them as I once knew them, happy and free. Fellow friendly feathers, blowing in the wind. I’ll try to write more when I can but for now it’s been difficult finding the time. When you’re doing this it often difficult to distinguish adventure from adventure. Nights blend with days, and lands with lands. Constantly being on the move provides little room for structure, but then again, I wouldn’t have it any other way.