November 22, 2007

11/22/07 Kansas City USA

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have a lot to be thankful for this year. I spent seven wonderful months in Europe, doing all sorts of things. I spent three weeks studying with my friends Amparo and Santi at their school in Almansa Spain. I walked the Camino de Santiago, again, then returned to Pamplona to hike over the Pyrennes along the wonderful Camino Argonese. I was able to attend my cousin Cynthia's wedding in Toulouse to a great guy, Jean-Yves. I volunteered to work at the Nalanda Monastery for two weeks, and ended up staying for three months. I spent a peaceful week at Plum Village, a Zen monastery near Bordeaux. I got a chance to visit my cousin Jeff and his family in London. My friends Daniel and Ariane took the whole week off to show me around Switzerland. I spent a few days with my friend Marta at her family restaurant in Verona, Italy. And finally saw the Rome we grew up with in the history books.

Mostly I am thankful for all the friends I made along the way that, and the time I got to spend with everyone. No matter the scenery, no matter the churches and museums, the most important part for me is the connection to other people. For me, that is priceless.

And I'm pretty lucky because, even after all this time away enjoying myself in Europe, I get to come back and spend the holidays at home with my family and friends who are genuinely happy to see me again. Thank you all. Happy Thanksgiving!

Daniel and Ariane from Switzerland had their first snow and sent me pictures of the view from the chalet (I'd only been there three weeks prior).


Now, doesn't that look great!

A postscript about the trip. I want to thank the folks over at WorldNomads.com, a health insurance company for travelers (outside the USA). Besides health insurance, the policy also covers things like theft. I was able to get a full purchase price on the camera that was stolen in France and I got the check in less than two weeks after I sent in the paperwork. Great, great customer service. And pretty inexpensive too.

PS: I should have the last two weeks of my trip through Switzerland and Italy online very, very soon. So keep checking back.