On June 11 Kelly, Zane, Theo and I left for what Theo has called our "Epic Vacation." Our trip was one portion of the Lilly Grant for Clergy Renewal that my congregation and I received. We spent three and a half weeks together traveling throughout Europe and then I spent ten days on my own in Scotland.
I have traveled overseas twice before: when I was 21 I went to Israel for a month long archaeology dig (with three days in Switzerland on the way home) and then of course there was the month in Bogota to adopt Zane twelve years ago. I have never organized my own trip before, and have never traveled to a country that wasn't under a serious military presence (curled barbed wire and rifles were regular sights in Israel and Colombia.) So I knew this trip would be different.
It was also a new experience to travel without a set purpose. I wasn't taking a class; we weren't adding a new member to the family. Zane asked a few times, "Why are we doing this?" I said, "Because this is what families do. They go off, throw themselves in a strange circumstance, and see what happens." (And because Lilly gave us this great gift.) We did have a bucket list we were working with; each of us had something we wanted to see or do. But mostly it was time together and an opportunity to see places that interested us.
I suppose the trip did have an underlying purpose: it was the archetypal journey experience. Leave home, encounter difficulty, find renewed strength and purpose, discover riches, return home. I can see that now, at the end.
I posted some reflections and photos en route, but was limited in my expression. I was using an app that basically meant I had to text to write to the blog (which might be fine if I was a teenager but I'm still middle-aged), and my photo editing tools were stinted. Now, home with all my gear and some time to think about it all, I'll go through it more thoroughly.
So here we are, first meal of the journey, at the MSP airport, and a shot of the plane we flew.