The Quest Continues

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

I’m thinking that maybe I should start making weekly updates on my summer plans. To follow up on last weeks report, I’ve prayed and thought long and hard about Messenger and Engineering Ministries International and I don’t think those would be good matches for me.

Messenger is really a community-based missions trip and I think me not returning to Colorado next year is not inline with that goal. eMi seems to be more of planning organization rather then a doing organization. I’ve been planning for the last five years, I’m ready to do.

I’ve talked to a couple friends I have in Switzerland (Remo and Günther) and Germany (Philip). One thing that I’ve started to look into is using RyanAir and Eurail to travel. RyanAir would be nice and fast, but I think is ultimately unfeasible to use on a regular basis because they only fly into cities with airports. Once I get to a city, I’d need to find some mode of transportation if I wanted to explore anything more than walking distance.

Eurail could be the ticket, though. I could get the 21 country pass and travel to just about any city of a decent size. Sure, it would be slower, but the sheer number of cities available make it completely worthwhile. Besides, Europe is that big. $1039 buys me two months of travel. I’d also probably consider 15 days of travel in two months for $709. If I did get a Eurail pass, I would probably just visit a lot of cities, spending as many days I wanted in each city (sleeping at a hostel, presumably), and then catching the next train to where ever. To this end, I have a phone call with Jessica planned tonight to

But I haven’t given up on a mission trip yet! My search is progressing and I talked with Lance who suggested an organization called Serving in Ministry. It looks like SIM has some really interesting short term mission trips, including a photography/videographer position; I’ll definitely be checking them out some more.

Flatiron’s Community Church may also be planning on sending a college group to Afghanistan over the summer. I emailed Ron, the Director of Missions at FCC to see what the deal on that will be.

I did finally call the Department of State today to see if there were any special travel restrictions that I needed to observe. They didn’t seem to have a list, so I’ll probably just keep an eye on the Entry/Exit requirements for countries I intend to visit. (Side rant: Why doesn’t travel.state.gov work with Google Chrome?)

What To Do? Where To Go?

I’m still no closer to finding out where to travel or what to do for my summer travel.

Here’s the my thought progression so far:
Initially, I wanted to study abroad. I had narrowed it down to two universities in the UK before I decided that doing so would set me back another semester. If it was going to take an extra semester, I might as well just travel after I was done with college. So I decided that after I graduated, I would return to Western Europe (UK, Italy, France, Germany, etc) and spend a summer there.

I was bored one night and procrastinating homework. I started looking at my United award miles and where I could fly and how many miles it would take. Two important things popped out at me. First, roundtrip travel from the US to Europe is 55k miles; second, a round-the-world ticket is only 200k miles and provides a maximum of 5 stopovers and “is defined as one Pacific and one Atlantic crossing; you must use legal routings as defined in pricing rules and continue travel in the same direction.” (Source: http://www.united.com/page/article/0,8566,1141,00.html?navSource=RelatedLinks)

So now I have this idea to travel around the world in 90 days.

After talking with friends who have spent time visiting just one country, it seems pretty clear that traveling around the world in only two-to-three months is a bit ridiculous. But I still like the allure of a round-the-world ticket, so I compromise and decide that I’ll only visit countries in the northern hemisphere.

Well, after more thought and some talking, this still seems like too much. So now I’m back to just visiting a region. Currently thinking about Eastern Europe plus a couple of Western Europe countries that I missed last time I was across the pond (Germany and France, for starters).

Another idea that has also been floating around my head is to go on a mission trip. Practically everyone I’ve talked to says I must go on a mission trip, and I think there’s merit to their claim.

I spent some time looking at mission work, especially mission work that could utilize my skills as an engineer, such as through Engineering Ministries International. In talking with friends (and on my own), I’ve also been pointed in the direction of Adventures in Mission (including The World Race), Pioneers’ The Edge, and even Messenger.

There’s still some part of me that would just like to get a ticket into Frankfurt and see what happens.

I think I will need to have something to do while I’m traveling, some sort of goal or mission, which makes mission work appealing. At the same time, I could also see being someones assistant. Anyone looking for an assistant to travel the world with them?