Has it really been a year since I last left the country? According to my blog posts it has, and that is slightly depressing. It’s not as if I haven’t been busy, or even staying put. I went to the Kentucky Derby, Washington DC, Seattle, and Nashville/Chattanooga for weddings, attended my 10 year high school reunion, watched Northwestern suffer a disappointing loss at the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, and partied it up in Austin and New York. Plus put on Be the Groove‘s first feature production. And there was Election Night in Grant Park. All of which probably deserved their own posts. But this has primarily been an international travel blog, so they never got written. Maybe I should expand the scope and be more inclusive–write some of the missing pieces. I do like America a lot more these days. (The side effect being that I can no longer use my favorite introduction of “Hi, I’m Jason, I’m American, but I didn’t vote for Bush.”)
But all of that is irrelevant right now. For lo! the time has come once again that I, your intrepid traveler, shall cross the wine-dark sea to venture to foreign lands.
This shall be my longest adventure to date, grander than the 2+ week Adventure Down Under, bigger than the 3+ week Asian Odyssey, and even more epic than the four week Greek Island Adventure.
It all began when my friend Ashley (one of the prime instigators of London NYE 2008) decided she was getting married in Barcelona. She met her fiancé while sailing around the world with Reach the World, so of course they’re going to get married somewhere awesome. Or it could be because she’s in grad school there. Or both.
Spain holds many great memories for me. España was my first real international adventure (I can’t count Canada, sorry) and should probably be held accountable for my chronic wanderlust. Two weeks. Summer after senior year of high school (10 years ago. Just had the reunion). Spanish class and our two teachers. A bottle of Absinthe (OK, it wasn’t all great memories–and Dad, this is probably the first you’re hearing about that). Swords were purchased. Tapas were consumed. Unfortunately, this was the era before digital cameras, so don’t expect to see those photos anytime soon.
And since I couldn’t be satisfied with just a few days for the wedding, I had to turn it into something bigger–I don’t take vacations, I take adventures. Thanks to my wonderful, beautiful, generous, munificent boss (are you reading this?), I will be traveling for the entire month of April.
I am booked on a flight from O'Hare International Airport to Ruzyně International Airport in Prague and will be returning from Aeroporto di Firenze in Florence (that ended up being my final destination as I hear Florence is great and it happened to be about $200 cheaper than other places).
The trip includes confirmed destinations:
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Budapest, Hungary (see my friend Jenny’s blog about living there)
- Barcelona, Spain
- Marrakesh and Fez, Morocco
- Turin and Florence, Italy
There are plenty of options in between cities and will most likely include Sevilla, Granada, Nice, and Cinque Terre.
Even coming in at just under five weeks, I had to make some tough decisions: Do I go to this place even though I’d only be there two days and it would kill a day to get there? Prague I managed to fit in by leaving a day earlier. The big disappointment was Paris. I really wanted to go and visit some friends there, but experience has convinced me it’s better to spend more time in fewer places. Paris will happen, though. I’ll get Boris the guitar player from my band Funk in the Trunk (EP dropping soon–we’ll be in the studio the weekend/the day before I leave).
Of course, I still fell somewhat victim to the temptation of fitting everything in, but hopefully I’ve struck a nice balance. None of my major destinations am I in for less than 3 days, some as many as 5. I think it’s a great itinerary. And I’m preparing myself: Estoy practicando mi Español y/e Imparo l'italiano. Let’s see if I can top my hour long sunrise/drunken conversation in nothing but Greek and Spanish.
As with my usual trips, I will probably only post every few days, but this time I’ve picked up a little of that social networking thing called Twitter. Updates should be more frequent, but in bite size chunks. The meals will come at the usual unplanned intervals when I happen to spend more than a few minutes at a computer.
So depending on what level you wish to stalk me, you can keep coming to this blog (subscribe to the RSS feed, or drop your email in the box in the upper right corner that says “Subscribe”) or you can keep up with my twitter feed at www.twitter.com/jasonhanggi
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