Trip to Athens, Prague

In about 12 hours I’ll be taking the BART to SFO in order to fly to London, where I’ll meet my sister Rachel, who’s been doing a little backpacking around the UK. Together we’ll fly to Athens and spend about a week there. I’ve never been to Eastern Europe or the Mediterranean (apart from Barcelona), so I am very excited. Because we at Teleios (soon to be something else, hopefully) have been working furiously in preparation for the official launch of this website and more importantly our learning software, I haven’t had much time to focus on learning Greek, but I have been getting a minimal familiarity with the language. Ancient Greek doesn’t transfer super-well to understanding Modern, but it’s at least a good start, and I’ll certainly be able to read street signs for names.

Rachel and I aren’t too sure how we’re going to spend our days in Greece–we’ve heard that Athens is cool but not sustainable, so we’re going to try and visit some of the Isles or maybe some coast towns on the Peloponnesian.

After Athens, we have a couple days planned in Prague, another place I haven’t been. The word on the street is that Prague is almost not cool any more, now that all backpacking college students know it’s a good place to visit…but hopefully we’ll survive the tourism. Rachel has a friend from Capernwray who lives in Prague, and he has promised to show me where to find the best beer. Excellent!

I’m obviously looking forward to every part of this adventure, but given that a lot of it will involve some cultural or linguistic stresses or awkwardnesses (and given that I’m pretty sensitive to those situations), I’m honestly looking forward, at this very moment, to the plane flights. I think I’ve mentioned before how plane travel is a very “healing” sort of experience for me. It promotes the kind of solitude that helps me grow, helps me come to grips with myself, what I’m doing at the moment, what I’m doing in life, and so on. Since I’ve decided not to bring my computer along (can’t risk loss or damage), I’m also excited to have some companions who couldn’t possibly ask me to do work. I have 5 or 6 books which I hope to finish off, and I also put Howl’s Moving Castle on my iPod to watch, which I have been looking forward to seeing for a very long time.

Of course, I’m also very excited to have some extended time with my sister, whom I don’t get to see very often, and who I’m sure has changed a lot after this past year of school abroad.

I’m hoping that this trip will help provide clarity in my heart about what sorts of things I love, and maybe provide some clues about what I should be thinking about doing as I look ahead to next year and beyond. I have so many desires and dreams–they need some kind of ordering scheme or I’ll never be able to make any decisions that I feel good about. Oh well, I’m rambling…and I’ve got a lot of packing and e-mail writing to do. If I find a way to get on the inter nets where I’m going, I’ll try and check in here. Αδίοσας! (or however it might be spelled)

By Jonathan Lipps

Jonathan worked as a programmer in tech startups for several decades, but is also passionate about all kinds of creative pursuits and academic discussion. Jonathan has master’s degrees in philosophy and linguistics, from Stanford and Oxford respectively, and is working on another in theology. An American-Canadian, he lives in Vancouver, BC and has way too many hobbies.

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