T-minus hours

You know that feeling when you suddenly realize that maybe you should’ve just played it safe with a boring summer at home instead of being crazy enough to buy plane tickets that will take you all over the world? No? Good. Me neither.

Am I nervous? Sure. But the excitement of the prospect of fulfilling so many dreams in the next four short months far outweighs any other emotions going through me right now. It’s the anticipation that’s killing me!


In only a few hours I will be on a plane to the great French City of Light. Days later I will be on another plane to the rock-built capital of the ancient Nabataeans, and one of the new seven wonders of the world. In about six weeks I’ll once again soar through the clouds (isn’t that miracle enough?), this time to go to the supposed birthplace of democracy, only to fly that same night to the Holy Land and take a bus to the City of David. Two weeks more and a different adventure begins at the land of hope and glory, as does my experience as a student at one of the oldest universities in the world. Afterwards comes some relaxing and hiking in the mountains once crossed by Hannibal and a bunch of unlucky elephants. And then, well, it’s back to the Rockies for me!

This is sure to be one action-packed summer. I have a feeling I’ll come back from my “vacation” much more tired than how I left. But hey, that’s what adventures are for, right? At least that’s what I keep telling myself. You always come back needing a vacation from your vacation. The only brief moment of respite I’ve managed to get have been a couple days of post-finals wind-down walks, bike rides, bonfires, sleep-ins, and laziness. And now the bags are (mostly) packed and I’m ready to get this thing underway.

Recent mountain biking expedition.

I’ve decided that a list of what I want to get out of all this would help me actually achieve it! So here it is, the (initial) goal list for Juan’s Summer 2014 Adventures (subject to change):

  • Have a full conversation on the street with a French person—in French.

  • Get a totally epic picture in front of the Eiffel Tower and send it to someone as a postcard.

  • Find a human skeleton in Petra.

  • Take a picture on the pinnacle of Ad Deir in Petra. (Only if we’re allowed up there of course.)

  • Find a way to make it to the acropolis in Athens to see the Parthenon with what little time I have there.

  • Advance a full level of Hebrew (to ד) during my two weeks in Jerusalem!!

  • Have a meal at the BYU Jerusalem Center with friends.

  • Do a morning jog up Mount Scopus at least five times.

  • Write a killer research paper through my Cambridge PKP Supervision Option.

  • Win the Kennedy Center ISP Blog Competition.

  • Take three worthy pictures to submit to the annual ISP Photo Contest.

  • Visit a castle in Scotland.

  • Wear a kilt in public.

  • Punt down the River Cam.

  • Go to a King’s Singers performance in King’s College Chapel.

  • Hike to the top of Schilthorn in the Alps.

  • Make it back to Provo in one piece.

This list is sure to grow as I come up with more ideas that sound awesome, and I’ll probably post it as its own page where I will keep track of the goals I accomplish. Do you have any suggestions for things to add to the list?

Frijoles Pinto, anyone?