Last year in Cape Town, South Africa I chickened out and didn’t jump off the Bloukrans Bridge but this time in Greece I wasn’t going to make the same mistake! Standing on the bridge over looking the 300 foot Corinth Canal was the scariest moment of my life. I spent my last 22 years using common sense knowing you don’t touch a hot stove or jump off a bridge, but all of that went out the door last week.
I can still hear these gut wrenching words as I’m staring out into the depths of the canal. It’s now or never. I regretted not jumping in South Africa for an entire year. Now is my do or die moment. Here’s the video from that incredible moment:
HIGH: Bungee jumping was the most exhilerating thing I’ve ever done! The rush you get is completely unforgettable and amazing
LOW: I definitely won the award for Most Awkward Bungee Jump Ever…But I made it so I guess I’ve gotta count my blessings!
Beautiful Disaster. That just about sums up the last 24 hours. With 40+ students scheduled to arrive in Greece bright and early tomorrow morning the last few days have been sort of a whirlwind. We’ve been running around Athens and Glyfada trying to make sure everything is perfect (or as close to it as possible) for the students. Two messy people in one hotel room packing 50 welcome bags and care packages did not bode well for the cleanliness of room #215. This picture on the right was taken mid-hurricane as you can tell, but all the care packages are done. Fortunately we cleaned the room up and are awaiting the arrival of the students.
Unfortunately US Airways had other plans in mind and cancelled the flight out of Atlanta for 30 of the students on the program causing them to miss their connecting flight. Hopefully this little set back has everyone getting into Athens only a day late and our programming isn’t thrown off too bad. But I guess when you are arranging 50 flights across the world you have to expect some delays/set backs. C’est la vie.
“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” ~Lao Tzu
HIGH: I’m still pretty excited to meet the 8 students that are actually arriving on time tomorrow!
LOW: I just feel bad for the students delayed in ATL.
Every morning I wake up I have to keep pinching myself… I honestly can’t believe I’m getting paid to explore Greece! This week Beth Ann and I went to the little island of Santorini to do some research on new hotels, activities to do, places to go, etc.
Santorini is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. The blue domed buildings scattered across the island make for a gorgeous setting. I’m excited to go back next month and check out what has been called the “best sunset in the world.” B.A. and I made some new friends too that I’m looking forward to see again. The waiter at a local restaurant must have given us over a liter of free wine. #winning.
The LEAD Greece students get here in a few days and the work is definitely piling up but I’m looking forward to going on some adventures with 45 more people!
HIGH: 1 beautiful island + lots of fun people + liters of free alcohol = 1 very happy Jhaff!
LOW: I wish we could’ve spent more time at Santorini… (but I’ll be back there for 8 days in June!)
Greece is a clash of cultures. It’s ancient history meets modern day business. Old souls and young European hipsters. High rise buildings neighbor archaic ruins. The stark contrast in Athens is remarkable.
In just a few days here I’ve seen so much culture and history. The people in Greece are extremely proud and there are more museums here per capita than any other city I’ve ever seen.
We left our little suburb of Glyfada (more on it in future posts) to explore Athens. I did some research and found some young, trendy Athens neighborhoods near the city center and we researched some spots for the students to hang out in the next few weeks. One of the places, Kolonaki (a central Athens “chic” neighborhood) sat at the bottom of Lycabettus Hill, the highest point in the city. The views from the top were amazing. It was extremely humbling to see just how enormous the city was from a birds-eye view. Greece has so much to see and do I’m excited to spend the next month or so here soaking it all in. On the agenda next week: “Research” Trip to the gorgeous island of Santorini for a few days. I’m loving my life/job right now!
Busy street w/ Acropolis in background
The Acropolis from Lycabettus Hill
Changing of the Guard @ Parliament
Guards @ Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Church in main intersection
Lycabettus Hill view of Acropolis
High: The history buff in me loves wandering around the REAL Athens.
Low: Beth Ann has us doing P90X everyday. Gonna be sore this whole trip. But no pain, no gain, I guess…
Just landed at JFK International in NYC for a 7 hour layover before jetting off to Greece. To keep my sanity I purchased some WiFi and stumbled across #StarWarsDay on twitter. “May The 4th Be With You.” Here’s my favorite Super Bowl commercial from this year that is surprisingly appropriate:
HIGH: I’ll be in Greece in about 16 hours!
LOW: I’ll be missing Cinco de Mayo in the states. (Hopefully we’ll find some Mexican/Latin food though!)
I’ve always been a beach house kinda guy but after a few days at the lake I definitely could see why you’d vacation there. I spent a weekend in the mountains at Lake Rabun in north Georgia and it was fantastic. You really have the feeling that you’ve escaped from the world. Not having a computer or phone (thanks AT&T) was actually really freeing. Getting away from the hustle and bustle of college life was a good for a weekend.
I decided that I should end every blog post with ‘Highs’ and ‘Lows’ from the trip/experience.
HIGH: I got to meet some of the amazing people I’m going to be spending the summer with in Europe. The LEAD Greece crew is legit, to say the least and I’ll be jetting off there in less than 3 weeks!
LOW: These little black dots are popping up on my pictures. I might need to call Canon about this…
Well probably not the final countdown, but that just has a nice ring to it. A quick check of Delta Airlines and I got a nice little surprise. They’re counting down the days until my next flights for me:
5 days until San Diego!
56 days until Greece!
2011 is really turning into a crazy adventure for me and I couldn’t be more excited! This semester seems to be flying by so I’m definitely glad I made the decision to graduate in December. My “cool down” lap in the race to get a college degree will definitely be necessary. I’m not ready for this world-wind journey in Athens to be over yet!
In honor of the Lakers win in Phillips Arena this week and my flight to LAX next week I’ll leave this post off with a little Randy Newman. They play this after Kobe gets a win in the Staples Center…
There are only about 2 weeks left until spring break and I can’t wait to hit up Cali again! As mid-terms approach, school and work are starting to pile up but all I can think about is returning to the West Coast.
It seems like everywhere I turn California is calling my name. The Oscars are on tonight and my friend Blake is on the Red Carpet as a finalist in MTVu’s Correspondent Contest. After being in So Cal for a summer and doing some entertainment news work with my internship I can’t help but look at the Oscars with a different light.
My co-workers are flying to LA this week with the UGA Gymnastics team. The Gymdogs are competing against the defending national champion UCLA team next weekend. It will definitely be a big meet for the girls in Cali.
My other calling to California is this commercial that seems to be playing on repeat these days. If this doesn’t make you want to go to California, something is wrong with you..
A recent conversation with my buddy Carey Clinton sparked a new Bucket List item I’d like to check off. At the end of this year Carey will have been to 30 different countries in his 30 years. I’d love to be able to do this and maybe more in the next few years! Anyone want to travel to a couple of countries with me?! 🙂
Here’s my list so far:
3. South Africa
8. Trinidad & Tobago
10. Grand Cayman
This summer I’m working in/adventuring through Europe. So hopefully I’ll also be able to check off GREECE, Italy, France, Portugal (and maybe the Vatican and Monaco) if everything works out! Also on my short list of places to go is South America. That’s one area of the world I’d really love to go explore! Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, and Colombia would be incredible places to check out.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina is a beautiful city. It has great mixture of old and new that flows seamlessly together. The University of North Carolina campus reminds me a lot of North Campus at UGA. As the 2nd oldest public school in the country you can see a lot of similarities with Georgia.
The basketball culture in Chapel Hill is incredible the town bleeds Carolina Blue (which apparently is different from Baby Blue). It would be a lot of fun in the spring to go to a big basketball school (even though they lost to Duke this week). I guess the emphasis isn’t placed on football at all since we did a mini photo shoot on the 50 yd line of Kenan Memorial Stadium (wouldn’t happen at Sanford Stadium).
I definitely felt right at home at UNC. You could feel the parallels between the Chapel Hill campus and Athens. These are easily two of my favorite college towns. Such rich history, tradition, and culture at both universities.