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Action Jack Is Back!!!

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Hey friends!  I hope you didn’t think I had given up on the adventure business.  Since returning to The United States of America a few months ago I have been dividing my time between exploring what Grand Rapids, Michigan has to offer and developing my next adventure abroad.

There seems to be endless excitement here in Grand Rapids.  There are daily free concerts and classes in the plaza at Rosa Parks circle, which becomes an ice-skating rink in the winter.

  This is the plaza.  Rosa Parks Circle is on the left.

The B.O.B. (Big Old Building) is a 70,000 square foot, four story nightclub/comedy club/lounge/fine dining establishment that stays up late 7 nights a week.

  This is The B.O.B. on the right.  The building on the left is the home of the Grand Rapids Griffins hockey team, The Van Andel Arena.

Or for something different go to the neighborhood pub and music venue, The Pyramid Scheme.  Located in the Heartside District, they bring out the Grand Rapids night life like no other place in town by keeping the atmosphere of a local bar at a 425 person capacity live music venue that regularly hosts great local acts like Sailor Kicks and, as owner Jeff Vandeberg puts it, “fill(s) that mid-size national gap” for indie rock groups and regional acts.  The city is also gearing up for ArtPrize 2012, which runs from September 19 to October 7.  ArtPrize is the world’s largest art competition.  It encompasses more than 150 art venues scattered around the city and over half a million dollars is given away.  The contest is judged by the public and the winning artist receives a $200,000 top prize.  So all the nonstop buzz around the city should keep me plenty entertained until I leave for my next adventure, which brings me to my other purpose in writing today’s blog…

Action Jack’s Next Adventure!!!

Preparations for my next trip began as I headed down the highway in a Greyhound Bus bound for Detroit.  A little less than ten hours earlier I had landed at JFK Airport in New York City.  I was back in The United States of America for the first time in a few months.  I had missed many things about the U.S. while I was traveling Europe.  Most of all I missed my family and friends.  I kept thinking about how exciting it would be to see my parents again and watch my months-old nephew wave and giggle and grow without the aid of Skype or Facebook.

  This is my nephew.  He is shy.

A few hours into the ride I got out my computer and connected to the Greyhound’s traveling wifi network.  After I checked my emails and checked in on Facebook I closed up my big black laptop and set it on the empty seat next to me.  Now my thoughts shifted from what was ahead of me to what had happened in the last few months:  Darting through the mountains of Galicia with Mike and John on the way to Santa Cristina;

  These are the mountains.

  This is Santa Cristina.

Living in a communal society in the mountains of southern Spain;

  This is Beneficio, the “city centre” of the commune.  If you look close you can see dwellings all over the mountainside.

Receiving a Brazilian Real coin as a gift after sharing a dorm with my Brazilian friends in Dublin for a couple weeks;

  This is my Real (“ray-ol”).

And learning to play the cajon while being accompanied by Paulo on a didgeridoo in a hostel decorated entirely of pandas.

  OK.  It was not all pandas.  The decor was also inspired by a weird panda/cow hybrid that is a result of… well, it is a really long story that I asked about one long, cold night in Poland and I will spare you the details.

As I closed my eyes and leaned my head against the rattling bus window I thought about when the next time I would travel might be.  That thought, and the chatter of the window against the left side of my head, promised me that I would not be sleeping right now.  I soon realized that I had never even considered IF I would travel again.  It was just a question of WHEN.  I got out my notebook and began jotting down ideas on what this next adventure might look like.  When would I leave?  How long would I be gone?  Where would I go?  What would be some of my goals for the trip?  How can I better share my next adventure?

Now it has been four months since that first scribbled page.  I have continued answering those questions and many more that have sprung up since then.  Since any comprehensive explanation of all that I have done and will do in preparation of this trip is impossible I will give you some of the general ideas and try to fill in the details once the trip commences.

This Trip Will:  (all bullet points subject to change at any time)

– Be at least one year long

– Begin as soon as I have saved the amount of money I need to sustain myself for one year.  I am aiming for April 2013.

– Consist of work exchanges and Couch Surfing when possible.

– Be as thoroughly documented as possible through journals, photos, videos, art and any other available medium.

– Take place, at least in part, on a bicycle.

– Utilize any available opportunities to have unique/interesting experiences.

– Make it a virtue to interact with locals.

– Make it a virtue to interact with travelers.

So that really is about the best I can do to sum up what this trip will be at the moment.  In the meantime, I will continue to update Action Jack’s Adventures.  However, the format will be changing slightly.  OK, it will be changing quite a bit but I hope it will provide my readers with some entertainment and information until the live traveling format of Action Jack may resume.

This blog will still be updated with past stories that were written during traveling but for one reason or another were never posted.  I will be doing the same with photographs. This part of the blog will seem exactly the same to any past Action Jack readers.  In addition to these stories I will also be using my blog to address topics related to traveling.  I have had many experiences while traveling that I believe to be quite common among travelers.  Some were great.  Some were not.  The good ones I can recommend. The other ones I may have a solution for.  I would like to offer my experience and solicit the experience of others in the comments section as a way for travelers to help travelers.

Well, I hope this gives you some idea of what is coming up here at Action Jack’s Adventures.  I will begin posting again in the next few days.  Until then…

Hello Again

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Hey friends, I know it´s been a while since my last post.  I just wanted to let everyone know that there are plenty more adventures to report and I will do that as soon as I can.  I have been in Barcelona for about two weeks now and have had some great times.  I strolled around the Olympic Village, sat in the mountain top park designed by Gaudi, got a job doing promotions for a few nights, and much more.  Well, I am preparing for my next move (to Paris) and going to see the magic fountains at Placa Espanya tonight so I had better get going.  Until next time…