Europe 2007: Plans

“With a friend in every country, who can go to war?”

Project OverviewStage 1Stage 2Stage 3Stage 4Stage 5

Project Overview

Description and dates fully updated late July 2007!

Significant improvements made to project and phase descriptions.

The presence of personal, human connections that cross boundaries of nationality, religion, economics, and background is one of the most effective ways of securing peace in our world. It is only when we are made aware of the resources, needs, and perspectives of those who are different from us that a sustainable world community can be built. Cross-cultural exchange, the active mixing of people from different cultures and/or integration into a new environment even if only temporarily, is an effective way of opening eyes to new perspectives and greater understanding.

Building sustainable communities within that larger picture is a second way of securing peace. Community can be actively built, as a result of shared experience guided by factors that influence community development, and it can be made sustainable with a bit of knowledge and attention paid to the way the community is organized and run. Sustainable communities provide a peacefully organized, meaningful, functional unit of society that can be used to support members and help bring wider attention to the principles and issues the community cares about. Communities also change a great deal in their structure and results during the (ever-ongoing) process of modernization. Each structure along the way has its own benefits and drawbacks. During this trip, I had the opportunity many different community forms and a variety of approaches to common challenges, along with their appropriate variety of results.

It is important to spread the word about these experiences, exchanges, and communities. Though it is not necessarily possible to bring every person into an international, cross-cultural exchange, one way to spread the experience is through a universal language of photography. This art form (as with most others) is a way of showing and spreading an appreciation for the beauty of the world around us. In the form I plan to share it, through a web site ( which might hopefully be finished this fall, it is also quite portable and easily shared across a wide audience.

These are the three main channels for peacebuilding in this project: building sustainable communities, cross-cultural exchange, and photography. This project is an international expedition that will take place in Europe in 2007, in five stages which each begin at the end of the previous stage.

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Stage 1: Introduction to European Travel

January 25-May 28, 2007: Based in Bremen, Germany

Stage 1 was heavily based on a study abroad program and serves as the base point for an introduction to European travel, as well as building foundational connections, experiences, knowledge, and added language skills. I studied at the International University of Bremen (IUB) in northern Germany, through a study abroad partnership with Lafayette College. IUB (now called Jacobs University Bremen) aims to be a mixing point for cultures, nations, and knowledge, and currently hosts 1,000 students from 86 countries.

Course selection for this semester includes “German Politics & Culture,” “German Language,” “Analog Circuits” (to keep on track with Lafayette’s Electrical & Computer Engineering degree program), “Engineering Professionalism & Ethics,” and “Civic Networks and Social Capital” (learning more about building sustainable communities).

Almost every weekend, I traveled (usually with other students) to other destinations in northern and central Europe, most of them within Germany. Five of these trips were sponsored by the University in connection with our German Politics and Culture course.

Timeline: Stage 1
(Subject to change.)
All dates not noted below indicate IUB.
January 25-26 New Hampshire -> Bremen,
via Newark & Frankfurt
January 27-30 Orientation Days
February 1 Classes Start
February 2-4 Amsterdam
February 9-11 [IUB]
February 16-18 Berlin
February 23-25 Slovenia, via Salzburg
March 2-4 Hannover, Bremen, IUB
March 9-11 Northern Germany
March 16-18 Munich
March 23-25 Vienna
March 29-31 Neuschwanstein, Fьssen, and Cologne
April 1-8 Norway: Oslo, Bergen, & Hiking
(IUB Spring Break)
April 13-15 Dresden
April 20-22 Black Forest
April 25-29 Brussels
May 4-6 Lower Saxony Area, IUB
May 11-13 Copenhagen
May 19 Bremerhaven
May 28 Hanover
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Stages 2 and 3: "In The Loop" Around Europe

May 29-July 23, 2007

The completion of the semester at IUB marks the beginning of Stage 2, the first half of a backpacking trip in a clockwise loop around Europe.

The major distinguishing feature between Stages 2 and 3 has been erased (as plans are flexible, and must be!), so geography is all that is left: Stage 2 was mostly in Eastern Europe, while Stage 3 was "From the Mediterranean to Middle Earth: Traversing Southern and Western Europe."

Acquaintence Noelle Price jokes in her song July, "I make my plans and then my plans make fun of me." These plans used to change quite often. Since they are now history, these dates are accurate and won't change.

Timeline: Stages 2-3
May 29 Werfen, Austria
May 30 Salzburg, Austria
May 31-1 Budapest, Hungary
June 2-4 Sovata, Romania
June 5-6 Southern Carpathian Mountains (Siania, Romania)
June 6-7 Bucharest, Romania
June 8 Ruse, Bulgaria
June 9 Veliko Tвrnovo, Bulgaria
June 10-12 Sapareva Bania, Bulgaria
June 11-12 Rila Mountains, Bulgaria
June 11-12 Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria
June 13-15 Ohrid, Macedonia
June 16 Thessaloniki and Litochoro, Greece
June 17 Mt. Olympus
June 18 Athens, Greece
June 19 Corinth, Greece
June 20 Patras, Greece
June 21-22 Naples, Italy
June 23-24 Rome
June 25-26 Venice
June 27 Florence
June 28 Rome and Vatican
June 29-1 Split and Dubrovnik, Croatia
July 2-3 Slovenia
July 4 Graz, Austria
July 5 Zurich, Switzerland
July 6 Barcelona, Spain
July 7-9 Spain / Portugal
July 10-12 Pamplona
(La Fiestas de San Fermin/Running of the Bulls)
July 13-15 Paris
(Bastille Day)
July 16-17 Luxembourg
July 18-20 Interlaken, Switzerland
July 21 Prague Czech Republic
July 22 Bremen, Germany
July 23 Bremen -> London
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Stage 4: One World, One Promise

July 24-August 9, 2007: Chelmsford, England

Good mental picture: The Olympics

The 21st World Scout Jamboree was held at Hylands Park just outside of London. 40,000 Scouts, Venturers, leaders, and staff from around the world joined together to share adventure, international friendship, personal growth, and development. A World Jamboree is similar to the Olympics in many ways (though it is a bit less competitive), if you don't know what it is. The theme for this jamboree was "One World, One Promise" and celebrated Scouting’s centenary: 100 years to the minute, among other celebrations of the peace-building and life-improving power of the Scouting movement. Key elements of the Jamboree program include the Global Development Village exploring current world challenges through workshops by the UN and other specialists, the Trash area exploring ways to reduce waste and recycle old materials into new and creative uses, the science-based Elements area, a Faiths and Beliefs zone, and a few World Villages each with different aims. Three off-site locations included Splash for water activities, Starburst for local community service projects, and Gillwell Park (the home of Scouting in Britain) for archery, rock climbing, rappelling, a long slip 'n' slide, Challenge Valley, and more. I joined the International Service Team, as an Eagle Scout with Gold Palm in the USA's contingent. Working as an IST member makes the event more possibly affordable, flexible, opens up great opportunities for meeting and working with other youth and adults from all over the world, and was a whole lot of fun. This event is a strong candidate for my "highlight of the decade."

Timeline: Stage 4
July- Early (Build period starts)
July 24 IST Arrival Date
July 25-26 IST General Training and site preparations
July 27 Participants Main Arrival Day
July 28 Opening Ceremony
July 29-31 Programme
August 1 Sunrise Day
August 2-6 Programme
August 7 Closing Ceremony
August 8 Participants Main Departure Date
August 9 Most IST depart
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Stage 5: Back in the English-Speaking World

August 10-20, 2007: UK & Ireland

The fifth phase featured an exploration of the British Isles, and followed the same style of travel as stages 2 and 3.

Timeline: Stage 5
August 10-11 London, England
August 12 Kent, England
August 13-14 Rochdale, England
August 15 The Lakes District, England
August 16 Edinburgh, Scotland
August 17 Glasgow, Scotland
August 18 Dublin, Ireland
August 19 Bray, Ireland
August 20 Dublin -> New Hampshire,
via London, Reykjavik, & Boston
August 21-23 Litchfield area, New Hampshire
August 24 Shavertown, Pennsyslvania
August 25+ Lafayette College
Easton, Pennyslvania
August 26 This Plans page last updated

"Leave only footprints, take only photographs, kill only time."

Project OverviewStage 1Stage 2Stage 3Stage 4Stage 5

This "Plans" page last updated 26 August 2007.

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