It’s announcement time, and some of you guessed it! Road trip! One week from today, I’ll be on a plane to San Diego to meet my classmate, Edgardo “Lalo” Jara, OFM, and to drive him and his stuff all the way back to D.C.
Let’s take a step back, shall we? Lalo and I are from the same province and started our lives as friars the same day at the same place. We lived together for two years, postulancy in Delaware and novitiate in Wisconsin. But at the end of novitiate, because Catholic University would not accept his credits from his school in Costa Rica, Lalo was separated from the rest of our class: Lalo moved to San Diego to study at the Franciscan School of Theology while the rest of us moved to Washington, D.C. to study at Catholic University. Now, having finished his degree, it’s time for him to come home.
Why not just ship his stuff, you ask? We thought of that. Actually, that’s how he got everything there in the first place. We even shipped a car with the stuff he would need. And wouldn’t you know it? It’s much cheaper to drive a car across the country, even accounting for food for two people, than it is to ship it. “Franciscan poverty” was obviously not our only reason, though. It’s an adventure of a lifetime. In my case, with the exception of one year in Wisconsin, four days in Colorado, and three days in Los Angeles, I have never been off of the East Coast. I think I agreed to it before he even finished asking me. All I heard was “Adventure” when he asked me. “ROAD TRIP! WOO!”(The ironic thing was that he asked me the same day I returned from my vacation trip of 1500 miles and was already thinking to myself, “I want to go on a road trip. Great timing!)
So what’s the plan? Well, as a J on the Myers Briggs, I have had an itinerary set for months, including stops, food, and excursions. Because I live in a world that does not always go according to plan, however, I had to make major revisions not one hour ago when Lalo emailed to say that his immigration meeting was set for the middle of our planned trip. Looks like we’ll have to push everything back three days and shorten one leg. Bah! No matter. The show will go on… just a bit later and reorganized.
And what a show it will be. To cut down costs, and frankly, because it’s awesome to be a part of a worldwide fraternity, we will be staying each night at a different friary in a different Franciscan Province: Phoenix (Santa Barbara), Roswell, NM (Our Lady of Guadalupe), San Antonio (Sacred Heart), New Orleans (St. John the Baptist), and finally Greenville, SC (Holy Name), my province) before heading home to D.C. Six days, 3123 miles, seven total friaries, five Franciscans provinces, and at this point, zero idea how it’s going to work!
But do you want to know the best part?? You all get to go along the trip with us! That’s right. Besides the regular blog posts I’ll be writing each day to detail our trip, I am now the proud owner of a new video camera and consumer video editing equipment. Each day we hope to post not only picture of our travels but mini video clips so that you can take the journey with us. But wait, there’s more! Since Lalo and I plan to film the whole trip, and because, let’s be honest, it’s the type of trip that almost no one can say they’ve been on (have you ever been to seven friaries in seven cities in seven days?), I plan to edit all the material into a documentary style movie. Picture it now: two young friars, eager to restart their lives together as brothers and ministers, find each other as they’re getting lost in the beauty of the American landscape and the richness of Franciscan ministry. Sundance here we come! (Seriously though, neither of us knowns a thing about video editing or writing a movie, so let us know what you would watch. How long? What would you want to see? What should we avoid? What should we see in each place?)
All in all, I couldn’t be more excited. Sure, the plan has already failed us and we haven’t even started. But if being forced to stay an extra three days in sunny, beautiful San Diego is the considered a plan gone wrong, I think I’ll survive. We’re liable to have many more things go in ways we don’t expect, but who can really complain: I’ll be with my classmate, driving across a beautiful country, visiting friars. I’ll take it!
Be sure to check back each day starting May 22 to follow us on our trip. If you have any suggestions, be sure to comment here on the blog or tweet me @friarcasey. We’ll be taking requests, answering questions, and living the dream, so share this with everyone you know!
UPDATE: To read all posts related to the road trip, click here. You will need to start at the bottom and work up to get them in chronological order.