Posted by: Mark Wollemann: On the move | August 21, 2013

Fat and happy

I call this one: Fat man+Gravity = all kinds of awesome (Costa Rica).

I call this one: Fat man+Gravity = all kinds of awesome (Costa Rica).

It wasn’t exactly “veni, vedi, veci,” but our summer can be summed up almost as succinctly: We traveled, we ate, we drank.

While we didn’t conquer any foreign lands militarily, we did put a small dent in a few wine, rakia and beer collections. We dined on some fine food. And we saw parts of the world we had never before seen. Exercise? Outside of exhausting 500ml curls (a metric variation of the 12-ounce curls for my American friends), we did precious little more than lift ourselves from one chair to another.

So, all in all, I’d say this was a continuation of the incredible ride we’ve been on for the last two years. And Year 3 is just around the corner. Students start arriving on campus this weekend. Orientation begins next week and a week from Monday — Sept. 2 — we begin classes.

It’s been quite awhile since I lived my life by the academic calendar, but it’s starting to grow on me.

There’s nothing in my first 50 years that compares to the travel experiences I’ve shared with the boss (Melody was named Department Chair for JMC in the spring) these past two years. I’ll just list the places we’ve been: Serbia (Belgrade, twice! and the south of Serbia is remarkably rugged and naturally beautiful), Budapest, Slovakia, Paris, Amsterdam, Thessaloniki, Greece, the Black Sea (three times and counting — place is a gem), Macedonia (three times — Lake Ohrid is not to be missed), Kosovo (twice — Prizren is a beautiful little town), Albania (white water rafting, beautiful coastal areas — untrammeled natural beauty and great, great mussels!), Montenegro (wine, great food, the Jamaicans of the Balkans in my book, just amazing people — and the most ruggedly beautiful scenery imaginable. One person called it: “Stupidly beautiful.” I can’t disagree). We saw several parts of Bosnia-Herzogovina, including Sarajevo, and also the Dalmatian Coast (Split and Dubrovnik, Croatia).

To top it off, we did a nearly 8,000-mile road trip last summer and this summer visited Costa Rica. Everyone raves about the place and I can see why. We didn’t see a lot of the country, but the people are tremendous and the scenery is breathtaking. The roads, well, yeah … they’re not so great. And based on the locals we spoke to, it’s getting pretty pricey. But if you can make it there, you won’t regret the trip. The coastal areas are amazing. The people are helpful and sweet. The equatorial climate and the creatures who inhabit it are stunning. We were there during the rainy season (beginning of August), but we saw plenty of sun, and swimming in the Pacific was sweet. Sleeping on the beach is something I also highly recommend.

So, basically, we’ve been running after life like it’s slipping through our fingers. And, of course it is, so we drink it up with enthusiastic gulps and keep asking for more. It might occasionally fatten our midsections, but I’ll take it. I’d rather go out fat and happy, after all.




  1. As you are aware, I sense that your ventures are rare and rich! Thanks for sharing; let’s preserve this amazing world!

    Ava Dale

  2. you suck

    Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2013 15:52:58 +0000 To:

  3. Best summer ever!

  4. You and Tune continue to amaze and inspire me. I clearly remember the day you two left for MSP to begin this journey. Driving away from your house after saying goodbye, it hit me that I wanted an adventure, too. So, here I am, one week away from starting classes at ISU. Life is an adventure. Thank you for showing me that it can start at any point. THANKS!

  5. Good luck on year #3, professor. Thanks for keeping us updated on your travels!

  6. […] That summer ended with a trip to Costa Rica for the wedding of our daughter’s best friend (Mark writes more often in his blog, so you can read more about that here). […]

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