Category Archives: Travel

How my son is doing.

Many of you have asked how my son is doing.

For those who don’t know, my son, Jackson, nearly died on April 13, 2017, when the 15 passenger van he was driving flipped on I-70.  He was just west of Strasburg, Colorado.

Here is the newspaper article where the picture appears: http://i-70scout.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/04-18-2017-Full-Edition.pdf

He and a friend, Mitchell, were heading home.  They had finished a photography road trip out west.  You can look at some of their pictures if you like.

You can see some of their pictures if you like.

Here is Jackson’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jacksonkthomas/

Here is Mitchell’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mitchell_mullins/

My son was critically injured.  Miraculously, he survived.  Even more miraculously, he is recovering at a ridiculous rate.  We are so grateful.

My wife, Gretchen, has been blogging through the entire ordeal.  You can follow her updates here:

https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jackson.thomas?utm_source=SilverpopTransact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Repeat%20Author%20Autoresponder%20(10.24.16)

As for me, I’m not blogging through the events the way I would like.  Had to get back to work.

Travel books?

I received this question from one of my students:

I was wondering if there were any books you would recommend which you or your family members may have read in preparation to travel and live in a different country.

Hope you are enjoying Greece so far! I am loving your daughter’s blog. You guys are in my prayers.

Here is my reply:

Hi!

I apologize for the delay. Recovering from a family emergency as you probably know.  Finally catching up this evening…

My kids get annoyed with me because I am really only interested in Europe.  They tell me the world is bigger than Europe, but I don’t believe it.  I grew up over there, and I love it.

That said, my favorite travel book is by Rick Steves.  Europe through the back door.  It is more of a tourist book, but I find it helpful and interesting.  

My favorite book about a traveler is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

One of the most useful books on travel I have ever read is Vagabonding, by Ralph Potts.  This one comes with a PG-13 warning, at least.  Perhaps R.  Overall, it is great.  But, there are moments….  We try very hard to travel cheaply.  This book helps with that.  

I hope that helps!

This may be a great question for Lydia, too.  I’ll bet she has her own list.

Have a great night!

Dwane Thomas

My new job.

It is slowly dawning on me that I have a new job.

My wife and I continue to spend a lot of time at the hospital.  She spends more time there than I.

Before my son’s accident my schedule looked something like this:

5 a.m. to noon.  Study Greek, study Latin, blog, write, respond to emails, work on this website.

Noon to 4 p.m. or, so.  Learn with my daughters, online education with my daughters, explore/learn the city of Athens in preparation for upcoming short-term mission teams.

Since my son’s accident, life has been a confusing jumble.  For the first two weeks or so, my son needed 24-hour monitoring.  My wife took days and I took nights.  During the nights, he would wake up every hour asking to leave the hospital, asking to go home, or asking to go to the restroom.  He was delirious.  He was so drugged up he had no idea where he was.  He didn’t know why he was tied to his bed.  It was an exhausting two weeks.  In the morning, I would go home and sleep.  My wife would head back to the hospital to watch my son during the day.

My girls tried to homeschool themselves as best they could.

During these two weeks, I stopped teaching.  I fell incredibly behind.  All of the plates I had spinning hit the floor.  I remain incredibly behind.

My son no longer needs 24/7 monitoring.  He is slowly recovering.  He has a very long way to go.  We received some depressing news yesterday.  His left hand isn’t really working.

Since I  am no longer monitoring my son at night,  I foolishly thought I could return to normal.  This week, reality grabbed the front of my shirt and shoved me to the wall.  Reality asked me some questions I couldn’t answer.

Instead of catching up, I continue to fall further behind.  I don’t have 5 a.m. to noon to work anymore.  If I am lucky, I have 5 a.m. to 7 a.m.  Two hours to answer hundreds of emails.  Two hours to grade hundreds of assignments.  Those assignments are written in Latin and Greek, by the way.  It’s tough to rush through that kind of work.  Two hours to study.  Two hours to read, blog, and write.

It isn’t possible.

However, quitting is not an option.  This is how I provide for my family.  This is how I begin to pay the medical bills.

Last night, I admitted what I did not want to admit.  My son’s accident has created a new job for me.  My paying job will have to be pushed again to the fringes.  I have to resurrect an old habit.  It’s time to get back up at 3 in the morning.

If you have read my book, Via, you know that for a period of ten years, or so, I rose at three, sometimes two in the morning.  I used the extra four, or five hours a day to write Visual Latin and Via.  I used the extra time to study Latin and Greek.  I used the extra time to build this website.  When financial freedom finally showed up, I stopped getting up at insane hours.  I started working during the daylight.

Since my son wrecked, I have lost those daytime hours.  At first, I didn’t want to admit it.  But, it didn’t matter that I didn’t want to face the truth.  The truth showed up anyway.  The division of labor in our home has collapsed.  My wife has a new job.  She is now taking care of my son full-time.  All that she once did now falls on myself and my girls.  We live in a new house (rented).  We live in a new city (confusing).  We are down to one car (rented).

There is too much to learn.  There is too much to take care of.  On top of taking care of my son full-time, my wife is bogged down in bureaucratic medical and insurance paperwork.  There is no end in site.

Daily, I fall further behind.  I need more time.  The only option is to trade sleep for time. Back to work at three in the morning.

Please be patient with me.  I am trying to catch up.

– Dwane

Shops

So… some time ago I sent out an email entitled, “Lead from the front.”  You may have noticed that the email had nothing to do with the title.
That’s because it didn’t.

I was working on another email when my son’s vehicle flipped six times on Interstate 70.  After the accident, my life became a confusing tailspin.  So, among other mistakes, I sent a misnamed email.

Some day, I may send the email that I was working on.

Life is starting to become a bit “normal” again.  My family and I left Athens, where I was studying Greek, and moved to Aurora, Colorado, where my son wrecked.  He spent two weeks in the Intensive Care Unit and he is now living in a rehabilitation hospital.  They say he will be there for at least a month.

My wife spends a lot of time at the hospital.  My girls and I are there too, but not as much.

As you can imagine, much has changed in our lives.  I know many of you have lived through similar situations.

Before the wreck, I rarely spent time in stores.  My wife is far better at shopping.  Since the wreck, I have ended up shopping more.  In other words, I now spend a lot of time wandering up and down aisles looking for items.  Usually, I end up bugging the workers.  Can you help me find ___________?

Fortunately, if you have a smartphone, help is available.  This application actually helps you locate items in the store… by aisle!  https://www.aisle411.com/shops/

Likely, this app is only useful for the guys reading this. My wife and daughters just roll their eyes at me.  Somehow, they know where everything is located in stores.  I don’t know how they do this.

If you are like me, check out Shops!  Save yourself some frustration and save yourself some time.

Have a happy Monday!
Dwane Thomas

P.S.  If you are in one of my online classes, and if you are wondering, the answer is, “Yes. Classes WILL resume tomorrow.”

And, finally, if you are waiting for a response from me, hang in there.  Doing my best to catch up.

How can I afford to move my family to Greece?

Yesterday during one of my classes, a student asked, “Mr. Thomas, How can you afford to move your entire family to Greece?”

Good question.  I frequently ask myself the same question.

First, let me start with the “why”.  Why have I moved my entire family to Greece?

It’s simple.  I want to master the Greek language.  Modern, Biblical, and Classical.  By my own estimate, I believe this is going to take about 10 years.

I first decided to master the Greek language about three years ago.  Immediately, I began looking into the academic route.  Since Vanderbilt University is a half-hour from my home in Franklin, Tennessee, I began my search there.  The search ended almost as quickly as it began.  To study the Classics at Vanderbilt would cost about $45,000 a year.

Since Vanderbilt University is a half-hour from my home in Franklin, Tennessee, I began my search there.  The search ended almost as quickly as it began.  To study the Classics at Vanderbilt would cost about $45,000 a year.

$45,000 a year?  “For that price,” I thought, “I could move my family to Greece!  Hey.  Wait a minute.  For that price, I could move my entire family to Greece!”

And, that, my friends, is how this all began.

It turns out, I could move my family to Greece for much, much less.

So, how can I do this?

The story is a long one.

I will start with the short version.  Perhaps later, I will write out the long version.  Right now, I have about 200 emails to respond to.  The short version will have to do.

When moving overseas, the main expenses are food, lodging, and transportation.

First, my family eats food in Tennessee.  I can’t seem to get them to stop.  Now we are in Greece.  They want to eat food here, too.  There really is no cost difference here.  We eat there.  We eat here.   We are not spending any more on food in Greece than we were in Tennessee.  However, my wife does feel that the price of food has gone up in Greece since last year.

Second, we rent out our home in Tennessee.  We live in a condo.  We have lived in condos for 20 years.  Housing is expensive in Franklin, Tennessee.  We bought a condo while we saved for a home.  While we were saving for a home, the prices of homes skyrocketed.  Now, we cannot afford a home.  Oh well.

We live in a condo.  We have lived in condos for 20 years.  Housing is expensive in Franklin, Tennessee.  We bought a condo while we saved for a home.  While we were saving for a home, the prices of homes skyrocketed.  Now, we cannot afford a home.  Oh well.

Last year, we rented our condo.  The rent there paid for our rent here.  This meant that we were really not paying for housing.  This year, we did not have as much luck renting our place in Tennessee.  But, we are still hopeful.  A friend is showing our place while we are here.

We do not have a car over here in Greece.  We use cheap public transportation.  Public transportation here costs much less than gasoline back home.  We are actually saving money on daily transportation.

In the end, airline tickets are the only real expense.  And, they are a real expense.  I wish there were a way to avoid this cost.  There isn’t.  I looked.   We can’t drive to Greece.  I did look into taking a cruise to Greece.  But, cruising cost more than flying.

Life in Greece is not as glamorous as all of my friends think it is, but it is also not as expensive as everyone thinks it is.

It is my goal to blog daily about our time over here, but, for now… back to that overwhelming mountain of emails.