Category Archives: Van on the Run

Seemed like a good idea…

In March, my family and I drove to Miami.   We left our van at a storage facility about 20 minutes from the airport.  It was our plan to pick it up in July when we returned from Athens.

But, then my son crashed in Denver, and we flew directly from Athens.  Our van stayed in Miami.

A few days ago (Monday), I flew down to Miami to pick up our van.  A good friend of mine sent some frequent flyer miles my way so that I wouldn’t have to pay for the flight.  Thanks, Zach.

I arrived in Miami about 8 o’clock Monday night, took an Uber to the storage facility, checked the fluids, started the van, and began the 16-hour drive home.

Unfortunately, tropical storm Emily showed up about the same time I did.  Lots of rain.

About two hours north of Miami, near Cocoa Beach, the windshield wipers on my old van gave out.  I pulled into the gas station and waited for the rain to stop.  I ended up sleeping there in the parking lot until about five in the morning.

By five or so, the skies were clear.   I drank some coffee and began driving again.

Didn’t get very far this time.  A little north of Cocoa Beach, The power steering went out.  I pulled over again and checked all the fluids.  I learned to drive in the 80s.  I knew I could live without power steering.  I decided to keep on driving.

I I got back on the interstate and drove about a mile or two before all systems began shutting down.

I pulled over on the side of the interstate, called AAA, and waited for a while.  None of the towing companies could get to me for an hour or so.

So, I spent about an hour on Duo Lingo practicing Italian and Greek.

Long story short (probably too late for that) I had the van towed to a salvage yard.  The tow truck driver dropped me off at a car rental location.

What was supposed to take16 hours ended up taking over 24 hours.  Naturally, I’m behind again on emails.  I believe at some point in my life I must have offended email gods.  Now there are angry with me.

Anyway, I’m home now.  Doing my best to catch up.  You should hear from me soon.

On the road…

I will not be responding to email this afternoon and I will not be responding on Tuesday, August 1.

When we flew to Athens, Greece we flew out of Miami, FL.  We left our car parked there.  We were going to fly back into Athens later and drive home.

Then, when my son’s accident happened, we skipped Miami and flew to Denver, Colorado.

We never did go pick up our car in Florida.

This afternoon, I am flying down to Miami.  Tomorrow, I will be on the road all day as I drive home.

It’s not all bad.  It is my plan to catch up on Coffee Break Italian.   I am really looking forward to the drive, actually.  I could use some intensive Italian training.

If you are around…

As everyone knows by now, my son survived a brutal car accident on April 13.  Three months tomorrow.

While we were in Denver, there were several fundraising parties thrown in our honor… in Franklin.

One of my girls complained.  They are throwing parties for us in our own hometown, and we don’t even get to go!

Heh.  That’s true, actually.

Since we have returned, my wife has decided to throw several parties to celebrate God’s mercy on my son and on our family.   If you know the story, you know that it is a miracle that my son is alive.

If you are around, consider yourself invited.  Even if you are not around, consider yourself invited.

The first party will happen tomorrow night (from 4 to 7ish) at McCreary’s Irish Pub in downtown Franklin.

The second will take place in a local park on July 25th.   More details soon.

Protect yourself before you go.

One of the great inventions of the modern world is insurance.  (I know.  I know.  It’s also one of the great nuisances of the modern world.)  But, think about it.  By pooling your resources with others, you can protect yourself from massive financial setbacks.

By now, all of you know that my son was in an accident in Colorado.  His accident brought my family back from Athens, Greece.  I had gone there to study Greek intensively.

When we heard of the accident, I immediately went online and bought a ticket for my wife.  She was on a plane for Colorado eight, or so, hours later.

My girls and I stayed in Athens.  We waited for more news.  How serious was the accident?  How badly was my son injured?

As news slowly filtered in, we realized the situation was, indeed, quite serious.  We settled all of our affairs in Athens and boarded a plane 24 hours behind my wife.

Last minute flights for myself, my wife, and my girls cost roughly $2,000 each.  So… $12,000.  With airport taxes and such, it was actually a bit higher than that.

Before our trip, my wife had purchased travel insurance for the family.  It cost $158.

This week, Allianz Global Assistance refunded the entire amount.  They deposited a little more than $12,000 directly into our checking account.

I am a bit of a complainer when it comes to taxes and insurance.  I shouldn’t complain, I know.  But… it feels so good.

Maybe I will stop complaining now.  Those $158 dollars my wife spent now numbers among our top 10 purchases for $158.

If you are traveling alone, you could possibly justify the risk of going without travel insurance.

But, if you are traveling with a family, do it.

And, if you are going to purchase travel insurance, consider Allianz Global Assistance.  They were easy to work with, and they upheld their end of the bargain.

Have a happy Saturday!
Dwane Thomas

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Athens, Greece, Georgia and the prices I charge.

People often ask me, “How can you afford to move to, and live in Europe?”

It’s simple.  Europe is about 40% cheaper than the United States.

I received an email offer from Holiday Lettings.   You could stay in California for about $110 per night.  Texas for about $75.

And… Italy?  Tuscany, Italy?  THE Tuscany, Italy that everyone dreams of visiting?

You could stay there for about $50 per night.

Here’s a fun one.

I went to  I plugged in the dates for this weekend.  June 29 – July 3.

I picked two cities.  Athens, Georgia and Athens, Greece.

This is what I got:

The average price for a place to stay in Athens, Greece this weekend is $66.

The average price for a place to stay in Athens, Georgia this weekend is $295.

Not to put too fine a point on it… America is expensive.  The rest of the world is available at a discount…. for the most part.  There are always exceptions, of course.

Flying to Europe is expensive.   Living there is not.

As Tim Ferris points out in the Four Hour Workweek, “… if you can escape the confines of the United States, you will find your money is worth five to ten times as much.”

This, by the way, is why I offer my classes at low prices.  I was born in Europe.  I was raised in Europe.  I am still a British citizen.

I have a very hard time charging high prices just because I am also an American citizen.

Tired of paying too much for online classes?  Want to join any of my classes?  Just click the button below: 

  • Billed once per month, 36 times

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Oh, and one more thing.  Athens, Georgia… you are Athens, Georgia.  You need to stop acting like you are THE Athens.

You aren’t.


After several months away, and more adventure than I asked for, my family and I are back home in Franklin, Tennessee.

I’m going to spend the next few days doing my very best to catch up.  I know many of you are waiting for a response from me.  You will hear from me soon.

I am also aware that my site has overcharged some of you.  Don’t worry.  I will make it right.  I’ll be sending refunds out over the next few days.

Thanks for all the prayers, everyone.


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:

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:

Here is Mitchell’s Instagram:

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:

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