So awhile back, I noted that one of my ambitions is to get to Rome (and truth to tell, across France to Dunkirk and then on to England (particularly Oxford and Glastonbury) because I am working on a novel and am operating at the distinct disadvantage of knowing almost nothing of the locales in which it occurs. Now, of course, the great thing about fiction is that you can just make stuff up. But still and all, there’s something to be said for versimilitude and not telegraphing to readers, “I have no idea what I’m talking about”.
So since I have an operating budget of approximately zero dollars I conceived the crazy idea of going on some sort of pilgrimage/tour thingie to Rome and/or wherever else I can get to in Europe, and acting as tagalong teacher about Catholic stuff. Result: I get my research and my fellow pilgrims get freebie teaching about the faith from Yr. Obdt. Svt. It was more or less a pipe dream, but I mentioned it on the blog in the hope that some reader out there who knows about such things might say, “It’s crazy enough that it just might work!”
Sure enough, one of my readers, the intrepid Barbara Wood, turns out to have expertise and knowledge in arranging such things. Before I could say, “Rick Steves” she set about working with a travel company to start cooking up a pilgimage to Rome and Assisi roughly slated November 15-23! It’s not totally finalized or anything, but the basic idea is pretty much what I described. Readers who want to take a reasonably-priced trip to the Eternal City and visit St. Francis’ old stomping grounds can join me. In addition to me gassing on about stuff I know about the faith for the benefit of youse guys, you also get lots of cool visits to St. Peter’s and the catacombs and gobs of beautiful art and ancient history and awesome Italian food (no swimming in the Tiber: yeccch!). I think the idea is also to round up a priest to come along to celebrate the sacraments for us, which would be extra super awesome. Meanwhile, in my downtime, I take lots of notes for my novel and am available during my waking hours for gabbing, Q and A, and general hanging out. Bear with me, because I’ve never tried anything like this before, so I may not have all the details right. But at any rate it sounds super cool. And where would you rather be in November?: watching it rain out your front window or praying in the greatest Cathedral in the world and digging the Sistine Chapel while the smell of linguini wafts in off the street?
To make it work, we need at least 40 people if I understand correctly. When I have all the details, I’ll let you know. But I just wanted to throw it out if you are looking for a seriously cool way to spend two-ish weeks this November.