John Lennon said “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans,” but in my case I was saying, from the time I left Australia on May 26th, “After June 7th I have no plans for the rest of my life.” I insisted to anyone who cared that I didn’t know and didn’t want to talk about either my plans or my lack of planning. The future was more mysterious than it’d ever been before.

On June 6th, following a SUN retreat at Rowe, I was at a dinner party at the home of Doug Wilson (Director of Rowe) and Prue Berry, Doug’s wife (& former Rowe co-director, I think). They have the best and most memorable dinner parties I’ve ever been to, but this one changed my life!

Prue, who makes even a trip to the dentist sound like fun and adventure, was talking animatedly about her upcoming trip to Macedonia with a group called Village Harmony. It was a music/cultural studies camp, and something about peace work was mentioned. Not admitting that I didn’t know a) where Macedonia was or b) if it was a town or a country, I quickly – reflexively – asked, “Do they need a writer?”

Prue is the only person I know who’s more excited about my writing than I am. She looked thrilled and said, “Oh yes! I’ll call my friend,” and did not resile from her position even when I intimated that I could pay exactly none of the costs of the camp. One week later, through the grace of God, Prue, Mary Cay (the leader) and Larry and someone else (the directors) I was given a full scholarship

I then had 2 weeks to a) find out whether Macedonia was a country or a city and b) get there. My scholarship, generous and undeserved as it was, did not cover transport, but happily I had a number of frequent flyer miles, and AA flew and could give me a seat to nearby Thessaloniki, Greece — a very short distance away on the map!

Next time: Why not to fly to Thessaloniki