August 5th, 2013
As promised, have to do a recap of a crazy month of July that was one of the most unique travel months of my life without a doubt!
July is the busiest recruiting month of the year for us at the D1 level, but I took extreme travel to another level last month with time spent in 5 different countries (USA, Canada, Latvia, Greece, and Macedonia), and thousands of miles through the air and on the road.
My month started off hitting traditional stops on the recruiting circuit in Indianapolis and Augusta, GA then took off for a 2 week European adventure with stops in 3 cities in Latvia (Liepaja, Ventspils, and Riga), Greece, and Macedonia.
I think the biggest surprise for me was how beautiful Latvia was, from the culture and history of the cities I visited to the rolling hills and pastures of the countryside. There was so much georgous architechture, winding cobblestone roads, history, and beauty.
Just as surprising was how difficult the situation is in Greece where there are a lot of people that are suffering, and the effects of the financial struggle there can be seen everywhere you look. I would estimate out of 6 commercial storefronts, factories etc, only 1 is occupied by businesses. There are more abandoned factories, stores, office buildings, homes etc than I have ever seen. There are also beautiful parts of the country, and I had a great time in Thessolaniki overall.
The craziest part of the trip was travelling between Thessaloniki, Greece to Strumica, Macedonia. Once I got to Budget Rental car at the airport, they told me I couldn't take the car out of the country (after getting gouged for a ridiculous insurance fee), so I had to get creative. With my guy Doug Leichner from Maine, we went on a wild adventure driving to the Macedonian border where we had to leave the rental car and take a taxi with a driver that didn't speak English through the mountains to Strumica. Luckily it went smoothly and the rental car was still there when we got back, and there were no incidents other than a bird's head getting stuck in the taxi's hood.
After a tremendous time in Europe where I got to experience not only different cultures, languages, food, and high level basketball, I flew home to Toronto for the weekend. It was surreal to go from foreign lands to seeing family and friends in T-Dot.
It was a great opportunity to see parts of the world I wouldn't have otherwise seen, and that is one of the true blessings of my proffession. There was lots of great basketball to be seen, talented players, and an awesome growth experience.
One of the most memorable months I've had, but it's always great getting back to reality, and great to see the family after not seeing them for a month.
Now time for a little downtime this month before we get to the grind of back to school!