Monday, October 12, 2015

The Most Adventurous Trip

As I stepped off the plane, many emotions sped through my mind. Fear, anticipation, trepidation and curiosity gave me bust of adrenalin that made me extremely invigorated after the 7 ½ hours flight back to the United States. It had been over 10 years since I had spent more than a few weeks at a time in country. I was a terminal expatriate returning home (?) possibly forever and I was not sure that it was right.

My wife and I both worked in the automotive industry and both had our own little world s to venture into and expand in our new home Europe. At first it was different and difficult dealing with new rules of community and language as we had decided to live in smaller towns where English was definitely at best a second language. I lived next to castles and in mansions overlooking vineyards. If I got tired of a culture, I got in my car and drove 2 hours to a new country. Heck I had 2 months of vacation and the money to do something about it.
Weinachts Markt in Germany

Things were about to change dramatically as I was coming back to nothing. I had no home: I had no job: and I had grey hair (it was brown when this whole thing started) which made me over-qualified. I was a tool and die man coming back to a country that had no tool and die manufacturing. The fact of the matter was that I knew more about the world than I knew of the country that granted me a passport.

The pace of life was doubled. Vacations were cut in half. Crime was higher and to top it off I had to live in an apartment till we found a suitable city and house. My wife’s job was back at her company’s headquarters in Troy, Michigan and the job market was horrible.  The most difficult part of the whole episode was getting back with some old friends and trying to make new ones with people that I really had nothing in common with and no familiar points of view. I was a stranger in a strange land.

Notre Dame, Paris
I had to change something. I had to reinvent myself to fit into this new culture and ways of doing things. What I was used to was not better it was different and I had to adjust as if I had just started my expatriate journey 12 years earlier.

This blog is about change and adaptation, adventure and culture. In the following, hopefully, years the adventures will be full of whimsy and curiosity. The different will become the norm and languages will start to blend. You, as I did, will start to feel as if you are going home with every story and feeling a part of something more than what you can see out your window. I am Dan Pavelka and I proud to be your tour guild as I try to explain the world as I know it.
Home (Rochester, Michigan)


  1. Oh, my goodness! This sounds so interesting! Can't wait to read more!

  2. Can't wait to write the next episode. It will start from the beginning and my first experience in Europe-Germany. Koeln is a great place to start as it is extremely metropolitan. Yet to someone new, it is a cavalcade of sights, sounds, and culture (beer, tall women and ofcourse the German language).

  3. Wow! What a cool experience being able to live in another country and experience all of the culture.

  4. This is such a great experience that many people don't get to do so to be able to live through your experience while reading this was really nice!