Frequently Asked Questions about the Footsteps of Paul Experience
Q: How is this trip different from a typical Churches of Paul Tour?
A: The Footsteps of Paul Experience is not a tour, it is a spiritual pilgrimage. The goal of this trip is to learn how to follow Jesus and carry out his mission more effectively in our day by experiencing the places where Paul and his disciples traveled and ministered. We pursue that goal during the trip through intentional spiritual practices such as prayer, worship, Scripture reading, and small group reflection. Following the chronology of Acts as closely as possible, we focus on the archaeologically credible sites related to Paul's missionary journeys and seek to understand the history and culture of his time. We keep the group relatively small, stay in small boutique hotels rich with cultural and historical significance, off the beaten track. Few tours include many of the places we visit, such as Antioch, Tarsus, Lystra, Collosae, Lechaion, etc.
Q: Why do you recommend books and videos to prepare for the Footsteps of Paul Experience?
A: Most visitors to Turkey and Greece are so overwhelmed with new sights and information that they can't absorb even a fraction of it and as a result miss much of the significance of the places they are visiting. The Footsteps of Paul Experience is designed to help you maximize the spiritual impact of the places you will be traveling. As such we recommend several books to read and videos to watch before departing on the trip to help you process the information and images related to the places we will be visiting. This will help you focus on the significance of the places we will be visiting and reflect on it's meaning for your life. There is also a Companion Guide which you will take on the trip and includes site plans and reconstruction drawings to help you visualize the sites as they were 2000 years ago.
Q: Who will be leading the trip?
A: Bob Rognlien will be leading the trip along with his wife Pam. Bob is an ordained pastor who has been leading unique pilgrimages in the Holy Land over the last twenty-five years. Bob first traveled in Turkey and Greece when he was twenty years old, researching his undergraduate history thesis on the archaeological basis for the historicity of Paul's travels as recorded in Act and the Epistles. Later Bob and Pam lived in Jerusalem where Bob did post-graduate studies in New Testament archaeology and sociology at the Ecole Biblique et Archeologique and Hebrew University. After decades of leading the Footsteps of Jesus Experience in Israel and Palestine, Bob and Pam have applied all they have learned to developing this new Footsteps of Paul Experience in Turkey and Greece.
Q: What are the accommodations like?
A: In each city we visit, we have carefully selected smaller boutique hotels with a unique cultural and historical charm. Some of them are set on the shore of the Mediterranean or a beautiful lake. Others are nestled in the ancient district of a biblical city. The rooms are clean and comfortable. Phone and internet access are available. We eat breakfasts at the hotels, our lunches and dinners are eaten out in local restaurants along the way.
Q: What is our means of transportation?
A: We travel in vans so we can get off the beaten track and gain access to unique historical sites. We spend an average of three hours driving each day, some days more and others less. Visiting the ancient sites involves walking over uneven terrain and climbing steps. Because people come from all over the world to join the Footsteps of Paul Experience, you are responsible to arrange your own flights to Hatay, Turkey, where the trip begins, returning from Athens, Greece, where the trip concludes.
Q: What level of physical fitness is required for the trip?
A: You need to be physically fit to participate, but it is not nearly as rigorous as the Footsteps of Jesus Experience. Every day we will be driving considerable distances and then walking up and down hills in cool to warm conditions as we visit the various sites. You should be walking up and down hills three times a week for at least the month before we depart, preferably carrying a loaded knapsack. You will need comfortable walking shoes with good tread and adequate ankle support.
Q: What will I need to bring on the trip?
A: You will bring a medium-sized soft-sided suitcase and a knapsack or shoulder bag. You will pack lightweight, layered clothing, sturdy walking shoes, comfortable sandals, and a hat. The weather can vary considerably from warm to cool to rainy. No formal or dressy attire needed. You will need things like a camera, sunscreen, a flashlight, water bottles, a Bible, and something to write with. You will be provided a Companion Guide for the trip which includes a trip journal. You will need to pack and load your luggage in the van each day and unload each night. You will take your knapsack or shoulder bag with you each day to carry your water, Bible, Companion Guide, and other essentials.
Q: What is included in the trip price?
A: Everything you need is included in the price of the trip except for your airfare. All meals are provided. You will need to bring money if you plan to buy extra drinks and snacks, gifts and souvenirs, or leave tips.
Q: What are the guidelines for clothing at the various sites we will be visiting?
A: Generally speaking we need to dress relatively conservatively. When we are visiting archaeological sites shorts and sleveless tops are acceptable. When we are visiting religious sites we need to make sure our legs and shoulders are covered. Long, loose skirts that can be pulled over shorts and zip-off pants that convert to shorts are handy.
Q: Is it safe to travel in these parts of the world?
A: Obviously all travel includes certain risks and the Middle East is experiencing more than its fair share of violence, but the areas where we travel are quite safe and stable. We monitor the situation closely and receive regular updates from the US State Department advising us if there is anything to be concerned about. In more than 25 years of leading trips in the Middle East we have never had a problem and have brought our own children with us regularly. If anything were to happen we would adjust the trip accordingly. We do recommend all participants take out affordable travel insurance to cover any uncertainties.
Q: How do I sign up to go on the Footsteps of Paul Experience?
A: Click on the Register page of this website and follow the instructions there. Space is limited so don't delay in making a deposit to secure your spot. If you have any other questions please feel free to email Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.