The Idiot’s 12 Tasks

The Idiot and the Odyssey II: Myth, Madness and Magic on the Mediterranean takes readers on a 4,401-kilometer step-by-step ramble from Rome to Turkey.

The walking travel adventure focuses on the effort to perform Twelve Mediterranean Labors Conceived by Cunning Circe, a list of a dozen tasks that The Idiot is given to accomplish in Italy, Greece and Turkey by Circe, the enchantress who turned Odysseus’ crew into swine.

Circe's Twelve Tasks look easy in a large font.

Circe’s Twelve Tasks look easy in a large font.

Here’s a more readable version of the Herculean shopping list that Circe provides:

1. Consult the Sibyl at Cuma and visit the dead you know and don’t know in the shady underworld before hiding a baseball cap at Pompeii that will be unearthed by your grandson’s grandson.

2. Establish a base camp above the islands of the Sirens and listen, without putting wax in your ears, to the soothing melodies that seduced and maddened Odysseus, before you find the six-headed monster Scylla, meet Charybdis and become the guiding light of a woman at loose ends.

3. Encounter some thieving gypsies when you least expect to, gain insight into your fellow men and give your foes some tangible lessons when it comes to robbing MedTrekkers.

4. Besides visiting the Cyclops’ cave and trying to avoid the Sun God’s cattle, find contemporary art in ancient Sicily, and enter the smoky earth on the volcanic mountains of Etna, Stromboli, and Vulcano.

5. Let a marching band lead you to the real cave of Kalypso and, unlike Odysseus who spent seven years with the nymph on the island of Ogygia, see if a contemporary mortal like you can handle her for seven days.

6. Embark on a mysterious ship that will enable you to hear words straight from Homer’s mouth and guide you to the Greek island of his birth where you should sit on his rock before finding his actual birthplace. Then island hop to Lesbos, Lemnos, Ithaka and Corfu to encounter many of the characters and places mentioned by Homer.

7. Visit the Oracle of Delphi, who “knew what was, what had been, what would be,” and let her lead you to the cave of Zeus’ birth, the world’s greatest travel writer and the end of an historic footrace in Sparta.

8. Meet with Zeus, the master of cloud, at the cave of his birth on Crete, visit him again at the top of Mount Olympus, and see him once more after you traipse through Troy at the top of Mount Ida in Turkey.

9. You may not choose to sleep with me, Kalypso, Sappho, or even Nausikaa but you must meet them all and absolutely spend a night with Helen of Troy. Do not, however, touch Odysseus’ wife Penélopê or your entire odyssey will come to naught.

10. Get some contemporary spiritual guidance by consulting with the monks on Mount Athos. Ask them to pray for your worst enemies, kiss the icon of all icons and climb to the summit of the mountain.

11. Traipse through Thrace before MedTrekking through the killing fields of Gallipoli. Then swim from Europe to Asia across the Hellespont in the wake of Leander and Lord Byron to arrive in Troy to meet Hektor, the son of King Priam who was slain by quick-to-anger Achilles.

12.  Make your own homeward journey to your own Ithaka and write a heartfelt and cathartic account about the importance of home and friends.

Naturally there’s photographic and written proof in the narrative illustrating that The Idiot had a blast entering the Underworld, reaching the top of Mount Olympus, swimming the Hellespont, sleeping with Helen of Troy and accomplishing the other tasks.

Entering the smoky Underworld.

Entering the smoky Underworld.

Atop Mount Olympus.

Atop Mount Olympus.

Swimming the Hellespont.

Swimming the Hellespont.

The Idiot and Helen of Troy slept here.

The Idiot and Helen of Troy slept here.

Want more? Download the interactive and paperback versions of “The Idiot and the Odyssey II: Myth, Madness and Magic on the Mediterranean

Next week: An excerpt from the chapter Homeward Bound  recounts a bit of The Idiot’s own homeward journey and his completion of the twelfth of Circe’s tasks.

Posted on by Joel in Follow The Idiot, Greece, Idiotic Musings, PR, Turkey

About Joel

Joel Stratte-McClure has been a global trekker since the 1970s. He lived in France for over 30 years, working as a journalist, before he turned his attention to a unique life-time-project of walking the shores of the Mediterranean. The first 4,100 kilometers are explored in his inspirational and entertaining first book "The Idiot and the Odyssey: Walking the Mediterranean." The next 4,100 kilometers are covered in the gods-filled sequel, "The Idiot and the Odyssey II: Myth, Madness and Magic on the Mediterranean,” published on Valentine's Day 2013. The last 4,100 kilometers will be discussed in the last book of the trilogy currently entitled "The Idiot and the Odyssey III: Alexander the Great Walks the Mediterranean."

One Response to The Idiot’s 12 Tasks

  1. Luke

    You look like you conquered the Underworld in that picture from Stromboli!

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