A year ago today, if someone were to have asked me where I thought I would be in 365 day’s time the answer would not have been North Africa. Three short, angst-ridden weeks after I arrived in the states in August I began planning my next venture. Under general conditions the task takes time. However, when the task of trip planning is taken in stride with twenty college credits, a part-time day and night job, ≈ 45 hr./week athletic commitments, and various grant/scholarship applications, this bout of extended traveling took me near four full months of preparation. Even now, though I am home for ‘holiday,’ I’m still working, reading, studying, organizing, etc. If I didn’t love it so much, I think I would be nervous to arrive so exhausted. Traveling forces you to account for nearly every aspect of your life: medical records and history, immunizations, dentist appointments, eye appointments, Health Clearances, residency documents, visa regulations, proof of financial sustainability, taxes, absentee voting ballot arrangements, and more. Unique to this trip, I turn twenty-one while away, so there is a fair number of insurance changes, paperwork updates, driver’s license renewals, etc. Not to mention, finagling the finances to support this type extended travel takes time and money and I still have no idea where I will live/work for a month and a half in between Morocco and Tanzania. No complaints though. I’d rather be on my toes than stuck in the mud.
In between all of this, my time is spent here, in the mountains and the canyons near my home. Typically, I save my canyon trips for summer because the shadows are simply too cold, but two days before I was to leave for Morocco I was in a car accident. Everyone came out without a scratch, but my car was totaled. My family wouldn’t let me go snowboarding as I had planned, so I went to Zion instead. Their logic: whiplash is not helped by aggressive snowboarding. My logic: Mountains are relaxing. Compromise: hiking. Given that I had just devoted 33% of my year toward planning a trip that had almost just been ruined, I took the canyon advice. It turned out to be one of the most beautiful photography days yet:
As much as I love my mountains, I am more than thrilled to be exploring those of the highest and coldest city in Africa: Ifrane, Morocco.