We’re here!

I write this sitting on the rooftop balcony of our hostel, overlooking a zigzagging conglomeration of rooftops and balconies, decorated by laundry waving in the wind and scattered satellite dishes. And beyond the rooftops, I can see a boat making its way across the Strait of Gibraltar, headed to Spain. The weather is temperate – sunny and 81 but a bit windy. The breeze carries the smell of wood being burned and of foods that I don’t yet recognize being cooked. And the mosques are currently calling people to the midday prayer with a beautiful song-like Arabic echoing over the city.

It’s beautiful and I am thrilled to be here.

We encountered a bit of a snafu on the way here: our 2nd flight was delayed due to weather conditions in London, which caused us to miss our 3rd flight, from Barcelona to Tangier. And because we were flying two separate budget airlines, it was not easy to get moved to another flight.

So we ended up spending a night in Barcelona, which was quite lovely! I have never had much interest in Europe, but the evening spent walking around Barcelona did help me understand the magic of Europe. We spent our time drinking amazing coffee, taking in the beautiful architecture, the balconies with Catalan flags flying everywhere (they are having a referendum for possible independence from Spain in a couple days), and and finished the evening with tapas and wine on a patio facing a gorgeous old church while a musician played quietly in the background.

Unfortunately, our search for a hostel or even an inexpensive hotel for our unexpected night in Barcelona was unsuccessful – we learned that the Rolling Stones were performing in Barcelona that night and everything was booked by people coming to see the concert. So we ended up spending the night in the airport, draped over our bags. Not the most glamorous part of traveling! Our planned 15ish hours of travel stretched into more than 48 hours of travel by the time we got to Tangier, but after a good night of sleep here, it doesn’t seem so bad.

So far, Tangier seems like a pleasant city, not as aggressive or scary as its reputation prepared me to believe. It is so close to Spain that more people seem to speak Spanish than French, which has thrilled Daniel, who spent the last year or so working on his Spanish. Other travelers at the hostel said my French will be far more useful in other Moroccan cities, so he can have this one.

We’re off to do some exploring. I’ll update you all again soon! Much love from Tangier!




You might be wondering, why uproot your whole life, quit your job, leave your friends and family, and go on a vague international journey?

It’s a valid question.

I guess I have always had a streak of wanderlust. In high school, I had this map in my room with pins in all the countries that I wanted to visit (pictured above). I found it tucked away in a closet at my parents’ house recently and was sad to see how little progress I had made on that goal.

My brother is the one who has been accumulating stamps in his passport over the past couple years while I have been building a life in one place. And I did feel some jealousy of him. So when I had the opportunity to join him on a trip, I figured I should take advantage of it.

It was really amazing to live and work in Longmont. I loved my work and the community that I became a part of. But it began to feel very comfortable as I got settled into that life and I realized that I didn’t feel like I was growing much by the end.

If I know one thing about going new places, especially internationally, it’s that you will be pushed outside your comfort zone.

Leaving a familiar space and jumping into an unknown one is scary, but in my view, it’s also vital to continuing to grow as a person. And there are many ways to challenge yourself – certainly traveling isn’t the only one (and I realize it’s not an opportunity that everyone has). It just happens to be where my heart is calling me right now.

And ultimately, I just kept thinking, I want to see more of the world, and if not now, then when?

3 days to departure!

So, if you read my previous post about this forthcoming trip, you’ll remember that I said everything was subject to change because we didn’t have firm plans.

Everything has changed since then!

We are leaving on Tuesday and our new plan is now to fly directly to Tangier, Morocco (a coastal city that is the entry point for people traveling by boat from Europe), then make our way from there. We leave Denver on Tuesday afternoon and will make it to Tangier by Wednesday afternoon (there is a 7-hour time change).

No further plans! Once we get there, we are going to see where we feel like going, what other people recommend, and play it by ear.

In a world where everyone plans so much, this may seem scary, but it’s oddly freeing to be setting out on a journey that has only a starting point and no specific end. We will be able to explore opportunities as they arise, unbound by prior plans. If we really enjoy a place, we may stay there for a while; if we want to move on, we can do that.

I’m very excited and almost packed:)

Stay tuned for updates soon.