We made the barest of entries in this blog during our travels across the European side of the Mediterranean and on into Africa. That portion of the trip was probably the most densely packed and eventful, also the most hectic since we were moving from place to place every two or three days. Our access to good internet hook-ups was more difficult for some reason. Combine that with the fact that writing the weblogs began to move just outside of our circle of priority (arranging for things like lodging and train tickets took its place) and the result was, no new postings. That’s unfortunate because some of our best memories come from that segment.
Watching the flamingos stir up as our train cut through the last bit of the French coast on our way into Spain. Migrating up from Africa as we migrate down?
Getting stunned, stopped dead in our tracks upon entering the Grand Mosque in Cordoba, Spain, intoxicated as our eyes followed the rhythm of arches repeating into the distance in the dim light.
Staying in a little dive pension in Granada, Spain on a street under construction, torn up with jackhammers and front-end loaders. Our little landlady gave us a break on the price because nobody wanted to endure the noise. She brought us coffee and a pack of store-bought Danishes for breakfast. Spoke halting English to our halting Spanish but managed to communicate great hospitality, and we, our extensive gratitude.
Meeting two Moroccans on the train from Tangier to Fez. The younger one spoke English, told us about his job (a guide for desert tours) and his family, he even helped us find our eventual lodging place in Fez. The older gentleman spoke to us in French while the English-speaking man was out of the cabin. He gestured “eating” with fingers to his mouth and “sleeping” with folded hand under reclined head but we didn’t get it. I thought he wanted to help arrange lodging for us or something. I said, “No, merci, no, no.” When the younger man returned I asked him to translate for me because the man was obviously exhasperated. He listened to the man and then said, “Oh, its just our custom. He wants to know if you’ve eaten well and slept well in his country.” It was a matter of great pride for him that he present this gesture of hospitality, and we were very moved. I had the translator tell him, “We’ve traveled all around the world on this trip and the friendliest people are here in Morocco.” His eyes welled up, our eyes welled up. He pulled a dirham coin from his pocket and held it up, “If you come to my house you will not even spend this much.”
And on like that…
At this point, it would probably be appropriate to do some assessment of the world trip. Though its true that rich experience does not require travel (with the right mental approach it can be had in a Barco Lounger), it seems to me that travel more frequently pulls the lever that dispenses it. And if the goal is enrichment, with a psyche that demands not just novelty but alternate viewpoint, and if I’m willing to endure discomfort for the sake of living where the fresh and unexpected live, then traveling by the seat of my pants works for me. Stefanie and I are a good pair; I am somewhat dangerously curious and gravitate towards the unknown, she provides a sensible base and pulls me back when I need it. Together we find out what it takes to make plans on the fly, deciding what to do and where to go as needs be; to make it up as we go along.
And that is what I think we’ve learned. To begin to trust ourselves “improvising in the plan”, and to trust that the world will respond favorably if we do. As Stefanie says, “I learned that 99% of my fear about what might happen never does.” It seems that even the one percent of what eventually goes wrong is something you’d never guess and also not nearly as bad as you think. And we lie awake at night for….?
This journal of the transition from our corporate-job-life to the independent life in business for ourselves must now meet its true mission. We must begin to describe what happens when we (as the masthead says) “pack it in and take the leap.” We’ve spent nearly a year getting our feet wet; six months on an “art intensive”, three months traveling the world, several more weeks in transition through Chicago on either side of the world trip (the “swoosh” on the Q). We’ve been able to get a lot done in the process. We both created some solid chunks of art. We’ve collected experience and photography to inform our next creative phases. Now we begin to actually establish our lives here. Now we see what happens when.
The narrow streets of Fez, Morocco