Thursday, October 17, 2013

Twenty Travel Observations I Know To Be True...So Far

Me in Erg Chebbi, Morocco

1. Beats By Dre is Everywhere.

(As seen on the streets in the Fez Medina, Istanbul Turkey, and all of Europe)

2. Messi is the most famous athlete in the world.

(As seen by the overwhelming majority of jerseys sporting his name, even in the depths of the Erg Chebbi desert...there is Messi on a ten year old's back.)

3. Pepto Bismol ain't got shit on a Moroccan stomach bug.

(As seen by me and heard by many.)

4. As Americans, we need to stop pointing at people when we talk or to illustrate a point.

(As seen by me watching Mike try to communicate something with a desert nomad by using the Robert DeNiro "I'm watching you, Focker" gesture and judging said nomad's reaction.)

Erin, Jeff & Mike in Kas, Turkey

5. Italian American Jersey hand gestures are not universal.

(See number four.)

6. If you wake up to a sheep bleating outside your hotel window while tied to a short rope on the roof of the riad next door, there's no use in complaining. It will be slaughtered on said roof two days later.

(As seen by Mike and me, today.)

7. Western girls either don't care or don't know about respecting Muslim culture.

(As seen by me, mouth agape, at the number of Western women strolling through the Fez and Marrakech medinas in spaghetti string tank tops and short shorts. I'm just saying, a little more fabric wouldn't hurt.)


8. Outside of America, a handshake is not a pleasantry, but an agreement you are now in business with someone. Dole out with caution.

(As seen by me watching Mike fend off several touts after opening business agreements.)

9. No one will be more interesting dinner companions than two US diplomats who have lived throughout Saudi Arabia, Baghdad, the Ukraine, Southern Sudan, Egypt, Columbia, Russia, Tunisia and Morocco over the past nine years.

(As experienced by Mike and me as we picked up our blown minds from the paper table setting at a street-meat stand in Djeema el-Fna.)

10. The best way to cure a nail biting habit is to go traveling. You will easily suppress the urge to put your fingers anywhere near your mouth.

(As experienced by me leaving tap and bucket squat toilets in Turkey and Morocco.)

11. Meeting up with friends from home while on the road is like ten Christmas mornings wrapped into one.

(As experienced by Mike and me in Germany, Prague, Turkey and Morocco.)

Me, Mike, & Danielle in Berlin

12. Outside of America, everyone speaks at least two languages, sometimes as many as six or eight.

(As experienced by Mike and me in the Erg Chebbi desert when the Berber hotel manager could speak to us in fluent Spanish, but also spoke Berber, Arabic, French, English, a little German, Italian, and Japanese. Did I mention earlier he was a nomad that grew up in the Sahara desert? We have no excuse, Americans.)

13. While posting pictures of European cathedrals, and balloon rides in Turkey, and camel treks in Morocco, a good ol' Instagram pic of a couple friends kicking back in a canoe, your canoe to be exact, soaking in fall colors in Vermont Columbus Day Weekend will still drive you mad with jealousy and make you ache for home, no matter how grateful and cool your experiences of the day are...or are not once you realize that hacking sound outside is an elderly woman cleaving open a sheep's skull.

(As experienced by me in Marrakech.)

14. Going to the post office in a country not your own, can be a totally entertaining and thrilling activity for the day.

(As experienced by Mike and me in Prague, Turkey, Spain, and Morocco.)

15. A smile goes further than a frown and a Maybe Later goes further than a No.

(As experienced by Mike and me in Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain and Morocco, but not put completely into action until Marrakech, Morocco.)

16. The further you travel from home, the more you will appreciate it.

(No brainer, here.)

Artist, Seville, Spain

17. The best food in the world is in Italy. Sorry, France.

(As experienced by Mike and me in Italy. I don't need to try any other food, to prove this. It's just the way it is.)

18. Germans really do make the best cars.

(As proven by Mercedes Benz being the official car of grand taxis that take you through the Rif mountains or barren desert in Morocco.)

19. A bag of laundry detergent and a sink plug are no match for a washing machine.

(As proven by Mike and I trying our best not to be disgusting as we rotate the same outfits every three days.)

20. There is no "best age" to travel, no golden window in life that closes once you hit another one of life's milestones. As Americans, for the most part, the world is an open door and the invitation is always there. The offer never expires. And any amount of time spent traveling is a good way to experience life - the good, the bad, the strange, the beautiful, the fear, the courage, the growth, the gratitude. It all counts, even listening to your neighbor cleave a sheep's skull or bursting into laughter as you hand off the toilet paper to each other while taking turns running to the bathroom or using charades as a way to purchase pro-biotics and deodorant or figuring out another country's more efficient public transportation system or accepting an offer to join strangers for dinner. Every moment counts and most often times the best ones are not found at the landmarks and sights, but in the coffehouses and souqs, the street stalls and off-road tea stands, the barber shop and bathroom, the alleyway soccer game and desert night sky, a card game with friends on holiday and in asking to take a picture of someone rather than just taking it. The beauty is in the exchange, the experience in the push and pull of trusting instincts and trusting the universe, the excitement in never getting to know the outcome.

(As seen by me.)

Mike, Ali (The Desert Nomad) and Me, Erg Chebbi, Morocco



Malone said...

What a gorgeous post! I love following you and Mike as you explore the world. This made me so happy and excited for you. I can't wait to hear more!

tara said...

what a beautiful life you are living.

daleboca said...

i love this post! all so true and wise.
when you be back?
where to next? india?
miss jews!!!