“There is nothing like a train journey for reflection, and the passage from Casablanca to Marrakech is one of the most inspiring I know. Movement has a magical effect on the mind. It stimulates the eyes, distracts them, allowing real thought to take hold. I stared out the window at a landscape changing by slow degree from urban to farmland, and then again, to a desert panorama–baked terra-cotta red.” — Tahir Shah, In Arabian Nights
My journey to Marrakech was a bit of a different route, but much the same experience–eight hours rocking away on a train, watching the landscapes change and feeling myself change from my time in Morocco.
My six-seater first-class car gained and lost a lot of people along the route, giving me time to watch how local people interacted: a wealthy couple in their late-20s–the man looking like he didn’t want to relinquish any control to his wife, but the woman was fiery and feisty and not ready to let him have the last word; an older couple who seemed so sweet and as if they loved each other so deeply that they’d drop anything to care for the other; and finally, my favorite–the old man.
Probably my biggest regret in past travels was never giving myself some time to relax. Nobody really tells you how exhausting long-term and fast travel can be–you think you can keep going on this adrenaline rush, and maybe you can for a little while, but then you just sort of bottom out. And it’s miserable.
With several months of full-time travel, where I hopped between cities and countries every five or so days, I found myself getting burnt out quickly. And what that boiled down to for me was falling into little mini-depressions. I was so tired and so jaded that there were days when I truly did not even want to get out of bed. Here I was on this once-in-a-lifetime trip, exhausted and bemoaning my enviable lot in life. Knowing that only made it worse–that I was sad and tired but that many people would have killed to have been doing what I was doing and to have been where I was.
When I was a kid, I loved those choose-your-own-adventure books. You know the ones: where you get to the last page of a particular chapter and it’ll give you the option to choose between two other pages to head down the next path of the book. There’s something exciting about the unknown and discovering new things. Perhaps that’s why I love to travel kind of blindly too: learn a bit about a place and then hit the ground running, eager to stumble upon new and awesome things.
That’s where my friend Jim Cheney‘s new book comes into play. Choose A Way: Philadelphia is a grown-up travel version of those choose-your-own-adventure books that I loved as a kid. The book features 39 different things to see and do in the City of Brotherly love, some of which I’ve already talked about on my blog and others that are actually new to me (and I consider myself somewhat of a Philly buff!).
In 2006, I took my very first trip abroad. At the time, I was in college and my interest in photography was growing my the minute. A lot has changed since that first international trip, but one of the biggest things has been my photography skills. I have worked hard to try to hone and perfect them, and while I’ll never be Ansel Adams, it’s amazing to see the growth I’ve made.
So, looking back over my photos from my travels over the last nine years, has made certain photos jump out at me and I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite photos from my travels! There are quite a few, so I’ll post them in a few parts, but for now: part 1! We’re visiting Iceland, Italy, Morocco, Romania, and the United States!
The day after Thanksgiving, I hopped a flight to Phoenix to see family and to meet up with my friend and fellow travel blogger, Danial Shah, to go on a mini road trip to see a bit of the Southwest US.
In a week’s time, it felt like we’d spent perhaps a bit too much time in the car, but we got to see some amazing sites: Sedona, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, and Monument Valley.
Has there ever been a country that has just called to you? Imploring you to visit? To explore its cities and roam its streets? To taste its foods and experience its culture? To buy its wares and immerse yourself in everything it has to offer?
I have known many: Italy, Iceland, and Morocco, to be more specific. And after visiting each one of those, my heart grew a little larger to make room to fit all of them inside. Each one of them was special and amazing in its own way and, despite some difficulties in a couple of them, they each earned this rightful place at the top of my favorite-places-in-the-world list.
Given that I’m going to be working full-time again, I’m unsure how much time I’m going to spend outside of the US this year, but I’ve already requested three weeks off for two different trips that are in the works, so there’s potential!
Here are some places that are on my wish list this year. Hopefully I’ll get to check off at least a few of these!
I began 2014 completely exhausted after coming off several months of much-too-fast travel and without any sort of direction. Do I keep traveling even though the thought of being on the go makes my stomach hurt? Or do I lie low and go back to work even though the thought of sitting in a cubicle makes my heart hurt?
I made a compromise: travel a bit, work a short contract, and travel some more.
While I didn’t set out on an endless nomadic journey again, I still managed to travel quite a bit while still holding down a job and building up some more travel funds.