And we’re off… Again.

I grew up in a little white house with black shutters and a red door. Situated in the middle of the street, the most notable thing about said house, at least in my opinion, was the gangly oak tree that sat smack dab in the middle. The tree was young and tall, awkwardly tilting slightly to the left. As a child, the tree was my boundary, the line my mom drew in the sand. I constantly wanted to be outside and the rule was to never go past that oak tree.

I love testing boundaries, and that precedent was set when I was a child. I would sit level with that tree and poke my toes further and further forward into the grass. I would lay longwise and dig my feet into the soil around the tree, stretching myself as far as I could go—trying to see how far I could get while still technically staying within those limits.

I tell this story to show that I’ve always loved pushing things to the limit. Whether it be my personal boundaries, physical limitations, or my mother’s patience. Now, at twenty I’ll be testing all three as I sit at the Port of Columbus Airport preparing to depart on my month long journey through Morocco.

A year ago I had never really left the country, embarking on my first trip abroad to New Zealand. For those who followed this (now criminally neglected) blog, you know that it was the time of my life. I have the same expectations for this trip and hopefully they’re met to the same extent.

For those asking “why Morocco?” the answer is simple and at the same time not—at the surface, I’m an Arabic minor and can knock out a few requirements by doing this. More truthfully, the answer is slightly more complex. I have two years of my undergraduate degree left and quite frankly I don’t want to waste it. I am fortunate enough to go to a university with practically unlimited opportunities and to squander that would be more than wasteful, it’d be idiotic. Morocco isn’t a place that you can just hop on a plane and go gallivant through for a few days. I mean, you can, but you wouldn’t get very far. This experience is one that I wouldn’t have outside of the university and I want to take advantage of it.

In terms of the actual trip, this one is quite a bit different than the last go-round. I have a lot more in-country travel—heading to a multitude of cities while being based in Rabat, the capital city. We travel to other notable ones such as Casablanca (the movie geek in me is screaming ‘Play it again Sam, for old times’ sake’) and Chaouen—the blue city, where all the buildings are painted blue in Jewish tradition to remind them of God’s presence. I’ll stay with a homestay again, but this time with another Ohio State student travelling with us. I’m excited for this particular aspect as I think that getting to converse (maybe in Arabic, depending on how atrocious my accent is) with people from such a unique culture offers a really phenomenal opportunity. The most exciting part of the trip, in my opinion, comes toward the end, where we will take camels out into the dunes and camp in the Sahara desert.

I would type more, but I’m so excited I think my head might explode.

Morocco is known for their mint tea—allegedly the best in the world. Tea there is a tradition, a time to take and reflect on the day, enjoy one another’s company. The ceremony surrounding the national drink is a sacred one and each day we have it built into our schedule. I’m eager to partake in such a seemingly serene tradition, and for those that know me, it seems as though it will be right up my alley.

This trip will be much different than any experience I’ve had in my twenty years and I’m more than excited to finally head out—the anticipation really might kill me. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep this blog updated. In the meantime, Cheers and مع السلامة.