Are we becoming seasoned travelers? Soon to depart Morocco...A year ago...The cruse adventure of a lifetime began...


These beautiful photos of Moroccan women are offered for sale in the souks.
This morning the pigeons cooing, the rooster crowing, the birds chirping and the Islam Call-to-Prayer awoke me at 6:41 am.  My first task of the day over these past few weeks has been to check for new sand fly bites.  Alas, another bite-less night!  I bolted out of bed, ready to start the day, a smile on my face.

Tom was still sleeping, as I tiptoed to my "dressing room," another bedroom I use to avoid awakening Tom which is around the corner, also overlooking the open courtyard.  I was anxious to get ready for the day, get downstairs, make tea, check my email, glance at Facebook, and sit down to begin writing as I do each and every day.


Although many packaged candies and cookies have different names then the familiar brands, these products have similar packaging making it possible for tourists to choose what they like.
With only eight days until we leave Morocco, we've begun the mental process of winding down.  As for the packing, it will occur closer to departure.  A few days ago we made our final payment for the upcoming two and a half months in Madeira, Portugal. 

We wrote to Gina, the lovely owner of the house in Madeira asking that bottled water, bar soap, a coffee pot, WiFi password and keys be left at the house for our midnight arrival.  And also, we asked that a map with directions from the airport in Funchal to the house in Brava Ribeira be sent to us via email a few days before our arrival.


Dyed yarns hanging to dry in the souk.
No longer do we think about packing until a few days before we're to depart.  No longer do we feel anxious about the flight, security, the long lines, immigration, layovers and lost luggage. 

Finally, we're beginning to feel like seasoned travelers.  After all, we've been on the equivalent of 25 or so vacations in a row in the past over 18 months, some for one day, some for three months and everything in between. 
Although this shop was closed last night, some products remain outdoors.  It appears there is little risk of theft when the souk owners look out for one another and with armed guards in the Medina at all hours.
Of course, as we've said in the past, they've never felt like vacations.  How could they?  Vacations end.  Vacations have the anxiety of ending, midway through.  Vacations are a break from daily life.  This is our daily life.

A point that we've mentioned on occasion when talking to people we've met, is that we have no place to return to in order to repack, as many long term travelers do, to an apartment or condo somewhere in their home country or at the home of a family member with whom they live with for short periods.  Nope, not us.  This is it.
These colorful scarves are often low priced, often as little as US $2.47, MAD 20.
To repack, we merely go into the closet or cupboard where we currently live and take out the same stuff, albeit with a little wear and tear, placing it into the now worn luggage consisting of our combined two large bags, two small bags and two computer bags.  We've learned to travel lighter, physically and mentally.

Becoming a seasoned traveler doesn't make us exempt from learning.  At every turn we learn, we adapt, we remain open to new ideas and experiences and we kick ourselves for those times when we "should have" known better.  But, it's all a part of the process.
More beautiful giant oranges. 
After all, in most people's daily lives, they glean new knowledge and new experiences simply from living.  The only difference for us, is the frequent change in our surroundings, offering new opportunities to stimulate our brains, our senses, all the while opening our hearts to new people, new ways of life, new cultures and new scenery. 

Many of you have or have had these same opportunities while being rooted in the homes and towns to which you've become familiar.  The difference for us is the familiarity part.  We don't have familiarity to any great extent.  Although, in certain locals we've felt as if "we're home" when returning from outings. I imagine that those of you who have closely followed us, know exactly where those places were.

I must admit that we look forward to that familiarity, even for short periods.  It adds so much to the experience.  Does that mean that we're longing to be settled?  Not at all.  We love this vagabond lifestyle even though at times it's not ideal.  But, isn't that life anyway?

Of course, we'd love to be able to take better photos in the souks but the owners resist in most cases, resulting in taking photos without the ability to stop and focus.
Today, we're stay in.  Going out into the crowds and dining out has worn thin.  We can easily depend on entertaining ourselves staying in while reading, writing, listening to pod casts and chatting with each other.

We continue on, for now and over the next several days, living in the moment, filled with hope and a tinge of anticipation for that which is yet to come.
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Photo from one year ago today, May 7, 2013:
This was a portion of the glass floor in the casino on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Sea which we'd boarded the prior afternoon.  This cruise was the most exciting, adventurous and memorable cruise of the eight cruises on which we sailed in 2013.  Check back here each day for more photos from that cruise and the exciting stories of our experiences.  For details of the post on that date, please click here.

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