Today's post comes straight from my heart as I prepare to slow down, refresh, and get inspired for the new year to come.
A couple weeks ago at a backstreet cafe in Williamsburg, Brooklyn I was out for tea with a good friend and travel partner for my inaugural adventure of 2016 (5 weeks in January/February dedicated to meandering throughout Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar). A new acquaintance joined us that morning and when casual mention of our trip came up, he asked a very simple but thought-provoking question: "What's the purpose of this trip?". While I'm no stranger to the relentless inner tug of wanderlust, I couldn't quite place the last time I'd stopped to revisit and put into words the "why" of my need to explore. So after a 10 or so second pause of reflection, I launched into a stream of consciousness that went a little something like this:
Why I Travel: "I travel so I can see light again for the first time. With heightened senses I perceive everything to be new and fresh as I'm hyper aware of each sound, smell, texture, colour and taste. I feel alive. An increased awareness grows as I continue to discover what makes people laugh with unending reminders that gratitude and smiles transcend dialect differences. I expect nothing and yet am open to anything... the experience of kindness in a stranger's gentle nod or complete dependence on a passerby's generosity to help guide me to my desired destination - or, better yet, to introduce me to a journey I'd never have otherwise happened upon on my own. The world as my teacher, I continue to seek understanding of both the universal truths and cultural variances in how each and every one of us experiences love."
This explanation is by no means complete (or all that eloquent). It's constantly evolving as my understanding and awareness continue to grow. Tomorrow I may even give an entirely different reply. And that's part of the beauty.
So with that said, here's a severely overdue glance at a previous expedition. The 3rd of 5 stops during my journey through Morocco, the fishing village of Asilah is an artist's oasis with ocean-front views and muralled walls. The otherwise remote and tourist-free street galleries are painted anew at August's annual International Cultural Moussem of Assilah festival, drawing 100,000+ creatives from around the globe each year. This Spanish colonial outpost's charm spans from its relaxed and treasure-filled medinas through to a beautiful blend of African, Mediterranean and Arabic cultures. Needless to say, the inspiration is endless.