What Am I Doing This For?

With less than a week left before we arrive in the Kingdom of Morocco, the familiar sensation of unease and anxiety creeps into my veins and is waking me at 4 in the morning. Having travelled for over 30 years, it’s a familiar pattern of sensations, but its familiarity doesn’t reduce the intensity.

I know intellectually that time will keep marching on and we’ll be there, ready or not, regardless of how much I fret.

It’s a kind of buyers remorse, I think.

I’ve passed the initial stages of excitement and exhileration as we combed through websites, brochures, maps and guide books. We booked our flights and a few accommodations, sent off a few deposits, ordered some currency, and felt like we’d accomplished so much already! It’s going to be great! Visions of National Geographic-quality images dance in my head: souks! piles of spices! rows of colourful slippers! piles of thick vibrant kilim rugs! villagers on donkeys! I will capture amazing images with my brand new camera lens! I will write original and insightful blog posts! My girls will observe and participate in a completely different culture and be moved and transformed into being more global citizens! My husband will grow a beard and look like Omar Sharif!

But now we are a few days from blast-off; it’s four thirty in the morning, and I am questioning everything.
Why are are we spending all this money to go so far for so little time? Will we be safe? What if terrorists decide to target a famous tourist site while we’re there? What if we’re pick-pocketed? What if the driver we hire drives too quickly and carelessly and we go careening off a high and winding mountain road? What if one of us gets sick? What if we all get sick? What if the kid with a sensory processing disorder completely shuts down amid the chaos and stimulation of the Marakesh medina? What if the other kid doesn’t get her bloody English Lit. term essay finished by Friday and she has to keep working on it during our holiday? What if one of the kids gets scratched by a Barbary Ape and we have to run around and find a clinic for rabies shots because we were too cowardly to get them before we left? What if the guide we’ve hired online and to whom we’ve already sent a substantial deposit doesn’t show up? How much should we be tipping him, anyway? Do we tip him everyday or at the end of our trip? What if he only takes us to places where he’ll get a commission, and not the cooperatives that I want to visit? What if some of our experiences lead us to form negative opinions of a country I so badly want us all to admire? What if our beloved pet cat goes AWOL while we’re away? What am I doing all this for?

Really. I must get my anxiety level under control.
Time to get up and get on with my day. Get to work. Phone the credit card company; tell them where we’re going. Get a few more things done on the to-do list.

The sun is up now. Things are already looking brighter. Potential challenges look less disastrous than they did in the darkness of 4:30am. Funny how that always happens.

It’ll work out, and if anything doesn’t we’ll deal with it. It’ll be just fine.

Onward.

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6 comments on “What Am I Doing This For?

  1. Little Fish, I don’t normally respond to posts, but I really have to respond to this one. I, like you, love travel and have traveled extensively for decades. It is difficult to say that I have a favorite place in the world—except for Morocco. It is an amazing country. And strangely enough, I plan to have it as the subject of one of my next blog posts. Only two places that I have traveled to have left me exhausted purely from the experience of the place—Rome and Morocco. It is just amazing on so many fronts. It combines European and North African cultures. Sits between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, between the Sahara and the sea, with grand mountains in between. The people of Morocco are incredibly warm. I do have one small bit of advice, especially for Marrakech. If you want to take photos of people, you should first interact with them and show you’re interested in them and what they’re doing. And then ask if they’ll allow you to photograph them. The people of Marrakech, especially in the medina, have become weary of being the target of tourists’ cameras. Oh, and make sure you go to Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech. What a wonderful experience to share with your daughters! I hope you have a grand time.

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    • Thank you, Nadia, for your thoughtful response. I appreciate your advice and your perspective, and for taking the time to write to me. I have long wanted to explore the Kingdom of Morocco, and your blog and your response are an inspiration. Le Jardin Majorelle is the number one site of my list, too! Happy travels. I look forward to to reading more of your posts.
      – Jane
      PS: You know, your blog is one of the first I ever subscribed to?

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    • Hi Nadia! Thank you for thinking of me. We have returned after a fantastic & exhausting time in Morocco. Still sorting through the 3000 photos I took! Just love your entry about Jardin Majorelle. Beautiful pictures. You’re an inspiration & makes me realize I must get over my anxiety about posting. (Too bad work gets in the way!) I’ve a question for you: how did you get your copyright watermark on your photos? I would like to be able to do that.

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  2. I use Lightroom to process my photos. It has a watermark function. What do you use?
    And by the way, I find posting freaky. I’m in “just do it” mode, like that moment when you want to swim, but you know how shocking cold the water is going to feel. You just have to jump in and get going. 🙂

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