On Christmas Day 2011, I went out on a walkabout to Morocco (first spending the night in Madrid, Spain). This post originally appeared on my old blog in January 2012 when I got back. It was only a few months before I met Allison. This was the trip that inspired me to quit my corporate job to go freelance, and ultimately is the reason I met Allison when I did. ]

I don’t have a lot to report for the rest of the trip. I took the train back to Casablanca, and a plane back to Madrid. I stayed one more night there at the same hotel as before.  I went out wandering around and taking pictures after I got in. But I was ready to go home. Just before going to bed that night, I could feel the sinus infection starting again (the one that started on Day One then mysteriously went away). Fair enough. Apparently I was due for one. Chronic Sinusitis can be pretty brutal, and I was actually really grateful that I’d been spared this episode while in Morocco. This time, the sinus infection would set in fully and I’d have to ride out the worst of it over the next week, but I was just glad it had been put on hold until the very end of the trip. Yet another tiny miracle. After one more night in Madrid, I was off to the airport and heading back to the States. During some of my down-time/travel-time, I created a couple of silly doodles using SketchPad Pro on a tablet device (it’s essentially a high-tech, digital finger painting app):

I landed at Newark/New York International Airport. Through the windows, I could see the distant New York City skyline as I waited in line at Customs/Passport Control. And with one more punch on my passport, I was back. It felt good to be back in the US. I’m normally not super chatty on planes, but the next flight to Chicago went pretty fast. First, the Chinese woman to my right chatted me up about politics, which led to Romney, which led to Mormonism. We had a nice conversation about that, and I was able to answer some of her questions. Later she helped me practice my Chinese. :) Then I ended up in a conversation with a lovely young Brazilian woman on my left, who get’s a little anxious about flying. We chatted and laughed the rest of the way to Chicago (and she nearly has me convinced to go to Brazil on one of my next motorcycle adventures). From Chicago to SLC, I finally slept. This is pretty rare for me on planes, but I was dying at this point. Before I knew it, I was back in the bitter cold of Salt Lake City. Home Sweet Home.

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It had been quite an adventure. I had “cheated death yet again,” as my dad is fond of saying at the end of a motorcycle trip. I didn’t break my neck in a motorcycle accident in those chaotic little towns, nor sliding off the cliffs in the High Atlas Mountains. And I managed to keep from getting my head sawed off on the internet. Yes, my trusty neck–and the rest of me–was still intact. Some of the highlights on this trip have now made the ranks of some of the best moments in my lifetime. I was lucky enough to have many of them documented at the time, including:

Obviously there’s so much I can’t share . . . too many little stories of sweet moments and curious observations to go into here. It was incredibly cathartic and empowering. Ideas, ideals, and self-perceptions were tested. I found further healing, strength, and peace. The clarity of being so far from everything I know helped me to organize my thoughts and refine my goals and expectations. Life is so good. I’m already planning my next adventure. :) Thanks so much for letting me share these stories and photos. If you haven’t watched the videos, I’ll post them again below. Part 1:

Part 2: