How I Became an Incorrigible Flirt

Our brother/sister trip around Africa ground to a halt at its second stop, in Chefchaouen, Morocco.

Chefchaouen is a sleepy little pueblo in the Rif Mountains of northern Morocco. The entire medina is painted different shades of blue, creating a surreal effect when wandering the streets. Tourism has exploded here in recent years; “even five years ago, Chefchaouen was nothing,” my local friends said.

Chefchaouen is famous for three things, they’d continue:

  1. The water, which comes straight down from the nearby mountains, and is some of the purest drinking water in all of Morocco;
  2. The hashish, which is grown in the nearby mountains and offered to you everywhere;
  3. And ‘the relax.’

Sounds pretty good, right?

Yeah, sounded pretty good to me, too.

“I have to come here at least once a year,” said Waheeb, a Moroccan climber I meet in Chaouen. Waheeb’s a character: he claims to have crossed Africa on foot, from Somalia to Senegal. And I have no reason to doubt his claim.

“Even if I am somewhere else in the world, I will return to Morocco — just to visit Chaouen. My soul just doesn’t feel right if I don’t visit this place enough,” he told me one night, sitting out in the crisp mountain air, staring at the stars.

I could see where he was coming from.

Chefchaouen felt like a bath for my weary soul.

Continue reading

2017 in Places

Another year, another few stories to tell.

One of my favorite posts I wrote last year was 2016 in Places, a meditation on a year of movement.

I started that post with this sentence:

“As I go into 2017, I’m faced with a big choice: do I choose to keep chasing places, for another little while, or is it time to settle down and devote myself to enhancing my relationships with people?”

As you’ll see, I ended up choosing places. Places gave me a lot this year. I leave 2017 with a greater breadth of stories and experiences. But my feeling is 2018 will be defined by people. We will see.

For now, here’s what happened to me in 2017.

Continue reading