Travel is an uncomfortably good teacher
Aside from your unique travelogue, your piece resonates for me as an ode to healthy and conscious parenting ... inviting life to unfold organically for your little one and receiving her heartfelt questions with grace and presence. And importantly, reassuring her that all emotions are welcome and meant to be felt. As an emotions therapist who works with adults looking to be in touch with their "difficult" emotions, I admire your commitment to showing your daughter in her childhood how to embrace the richness of everything she's feeling.
You inspire me. You inspire me, to write more and to try and improve my words, the words I string together. You inspire me. You inspire me to follow - in your footsteps. To travel more. To be uncomfortable and to embrace that. I feel your words. You photography is wonderful, but your words paint a picture. Your words lead me to wonder, with you. Your words let me know - that I am not - alone. (Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.)
I read (and travel) a lot and I love when I see in my inbox that you've written something new. So grateful for your relatable words. Thank you.
Great post. I agree wholeheartedly. My father took me to Europe when I was 12 and that opened my eyes and mind. Four years later I went on a summer exchange program and have been traveling ever since. I volunteered with AFS which is a student exchange program. More Americans need to get passports and travel.
Morocco is high on my list once I get to PT.
I've been thinking of Morocco lately - we are moving to Spain in 3 weeks (we loved Portugal, but ultimately, Spain had our hearts), and as you noted, that's so close to Morocco! One of the best impulse decisions I've made is a whirlwind 24-hours in Tangiers - just a tiny little toe dipped into that country, and it was an amazing experience. After we get a little of our equilibrium back from this move, we plan to go back.
As always, your writing is so thoughtful, and I love your exploration of not just the beautiful and easy, but the complicated and challenging.
Loved, loved, loved this post. First, your writing, and actions as a parent are so very thoughtful. Second, as a newly arrived expat in Spain, like you, Morocco is definitely on our list and it was wonderful to hear about how different it is, which makes it even more enticing. Third, thanks for the heads up regarding the slaughter! It is so very hard, when you are not exposed to it, the fact that most of us eat meat without thinking of the moment of their death, or even the realities of their harsh lives. It is something that we should be eternally grateful for, yet in the everyday activity of looking up recipes and subsequently eating meat, it becomes just another thing to put in a dish.
Last of all, the photos of the cats! Wonderful to finish the somewhat heaviness of the words with the lightness and humor of the cat photos. Those and the rest of your photos are spectacular. Thank you!
I so thoroughly enjoy every post you make. As Becca mentioned below, I also really admire allowing your daughter the space to feel those emotions and experience them--and how to move forward.
Travel is, as you allude, the greatest teacher of all. For me there is no greater pleasure. I admire your openness with Filha about societies' treatment of animals. As an activist of many years, I spoke to a lot of parents who were uncomfortable with a child's decision to be veg/an. I always said, you should be really proud that you raised a child who is compassionate and open to change. I made that decision myself 18 years ago and it was easily the best decision of my life. If Filha (or you) has any questions about any aspect of the decision, I'd be delighted to have a chat. Thanks for another wonderful and thoughtful post. By the way, we are now planning a trip to Morocco as well...interesting, as an Israeli visiting my first Muslim country ;)
Love all of this! Thanks again for your insights. 😁
Thanks…Morocco was on our radar and because of your post have started planning.
Thank you for such a a beautiful piece of writing. My heart broke a little reading about Filha's reaction to the sites in the market. I've been in that terribly uncomfortable place where the realities of how what we eat makes to the table clash with our ingrained habits and desires. Feeling like the only choice on eating meat is "all or nothing" can be paralyzing and can set the table for intermittent self-recrimination. At least, that was my experience until I discovered "weekday vegetarianism," which I learned about through this Ted Talk that I offer to you in hopes it will help spark further fruitful conversation in your household: https://www.ted.com/talks/graham_hill_why_i_m_a_weekday_vegetarian
Beautiful piece LaDonna. <3 <3 <3 for F. and you who are such a good Mom.
Stunning photographs, makes me want to return to Morocco. You must visit Essaouira on the coast! A mythical, magical, marvelous small city with its walled medina, beach and superb fresh fish dishes. It's a UNESCO world heritage site with a fascinating history.
So beautiful LaDonna thank you. And happy birthday! I celebrated my 55th yesterday in our mountain cabin with a hike in the snow. Now dreaming of colorful Morocco. A very different birthday maybe some day 🤗
As always when I read your posts, I feel as if I am traveling along with you as your sweet bird does in the clear plastic backpack. I want to smell the spices and taste the food! As we share very similar backgrounds, I understand the thrill/strangeness of the new and different. My need to travel was sparked on my first trip to Spain. Unlike you, I did not not have the wherewithal (my grandmother’s word) nor the circumstances that have allowed me to move about as I might have liked. Your writings give me that whiff of the new, fresh, and different that my soul longs for.
Thank you! I have stared at the Google map of Portugal and typed in Moroccan addresses to see just how far it would take. Part of the draw of Portugal for me is the proximity to Africa and the Middle East. I have read Edith Wharton’s On Morocco more times than I can count and I have a worn old copy of Out of Africa that I almost have memorized. Both problematic texts for many reasons, but the pull of these spaces is so deep for me. I spent a formative chunk of my childhood in Saudi Arabia and went to Kenya at Filha’s age for a Christmas holiday and it was life-shifting. The amount and variety of animals just blew my mind. I feel so removed here in the US and miss those possibilities so much. I love how absolutely amazing you are at grey areas. I love that you can understand your own discomfort and uncertainty with the homophobic friend in Portugal and the problematic thinking that in the US you would have the luxury of excommunication from him. I love that you can co-regulate and hold space for your sweet, sensitive, caring child as she grapples with the world and can recognise how complicated it is and offer that up to her without whisking her out of the upsetting situation or minimising her feelings. I am learning so much from you. I am also SO excited to follow along on your travels and I do hope you will share more of your trip (I live for other people’s travel posts).