Life goals… Sometimes they catch up to you.
Not every young person is lucky enough to have a positive adult influence, someone who shows them a bigger world. I was fortunate to have a few, and Uncle Lloyd Junior was a stand-out. He had a college education and travelled the world as a navigator in the Air Force. Every Christmas Eve we were allowed to open one present and for me, there was no question. Somewhere under that tree was a gift, wrapped in a map of an unknown place with my name on it. I knew it would be unique, special, and would unlock a door to a place I hadn’t been or show me something I’d never imagined.
When I was 14 I took my first flight, of course Uncle Lloyd Junior played a role. I flew to see Lloyd Junior for a trip to Epcot, which had opened just a couple years prior. Epcot included a Future World Showcase featuring eleven countries from around the world. I can still here Lloyd Junior ask, “Connie Jill.. If you can go anywhere in the world, where will it be?” Easy answer: MOROCCO.
In the Moroccan Pavilion towered a reproduction of the Koutoubia Minaret of Marrakesh, a prayer tower of the 12th century mosque, with a flower-filled courtyard surrounded by citrus and olive trees, date palms and banana plants, with Moroccan music, exotic belly dancers and acrobatics.
I remember the food too oh my goodness the food. It was like nothing I’d ever imagined. Couscous flavored with spices I’d never tasted. It was bar far the most opulent setting I’d ever seen, with arched pillars, hanging pierced metal lamps and a mosaicked marble center stage for the enchanting performances.
And… in less than two weeks I’ll be there. Wandering the souks of the Medina in Marrakech. Working with engravers and jeweler artists on a very special item for A Nice World. Trying a few new dance steps and my very rudimentary traveler’s Arabic. Experiencing a traditional Hammem and soaking up the exotic, colorful, rich, amazing culture of Morocco.
I’ll be travelling to Essaouira to see the waves crashing into the ramparts, and meet the ladies of the Argon oil collective. I’ll traverse the Atlas mountains to meet a Berber family, learn to make mint tea and Tangine and see a slice of life which has endured for centuries.
Thank you Lloyd Junior for exposing me to a the world so far beyond my tiny little town. Dear nice people, why not take a little time in 2018 to expose a kid to the great big world. You never know where it might lead them. See you on the other side!
Photo credit: Lonely Planet book cover with a smattering of Nice jewelry.