Ponderings on a Bus – Morocco, Africa

Motion sick thoughts
I’m feeling a bit reflective. I haven’t felt that way for a while. Maybe it’s been in my head and I just haven’t let it out. I’m on a bus in Morocco traveling between Chefchaouan and Tangier – a four-hour bus ride from hell. It’s hot, extremely hot; the air conditioning isn’t working, we are on windy mountain passes. The bus is making odd noises. The sun is shining brightly through the windows as if it were superman with x-ray vision burning a hole in the flimsy curtain fabric.

I’ve been in a constant state of sweat all day; I smell. I’m wearing pants that I haven’t washed for two weeks. I rode a camel in. The zipper broke a week ago; I'm held together by a safety pin. There are people puking around me, and I am inclined towards deep thoughts.

How did I go from a high-end apartment in Manhattan, a posh lifestyle, to this? Tons of ideas are floating through my head, as I listen to my “mellow” play list on my iPod trying to tell my stomach to hang in there. I’ve already taken Dramamine; it hasn’t decided if it wants to work. I’m not sure if this typing is helping or hurting.

I think about my family. Do they miss me? At times I'm rather lonely here. What are the people I know doing? Do they remember me? Do they even know where I am? Will my mom and dad visit me while I'm on this adventure? They have supported my crazy ideas. I'm grateful. What will it be like when I get home – riding from the airport into Manhattan? I think about sleeping in my own bed; seeing my apartment for the first time; the Arabic family next to me. This is only a few weeks in my life, but this is their life – normal to them. How much did this bus trip cost them? Are they in as much pain as I: they must be; they're vomiting.

I think about past loves, the ones that broke my heart. What are they doing? Will I ever meet anyone with whom I can feel comfortable, who will understand me? Who could figure out why I’m riding a hot, vomit-filled bus, living out of a backpack for 10 months now. What would my life have been like if I had stayed with some of them, if I had tried harder to make it work, if I had simply said “please, don’t go”. Will I love and trust again?

I consider my future. Will I follow my ideas, or will I end up in the rat race? Did I do the right thing – a fleeting thought. I know I did. Will I have enough money to do what I want? Will I have the perseverance, patience and knowledge to carry out my desires? Will I be able to self start? What does life hold?

I think about friends – how they've changed, how our relationships will unfold, how grateful I am for their kindness in helping me on my travels. Why have I drifted from some of them, from those that were once my closest buddies?

How's my cat, my belongings? What future adventures will I have? Can I survive volunteering in India? Will I make a difference? Why doesn't the air conditioning work? Am I a "real" traveler, like the tough ones I've met, Karina, for example, my Intrepid tour leader, who doesn't get car sick. This bus is an oven of puke!

So many thoughts. Writing them takes my mind off my discomfort – until now when I become aware of it again. Most of all, I wonder what people will think when they glimpse my sweaty, smelly, tired mind. At least I didn’t lose my lunch.

You can read more of Sherry Ott's journey at her blog.

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