August 20, 2017

Crossing Continents

The Pillars of Hercules beckon…

Image credit: Dave Dickinson

There’s an old adage that says no battle plan actually survives combat, and the same could be said of travel.

This weekend sees us on the move once again, getting ready and in position to jump across the straits of Gibraltar from Spain into Morocco. We’ve done this sort of transition enough before to know that it’s a wise move to break things down into stages, and keep things as simple as possible. We’re also excited to get to Morocco, as you can see its dramatic coastline from several different vantage points along the Spanish coast. We’ve also never been there, and we’re excited to check another country off of our list, though we stopped counting long ago right around 40 or so.

And this jump will require multiple modes of transport in a three day span. Here’s the battle plan;

Saturday-Drive to Algeciras and drop off the rental car, then bus it over to Tarifa

Sunday-day in Tarifa

Monday-Ferry from Tarifa to Tangier, then to our AirBnB in the city.

Then, its onward to exploration and a new culture, nestled in the northwestern corner of the African continent. We’ve never visited a country that we didn’t like. Everywhere has something to offer, if you meet it on its own terms.

We also like this plan, in that its A). spread out a bit over a few days, and B). has lots of flexibility for those little last minute issues that always seem to crop up. There’s a backup turn-in spot in Gibraltar, if the Algecircas one doesn’t pan out. There are multiple daily ferries to Morocco. Probably the biggest unknown is actually the very last step, clearing customs and exiting the port into a strange new city. But hey, we’ll be doing this midday, as opposed to o’dark early in the morning, though yes, we’ve done that too. We’ve also landed in a strange new place in the dead of night, not knowing where our bed would be that night. But we always found one, be it Easter weekend in Sydney or Passover in Jerusalem.

So why make a plan at all? Why not just throw caution to the wind, and wing it?

I think careful planning of any trip in still invaluable. I think of planning in terms of astronaut Chris Hadfield’s ‘what can kill me next?’ mantra. By anticipating the ‘known unknowns,’ we’re ready with plan A-Z when those ‘unknown unknowns’ crop up. We’re packing light and agile, and I’ll let you in on a little secret: the time honored life fuel triad of ‘time, energy and money’ can solve lots. This means staying healthy (energy), carrying half as much stuff and twice as much cash (money), and never jam packing a schedule (time). Always have the mindset you’ll return again one day, and you probably will.

Well, that’s our plan for this week, and we’re sticking with it. We’ll be back to Spain this Fall, after our north African adventure.

See you in Morocco for next Friday’s dispatch from the road!

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