The Running of the Bulls.
Wait a second! Roller Derby Girl Bulls with wiffle bats?!
¿Por que no?
There was excitement, costumes, smiles, laughs, and wagons!
And let me tell you…
Today I am going on my 8th day in a row working at The Libertine. I cannot express how grateful I am to be working there. What?!
Yes I am tired and yes I am looking forward to my day off tomorrow (WOO!) but I’ve found something in Dallas…
The Libertine is a special place. When I think about it, I haven’t had a job with co-workers since the first Morocco trip in 2010. Even then it was sort of a special circumstance because there were only three of us and we all lived together.
I had forgotten about the rapport you have with the people you work with/for. Only they understand things like how much I hate ‘doing ketchups’ or rolling silverware or when people leave quarters as part of the tip (that’s the worst!). Only they understand the importance of our wit and banter and how these key elements make the night bearable.
That is an interesting part of the work force. Everybody jokes around and is in a playful mood. Resulting in the tedious things (rude customers, busing tables, bad tips, etc) loosing their power over the experience and attitude of the staff.
I feel a part of a new family. I did not expect to find this in Dallas. I had made many new families from my year working abroad but I never thought Dallas would yield anything comparable to my Italian, Greek, and Moroccan families. I have been proven wrong.
Thank you Libertine for giving me the opportunity to work towards my goal and for being something special in a town I was beginning to resent. Thank you to all the people who work there who make it a pleasure when I walk in the door.
“God changes his appearance every second. Blessed is the man who can recognize him in all his disguises.”
— Nikos Kazantzakis (Zorba the Greek)
My first goal in returning to Morocco was to go to the Sahara desert. Time and weather were against us during my previous stay and we were unable to make the trip.
At that time I was in the mind set that this trip to Morocco was a vacation. I wanted to do all the things I did not have the chance to when I was working full time at Peacock Pavilions. Go into town more often, treat myself to Les Bains de Marrakech, practice piano, go to the beach, and most importantly go to the desert.
This trip I had a return ticket and a dream of ultimately moving back to my beloved New Orleans and…settling?
It is humorous to look back, see yourself and ask, “How could I ever think that?”
I knew the desert would be magical but I did not know that the experience would completely throw any notion of “settling” out the window.
Due to some miscommunication my initial traveling companion was unable to accompany me on the excursion. So in a panic of missing the desert again I contacted an acquaintance I had met at this year’s Mardi Gras who I knew was in London. A true friend of a friend of a friend.
“Todd! I know you want to buy a ticket to Marrakech and go to the desert with me!”
“Can I call you?”
Within 30 minutes he had purchased a ticket to Marrakech from London leaving in 5 days.
When we met at Mardi Gras the conversation was just as abrupt and sincere.
“What do you do?”
“I travel! I’ll be in Italy and Morocco next week.”
“Maybe I’ll stop by.”
All of our communications were short and quick to the point. Neither of us ever looked at the fact that we barely knew each other. Our mutual friends were the basis of our trust.
So the magic of Mardi Gras and my beloved city of New Orleans created a remarkable friendship that aided me in fulfilling my desert journey.
I have done this process before.
Two years ago I uprooted my five year life in New Orleans and came to Dallas to…work and save money.
Would you like to know how long 3 months of working at a restaurant and coffee shop in Dallas gave me to travel?
1 Year + 5 days.
Dates: December 5th, 2009-December 10th, 2010
The budget lasted this long because I was working via WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities in Organic Farming) and Work Away. These are programs that provide you with numerous profiles of hosts situated worldwide who give you room and board for various jobs. The only money going out was for my travel costs!
Through these programs I worked as a gardener, builder, cook, wood-chopper, farmer, cement mixer, painter, decorator, home school teacher, au pair, hotel staff manager, server, and marketer.
After returning from this year long jaunt I prepared for what seemed…well something more like a ‘jaunt.’
I was given the opportunity of chaperoning my dad’s High School Spring Break Italy Trip where he takes a group of his students on a tour through Italy.
I had decided that once my dad’s group returned to Dallas I would stay and revisit Morocco to see friends and the family I worked for in the Fall.
I arrived in Marrakech with expectations of renting my own apartment but after looking at a few and coming to grips with rent prices I came to a disappointing realization, I didn’t have enough money…this time!
After a few days of squatting in my friends cousin’s abandoned Riad (In Arabic: رياض. A riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard) with no electricity or running water…I decided to return to the luxurious Peacock Pavilions, the boutique hotel in Marrakech where I had worked 5 months earlier.
It was wonderful to be back with the family and coworkers I spent almost every waking moment with only months before.
The day after I arrived I woke up bright and early to drive the kids to school. This had been one of my jobs the previous trip and I was more than happy to do it again. Every morning we would pile into the car (usually in a some what hectic, “we are going to be late!” way) and as we pulled out I would crank up one of the kids favorite songs.
We would belt our hearts out on the 15-20 minute drive and somehow this tradition became a type of meditation. Having a degree in Music Therapy made this exercise obvious to me of its benefits for personal well-being but for the children it was just fun!
I instantly felt at home yet again.
Since I graduated from University I have been living off and on in Dallas, Texas and New Orleans. The purpose of these locations are solely based on the fact that I can live rent free. However, since I grew up in Dallas and lived in New Orleans for 5 years, I have a strong home base of family and friends in both cities that I am very grateful to have the time to revisit.
How this works…
I get 2 or 3 jobs in the service industry because it is fast and easy money. In Dallas I have worked here….
The Libertine Bar
My goal is quite simple; have fun, make money.
Am I saving for school, debt, a house, to move, or something obvious?
I am saving almost every single penny I earn to take the Trans-Siberian Railway from Russia to Mongolia.
The longer I continue these fun but sometimes tedious jobs I realize that I am not only saving for the Trans-Siberian but for an indefinite adventure.
Hmm…what about the future? What will you have to come back to? What do you want to do?
Yes. These questions can sometimes be intimidating but that is what I am here to tell you, and remind myself, of the little importance of knowing the answers to those questions.
I am riding the wave into oblivion. Giving myself the opportunity to think and act in the present. Working only for the foreseeable future and taking the risk of finding an unknown adventure. Living life and following in the footsteps of one my most influential archetypes, Zorba the Greek.
As Zorba says,
“This is true happiness: to have no ambition and to work like a horse as if you had every ambition. To live far from men, not to need them and yet to love them. To have the stars above, the land to your left and the sea to your right and to realize all of a sudden that in your heart, life has accomplished its final miracle: it has become a fairy tale.”
-Nikos Kazantzakis (Zorba the Greek)