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I’ve spent the past three weeks mostly unplugged and backpacking through Morocco with my husband for our honeymoon over our one-year wedding anniversary.

Our journey included imperial cities, rural valleys, Sahara Desert camping, laid-back coastal port towns, and dining in the homes of local families. And now that I’m back, I’m eager to share my experiences with curious readers.

Our route is mapped below and included:

A.  Malaga (Spain)
B.  Ceuta (Spain)
C.  Tangier
D.  Fes
E.  Meknes
F.  Marrakech
G.  Ouarzazate
H.  Skoura
I.  Erg Chebbi
J.  Rissani
K.  Erfoud
L.  Dades
M.  Marrakech
N.  Essaouira
O.  Casablanca

More to come…

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YellowstoneLike many online networking addicts, I’m rarely offline for more than a couple of days at a time. If you’re in this club, you can probably imagine how disconnected (yet liberated) I feel after being offline for two weeks!

I’ve just returned from roadtripping with my husband from Idaho to Wisconsin and back…camping, visiting friends and family, and enjoying a variety of sites along the way.

Badlands

Our trip touched seven states:

  1. Idaho
  2. Wyoming (including Yellowstone)
  3. Montana
  4. North Dakota
  5. South Dakota (including the Badlands)
  6. Minnesota (with extended stays in Duluth and near Park Rapids)
  7. Wisconsin (with an extended stay in Eau Claire)

New Salem, NDAs a budding travel writer, I know I should share more about our recent adventure. As someone with a pile of aggressive deadlines to race against over the next couple of weeks, I’ll have to save the details for later. Hopefully I can describe our adventures in articles over the coming months.

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Signs crowded with flashing lights, a light layer of snow on the ground, men with cowboy hats and handlebar mustaches, women in cowboy hats and ruffled skirts, music, poetry, and a semi-cleanish room at the Motel 6.

You’ve just gotten a glimpse into my weekend at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV.

Prior to heading out to the Poetry Gathering, I blogged about five reasons I was looking forward to the event. For the sake of symmetry, here’s a list of five highlights from the weekend.

  1. Cowboy reading poetry at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, NVCowboy wit. Nearly all the poetry readings we attended were lighthearted and included an element of comedy. While many of the poems and stories were heartfelt and personal, the poets’ wit kept the atmosphere lively.
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  2. Zydeco music. On Saturday night we danced the night away to a Zydeco band from Louisiana. Well…we danced to a few of the songs anyway. Or at least attempted to. But wow, could the folks there dance! And I agree with my husband’s theory that other couples were trying to dance-herd us off the floor (just like when we were run off the Polka dance floor at the Viennese Ball in Eau Claire a few years ago)!
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  3. Mustache mug. This was in the gift shop at the Elko Convention Center. At first it Mug for drinking with a mustachewasn’t obvious to me why the mug had the inset drinking slit. I eventually realized that it was to help keep your moustache dry when drinking. Clever.
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  4. Music and drinks at the Stray Dog. A cozy downtown pub with good food and a good band, the Stray Dog offered my husband and me an enjoyable first night in Elko that got us in the mood for some cowboy fun.
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  5. Lazy evenings. Sure, I can have lazy evenings at home too…but there’s something more enjoyable about a lazy evening away from home. The scheduling gap between the afternoon readings and nighttime entertainment gave my husband and me time relax, debrief, and be inspired.

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My husband offers an entertaining perspective on the event on our personal blog. He’s written two posts – click here and here if you’re curious.

Overall, the weekend was fun, relaxing, and inspirational. I’ll definitely consider going again next year.

Photo Credit: Shelley A. Gable

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I recently learned about the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering from a friend. From what I’ve pieced together, it sounds like a one-week event in which real cowboys from all over the country gather to share their love of poetry, music, dance, and perhaps other forms of expression.

What Is It?

It’s a week of poetry readings, shows, and educational events. And, it’s an exciting opportunity for someone like me, who has an appreciation for the arts but is relatively clueless about this segment of American culture, to get a glimpse into another perspective and way of life. I CAN’T WAIT!!!

Well, that’s my take anyway. If you’re interested in a more official description, you should probably visit the 26th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering website.

Now on to the List

Because we people love lists, here’s a list of five reasons why (in no particular order) I’m looking forward to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

  1. It’ll be fun to meet people that I’d otherwise be unlikely to cross paths with. We’re hoping to spend a day volunteering at the event, so that should help. And we have plans to meet up with some local folks we found on couchsurfing.org.
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  2. I love learning about group culture. Whether it’s national culture, regional culture, organizational culture, or another category entirely. It’s all interesting to me. Bring on the cowboy and ranching culture!
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  3. I love hearing writers read their work. Audiobooks read by the author. Poetry readings. Artists performing their own music. It really brings a piece to life.
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  4. It’s an excuse to get out of town and go somewhere new. Who doesn’t enjoy a weekend getaway? I’ve never been to Nevada.
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  5. Inspiration. An event like this must be oozing with inspiration! As a budding writer, I’ll take all the inspiration I can get!
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Well, there you have it. If I wanted to think about this a while longer, I could probably expand this into a list of ten. But for the sake of getting back to what this distracted me from, I’m willing to be satisfied with five.

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