Jackie Steves’ Adventures in Morocco

Our daughter Jackie recently returned from a high school-sponsored trip to Morocco. And she’s written a journal about her experience.

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A year ago, we went to the information session and talked to the students who had gone the year before. All had gotten sick…and still loved it. Listening to them talk about how the trip was a life-changing experience was mesmerizing.

Jackie debated between Morocco and India. She chose Morocco, got sick…and enjoyed a life-changing experience.

Living a month in a rustic village a world away from the comforts of America, Jackie became part of a family so different…and yet (as she learned) clearly so much the same.

As Jackie’s father, I’m a wide-eyed observer. For me, the hardships that came with this experience are the birthing pains of a broader perspective. And the uploading of her journal onto our website is her debut as a travel writer. (Each evening I enjoy watching her eyes as she reads the feedback from her many readers.)

Both as a concerned parent and an exacting travel writer, I read through her journal thinking I could spiff it up. I ended up simply enjoying it. It is a beautiful piece of writing coming right from Jackie’s heart, which (in the spirit of a good travel writer) is motivated to share what she learned.

I hope you can enjoy at least browsing through her Morocco photos. My hunch is, you’ll settle into the text and you’ll magically be seeing that fascinating society…through the eyes of a 17-year-old high schooler.


22 Replies to “Jackie Steves’ Adventures in Morocco”

  1. I enoyed reading Jackie’s blog yesterday. It was very interesting. She’s a great writer and has a very interesting world view. It was nice to see that by the end of the trip though, she was missing home and family. Just what every parent longs to hear!

  2. Rick, just read Jackie’s full trip report. You should be very proud of her. I think you have a second generation travel writer on your hands!!

  3. What a wonderful experience for Jackie & a delight for her readers to see another part of the world through the eyes of a young adult. This would certainly be an ideal way for all young people to see that their world is much broader than they can imagine & would surely help make the world a more understanding & helpful place. Thanks Jackie & Rick for sharing.

  4. I may sound like “Johnny one note,” in my talk of culture and a country, but in no way would I say anything but “wonderful” about Jackie Steves’ Adventures in Morocco. I think that is a great way to learn how other parts of the world lives.

    Our daughter spent months in Germany, and our Son, a year in Finland. Sweetie and I traveled half way round the world, including a short visit in Morroco.

    But Culture is a key point. There’s not much room to discuss it here, but could you imagine what Jackie’s trip would have been like if she had insisted that her new friends speak English, buy some $200 jeans, and accept her culture.

    And on the other hand, if any of those new friends visited Seattle, would they be welcome to live and promote their Culture. You could rebuilt your bathroom with a hole in the floor and footprints to stand on.

    But isn’t it best to live by the culture of the country you are living in, for a short vacation, or for the rest of your life.

  5. Rick, I loved reading Jackie’s blog. As a former English teacher, I was impressed by her style and detailed observations. We went to Turkey this past August which was our first experience in an Islamic country. I agree with Jackie that it is so helpful for Americans to spend time in Islamic countries to gain a better understanding of the culture and religion. And one other thing, reading her blog prompted me to pull out the yellow pages of my journal from my first trip (at age 19) to Europe some 27 years ago. I know that traveling abroad at such a young age gave me the wanderlust that I have to this day.

  6. Rick, I read Jackie’s blog out loud to my husband and we had a wonderful discussion of American vs. other cultures. My husband is Colombian & we have both learned tremendously from each other — me, by spending time with his gregarious Latin American family, and he by spending time with my quieter midwestern Dutch-American clan. Jackie’s writing drew us in and we felt like we were along for the adventure. Thank you for sharing.

  7. As a parent of two young adults, I also know that one of the hardest things to do is allow our young ones to learn from their own mistakes, hardships, experiences, etc. without intervening to protect them. These are lessons learned that will stay with them forever. And Jim Humberd, I used to think you were amusing, but now just find you to be a bore.

  8. Hi, Rick, Next summer, we will be sending our daughter to Paris and London with her French teacher. It will be her first overseas trip without us. Granted that it is not Morocco. She will learn on her own in a country where English is not widely spoken. Like Dean says, you let your children tumble and they get up on their own again without having to hold their hands every single time. We always teach our children to not take things for granted, most of all, to not take our mother earth for granted. We are very fortunate to live in this country with abundance……but we also have the kindness and compassion to open up and help the rest of the world, just like your daughter Jackie was doing in Morocco. I am sure you and wife are very proud of her right now. She is a terrific travel writer, thanks for sharing it with us.

  9. Rick, you and Anne should be extremely proud of your daughter! I believe children are a reflection of their parents, and Jackie really shines! She is an inspiration to me as a parent!

  10. Jackie, I really enjoyed your journal, you are a very impressive writer for your age. Don’t get too hung up on those $200.00 jeans, they wash the same as the $50.00 ones. I want your dad to stay down to earth with his travels, so us middle class people can still afford to see the world!

  11. Jackie,

    It’s been a pleasure reading your blog…your a wonderful writer…I see it runs in the family, I wrote to your father that your brother Andy should be sent to Greece this summer and give us his viewpoints and perhaps write a travel book…

    Now I must say that both of you should head to Greece and if you enjoy this country then collaborate and write your first travel book with Andy….Just an idea…thanks again for your blog…

  12. Hi Rick, For years I’ve been enjoying the sensitivity of your writing (and thinking how amazingly alike we are, your observations, metaphors, likes/dislikes, etc. but it was never so evident to me as when I read … “Each evening I enjoy watching her eyes as she reads the feedback from her many readers.” How many people would say something like that … not many!

  13. What a great bit of writing, and she’s a lucky gal to have parents willing to set her loose in such a unique environment. Good for her for giving it a go! But she must have one heck of a summer job to buy herself $200 jeans… Well done, Jackie

  14. Jackie, I’m so glad that you kept such a wonderful journal, and that you shared it with the world. I agree with the posters before me, that it was first-rate and very interesting reading. Rick, the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree – you must be very proud. I thank you both.

  15. What a beautifully written journal of an amazing and life-changing trip. I wish I’d had the same opportunity when I was in high school. I’m very happy to contribute to your fund for the Association Amal Sale, and wish you all the best.

  16. Jackie, thanks for the charming report of your experiences! I tried to just take a quick look at it, but I couldn’t. I was drawn into reading it all. Mark Morse Eau Claire, WI

  17. You probably won’t even see this because I was so late in commenting. However, in the event that you do read it…I enjoyed Jackies’ “Morocco Report” immensely. It was very refreshing to hear what a 17 year old has to say about such an interesting and challenging experience, rather than than hearing from a streetwise, jaded adult (any travel writer over about 45) who has been around the block a few too many times. I doubt at the age of 17 that would have been able to handle, nor get as much out of the experience as you did, Jackie. keep up the good work (writing).

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