July 10, 2019
With heavy hearts we say goodbye to our family of 12. We have thoroughly enjoyed watching our students grow as young adults and develop their leadership skills. We are so proud of everything they have accomplished and cannot wait to see them excel in their bright futures.
Our final 48 hours together were spent reminiscing on our trip and traveling from continent to continent after reaching the summit of Mt. Toubkal. Our final day in Morocco consisted of hiking out of the Atlas mountain range and spending the evening exploring the town of Imlil. Edward (roll tide) led the charge this time and kept our group mentally focused on arriving to Imlil safely. After finishing our hike, we spent the afternoon eating lunch in the shade. We played another round of two truths and a lie where Rosemary and Luke were able to share with us tidbits about themselves that we had not heard yet. After two weeks it’s crazy how close we’ve grown and how many wild experiences we’ve shared with each other.
The afternoon was spent cleaning up at the hotel and exploring Imlil! Charlie led a group in a few games of cards while Sara spent her afternoon drawing and reflecting on the hike. While this was going on a group decided to do some last-minute shopping around town. Julia saved the group a few dollars, showing off her superior bargaining abilities. She and a few others walked away with a new funky Moroccan style sweatshirt.
That evening our LOD Reilly led the group in a phenomenal discussion about what everyone has learned on the trip. We looked inwards and discovered while we may be an eclectic group from all different backgrounds, we all share the capacity to love one another and respect each other’s values.
The next day was spent traveling from Morocco to Madrid! After a quick trip over the strait of Gibraltar we managed to settle into Puerto del Sol, the heart of Madrid. The evening was spent exploring the city and gathering together for one final meal! We ate a local pizza joint and shared our favorite memories of the trip as well as our plans for the future. John finished first and crushed his personal pizza, no surprise. We finished all of our food and were blessed to do so in a neat local spot. We capped of our evening with churros and shopping. Anna Clayton picked up a few souvenirs for her family and shared with us her tradition of exchanging trinkets with her brothers. Meanwhile Isaac landed a new Arsenal jersey for a great price. He hopes to wear it for this years soccer season.
Our final Moonup was led by Blake and Phoebe. We laughed and we cried after hearing everyone’s most memorable moments from the trip. We shared our takeaways from Spain and Morocco and debriefed our final emotions towards our experiences and each other. We have had so much fun together and it’s been a pleasure leading your children along the way. The best journeys answer questions, that at first, you didn’t think to ask. For us, we were blown away by our student’s abilities to dig deep and ask us difficult questions. We are so thankful for this opportunity and cannot wait to watch them soar as individuals.
Gabe and Brit
July 9, 2019
Greetings family and friends,
We are sad to say goodbye to Morocco as we prepare for our journey home. Our crew has grown incredibly close these past few days and are sad the trip is coming to a close. Highlights from our North African experiences include a day in the market, learning how to cook traditional Moroccan food, and summiting Mt. Toubkal!
Our expedition began in Marrakech where we were grateful enough to be able to stay in one of the most beautiful riad’s (which is known as a guest house that has a courtyard in the middle). Phoebe of course was the first to jump into the pool and lead us into fun swimming games like Star and Marco Polo, even when everyone was a little tired from the flight she kept everyone happy and energetic. That night the LODs, Sara and Luke worked hard to facilitate a meaningful Moonup, Luke coming up with the question of who were you before this trip and who do you want to be after. Every answer came from the heart and it started off our time in Africa in a positive way.
We woke up the next morning feeling more than excited to head out to the Marrakech market. We explored the streets of the marketplace, discovering authentic dyes, handcrafted leather, and genuine argon oil. Our LOD’s John and Anna Clayton lead the charge and showed everyone their elite bargaining skills. John walked away with an authentic leather belt and AC with a pair of handcrafted slippers. That afternoon our riad host, Mohammed, led us in a cooking lesson of traditional Moroccan food. We had a blast! Our master chef, Charlie, showed off his new found knack for making the tradition Moroccan pancakes that we ate the next morning while Edward was a master at shredding all the veggies he could see in sight. It was an AWESOME night and we hope to see the kids using their new cooking skills back home 🙂
The mountains were calling us the next morning and we knew we had to answer. It was time to conquer Mount Toubkal. Julia read a perfect quote for the group that morning, “the goal of climbing big dangerous mountains should be obtain some sort of spiritual and personal growth.” The tone was set. Our hike to base camp from the town of Imlil was challenging but with Rosemary’s contagious relaxed attitude and interesting conversation starters we crushed it. After settling in we prepared for summit attempt for the following morning.
We started our push for the summit just before sunrise. Blake led the pack that morning up the mountain. We followed his lead and started off the day on the right foot. A long and challenging few thousand feet later, we made it to the summit! We were elated to reach the peak of the second tallest mountain in Africa and the tallest mountain in the Atlas mountain range! Isaac started a quick dance party on the top of the summit which got everyone so excited to be at the top. Reilly kept everyone belly laughing on the way down with her quick wit and humor, and continued to say how getting to the top of the mountain was the highlight of her whole trip. There are honestly no words to describe how accomplished we felt to be up there.
Summiting Mount Toubkal and being in Morocco all together was an absolute dream and brought us together in more ways than one. We have seen your kids grow so much in the past two weeks and it has been nothing short of a pleasure. We cannot thank you enough for sending them here. WE LOVE THEM!!!!!!
With lots of love,
Brit and Gabe
July 4, 2019
Adios Spain, Hello Morocco!
Greetings family and friends from our beloved Spain and Morocco 2B family. We are so excited to share our adventures from these past few days in Picos de Europa. Our team has grown incredibly close in such a short amount of time. We cannot believe our journey together is half way over!
We began our adventures by following the same beautiful river from kayaking to our first trekking spot and we could not have been more thankful. Our LOD’s Phoebe and John helped set the tone that morning with an inspirational quote and wow moment from the trip. This aided in making the day flow smoother and helped everyone get prepared for the trek. As we hiked Luke commented on how the vast walls of limestone seemed endless and almost picturesque. We are very grateful for Charlie, who assisted our trail conversations which consisted of laughter, games, and common world views. This first day of trekking was absolutely unreal. We are so thankful to have experienced it as a group.
That afternoon we celebrated our miles by stopping at a local town for ice cream and snacks. Julia got 3 scoops and crushed her gelato without taking a breathe. Eddie (roll tide) also helped guide us through the streets and showed of his street smarts. The town was full of local traditions and people which the kids experienced fully.
Our next day of trekking began by waking up in a mountain hut surrounded by the peaceful view of the limestone peaks and the sound of cows in the morning. We ventured through the fog to a local education center for the area. There we learned about Picos de Europa’s rich history of mining and shepherd communities. Isaac shared a few fun facts with us and seemed especially interested in the area’s history. After this our LOD, Reilly led us on our journey home and displayed excellent trail etiquette as well as a contagious positive attitude. Sara kept everyone laughing with her jokes and stories from home and we are so thankful that she kept the moral high!
Our last day of hiking in the Spain was one to remember. The fog passed early morning and the peaks came out to play. Rosemary lead the pack this day and kept the pace at a perfect temp the whole time. Anna Clayton (AC in the house) made sure to capture every moment for the memories and vlog the hike, she made every conversation fun and lively. We made our way through old shepherd villages and the y’all grasses with plenty of critters. The day came to a close as we transferred to Madrid. Blake helped lead us in his version of Tiny Dancer which we all thoroughly enjoyed.
Our time in Spain passed by so quickly! We are so thankful for our time here and cannot wait to see what Morocco has to offer.
Gabe and Brit
PS: just a few shoutouts from our supastars
John: Hey Mom and Dad, Spain is awesome and I’m so happy to be here. I hope y’all are doing well and I’ll see you soon.
Edward: Hey mom and dad, I love Spain and can’t wait to see what Morocco has to offer. Thanks for allowing me to come here and say hey to tucker for me, roll tide.
Luke: Hey Mom and Dad, so far I’ve been having such a fun time with my group and Brit and Gabe. I hope y’all don’t get too lonely without me! Miss you guys and love you guys and give Georgia a hug for me. Love you!
Julia: MOM DAD!!! I am having the best time in Spain and we are about to go to Morocco! Say hey to Charley and Ruby for me! I hope y’all I hope y’all are doing well in CLT. I haven’t gotten burnt yet (surprise I think yes). Love y’all so much and can’t wait to see you!
Blake: hello mom, dad, and brother. Love you hope your week has been good.
Rosemary: Hi family, love you guys and hope you guys have been having a good time in Nashville. See you soon!
Charlie: hi mom and dad. Thank you so much for sending me here. I’m having a great time with my new friends. Love and miss you guys. See you soon.
Isaac: hello family, I am having a great time, thanks for letting me come here. I have great leaders, especially Janie.
Reilly: hi!! Having the best time with the leaders and friends! Love y’all!
Phoebe: hey mom and dad! I’m having so much fun and have the best leaders and friends. Thank you for sending me! I love you and the rest of the fam! Miss you!
Sara: hey family. I’m having a TON of fun. It’s gorgeous here and the weather is perfect. I love everyone in my group and we’ve bonded a lot. I don’t really want to come home but I do miss y’all. Hug the dogs for make sure sure there’s Dr. Pepper for me when I get home. Tell Zach, Chloe, Caroline and all my other friends I miss them. I love y’all.
AC: Hey! Having the BEST time!! I have the best leaders and group! We are having so much fun and the views are AMAZING! I’m so excited for Morocco. I love and miss y’all!
June 30, 2019
Greetings family and friends!! We cannot believe its already day 3 of our Spain & Morocco trip, time flies when you’re having fun!! We’ve just spent the last couple of days on the coast, and we cannot wait to tell you all about it!
When we finally saw our 12 new family members step off the plane, they were escorted by a special guest: Janie Spilman, member of Moondance HQ!!!!! We are so thankful and lucky to have her with us for our time in Spain.
Our first full day of activities were nothing short of amazing. We woke up with the help of our first L.O.D.’s, (leaders of the day) Julia and Charlie, and devoured a yummy traditional Spanish breakfast which included baked goods and fresh fruit. We then went on to head out for a full day in the sun. We spent the morning kayaking on a beautiful river. Sara commented on how crystal clear the water was the whole way down. We had a fun filled morning of kayak jokes lead by John, who kept everyone laughing. Luke started a contagious splash war, and everyone joined in, including Reilly who got so into it, she ended up dunking her whole head in the water because it felt so refreshing. After kayaking meant it was time for lunch, which were some of the best sandwiches any of us had ever had. We needed to fill up for our afternoon of hanging 10, which means surfs up here in Spain. Isaac and Blake were our first to catch any waves in the ocean, and we had a hard time fishing them out of the water after! They rocked it the whole time and looked like professionals. We finished out our amazing first day with a special treat of palmettos and then a cookout for dinner. Edward helped get the barbecue in line and the burgers ready, while also finishing everyone’s leftovers. No wasting on Moondance!
We moved on to our second day, waking up with full hearts ready to go and take on some more waves. The beach was our own little space that morning, where every single student caught a wave and the weather was unbelievable. We were able to hang out in the sun and bond even closer. It was truly impeccable. A.C., one of our LODS of the day, made sure to cheer everyone on in the water and keep the moral high, even through our journey in the van to our next destination. Phoebe kept us all entertained by her dance moves and contagious laughter. We have been more than impressed by everyone’s Moonup questions, even at the beginning of the trip everyone has dug deep in order to be vulnerable with the group. Moonup is our time of the day where we come together and reflect on the experiences of the day and the trip so far. Rosemary in particular has put her heart and soul into each three of her answers, and we are so grateful for her genuine attitude that is contagious to the group.
We cannot express how excited and thankful we feel to have your kids with us for the next two weeks and have the opportunity to experience new adventures with them. Thank you so much again for sharing them with us!!!
Brit And Gabe
June 28, 2019
Hola Spain + Morocco Families!
We heard from our Leaders late last night, and the group has arrived safely in Spain. The trip is off to a great start. Stay tuned for more stories from their adventures!