Trip Updates

Spain + Morocco 3B • July 13-July 26, 2019

Adios!

July 27, 2019

We write our final trip update with heavy hearts as we say our goodbyes to an amazing summer in Spain and Morocco!!!  We can hardly comprehend how these past two weeks went by so quickly but are so grateful to have had this special time with your kids. We know all the great things they will do when they return home.

We caught a flight on our last full day back to Madrid from Morocco, and our final LOD’s of the trip, Hayes and Anna, facilitated one last morning huddle. They asked the question of our favorite part of Morocco and why, so everyone could reflect on the precious time spent in such a wonderful country. Mac’s answer made the whole group laugh even through the sadness of knowing it was the last day; he talked about his experience in the Marrakech market, and how amazing he was at bargaining. In the van, Kate and Robbie helped pick out our favorite songs of the trip to reminisce on our times as we belted Jason Myraz and Bruno Mars.

Once we landed in Madrid, we had the awesome opportunity to take the Metro to the heart of the city where we would be sleeping for the night. We were able to teach them a little but about the lines of the Metro and where we were headed. McCullough (Moco) made sure that everyone understood where our ending stop was and that no one got left behind or left anything behind as well. We are so grateful for his awesome direction and leadership skills.

Once we made it into the city, we were able to walk around for a little bit and show the kids what Madrid has to offer. Everyone was amazed by the beautiful architecture and culture. Annie most specifically kept saying how much she loved Madrid, and how she could see herself studying abroad there one day. It was amazing to hear how impacted she was by Madrid and Spain in general as well.

The last night of the trip meant banquet night, which includes a surprise fun last dinner in Madrid. With the help of Jay and Izzy, we decided to head to Steak n’ Shake for some amazing burgers and milkshakes. It definitely did not disappoint. Hadley ordered a large mint chocolate chip shake, and everyone was in awe and jealous of how delicious it looked as she drank it all!

After this we meandered through the streets back to our hostel where we prepared for our final Moonup. We spent the night reminiscing on our most memorable moments from the trip and discussed how we planned to take what we had learned with us home. David exclaimed his favorite part was bargaining in the markets and reminded everyone of the incredible feeling of summiting Mt. Toubkal! Sydnie mentioned her most memorable part of the trip was surfing and discovering her passion for the outdoors as well as connecting with others on different cultural levels. Finally we heard from an emotional Emily who couldn’t stand the idea of leaving her newfound family. She helped put into words how we were all feeling and could not have done this trip without her.

We are so thankful for the opportunity to have made an impact on each one of your beautiful children. They have taught us so much and we cannot wait to see what they achieve in the future.

Best,

Gabe and Brit


Successful Summit!

July 25, 2019

Greetings family and friends from Morocco!

We have had quite the adventure lately and cannot wait to share our experiences in Northern Africa! We also are excited to announce our entire group made it to the top of Mt. Toubkal! We have grown so incredibly close these past few days and are sad to be making our way back to Madrid for our final banquet dinner before we depart ways.

We began our journey in Morocco on the outskirts of Marrakech. We spent the afternoon exploring our riad and playing by the pool! Kate was so excited to lead us in a few games of oreo and Marco Polo! Her smile was contagious and as a result the gang could not stop laughing. As the sun began to set, we prepared our palates for an evening of new flavors and fresh fruits. After a long day of traveling we went to bed early in preparation for a full day of activities in Marrakech the next day.

We woke up with open minds and hearts, ready to explore the markets of Marrakech. After touring the heart of the city, we spent some time bargaining and shopping around for souvenirs. It became apparent that Mac had incredible bargaining skills that were unprecedented. He helped our entire group acquire discounted items which we were all grateful for! After a day in the market, we transitioned back to the riad to prepare for a cooking lesson with our host, Mohamed. We learned how to cook brewats and Moroccan pancakes which we all loved! Annie showed off her superior cooking abilities and shined during our lesson. She also managed to ask our guides a few deep questions that kept the dinner conversation alive. Our post meal activities included some relaxing time with our family and a soccer game with the locals. David helped set up and divide teams entirely in French, we were all blown away!

That evening our LOD Emily led our discussion and helped debrief the day. She asked the whole group about their experiences with a new culture which led to an awesome discussion about the importance of travel and keeping an open mind. We hit the hay early once again in preparation for the trekking we were about to do.

Our journey to the mountains was nothing short of amazing. The first morning Jay shared with us an inspiring quote by Norman Vincent Peale. “Too much caution is bad for you. By avoiding things you fear, you May let yourself in unhappy consequences. It is usually wiser to stand up to a scary experience and walk right into it. You are likely to find it is not as tough as you thought.” This prepared our minds for the hard days to come in the Atlas Mountains. Our first day was long but rewarding. Anna helped lead a few trail discussions and managed to keep us all positive on our journey up the mountain. We made it to the refuge and ready to tackle the summit the next day.

We woke up before the sun came up and began our long road up the summit of Mt. Toubkal. Our trek was challenging but we all managed to make it up! We could not have accomplished this incredible feat without the help of every single one of our kids. They all carried each other up both mentally and physically and we are so impressed with their ability to lead. Moco (McCullough) in particular cheered us on to make it to the top. As LOD he inspired us all and kept the moral high. We spent our time on top of the highest mountain in Northern Africa dancing on the summit with a jar of Nutella.

That evening we relaxed and rested as we helped celebrate our achievement. Hayes helped lead card games and a discussion in the afternoon about how we had grown as leaders, especially after the summit. We were all impressed with their answers and were beginning to see how much each of our students has grown.

The next day we trekked back for our final night in Morocco. Our trail conversations this time were led by Sydnie who helped us in a few games of ABC’s and contact. We have watched her open up throughout this trip and are always impressed with her attitude. We arrived and were able to shower off and clean up after our days on the mountain. Hadley initiated a game of Mafia that evening which we all enjoyed. She has a talent for making us all laugh despite being tired from the hike.

Our second to last Moonup was led by Izzy and Robbie. Izzy told an incredible nug jug story and opened up to the group. She helped us put into words how we all felt about the summit. Robbie shared with us his opinion on how time is fleeting and how we should all dare to live in the moment. We are so thankful for each and every one of our kids and are so impressed with their ability to come together as a closeknit unit.

Thank you once again for sending us these sweet nuggets.

With love,Gabe and Brit


Adventure in the Picos de Europa!

July 20, 2019

Hello again, family and friends from Spain! We are writing to you as we leave Spain in search of new adventures in Morocco. We aren’t sure how it’s already at the halfway mark of the trip, but we feel very proud of each and every kid for what they brought to the trekking portion. Our whole group has agreed that Picos de Europa is one of the most beautiful places we have ever been to, and we are sad to say goodbye to all of our amazing memories.

We began our first morning of trekking with beautiful weather and our LOD’s, David and Emily, who gave us an amazing uplifting and encouraging quote written by the first woman on Everest, Junko Tabei, “Technique and ability alone do not get you to the top- it is the willpower that is important. This willpower you cannot buy with money or be given by others-it roses from you heart”. They explained that they believed this fit perfectly for our first day of trekking because it encompasses the idea that you can do anything that you put your mind to and that anyone can achieve their own goals. This meant a lot to the students and helped their nerves for the first day of trekking.

Annie kicked booty the whole entire day with leading the pack. Everyone noticed her persistence throughout the hike. She never complained once! When anyone was feeling down, she was our constant motivator to get everyone feeling pumped throughout the day. We are so thankful for her charismatic personality. After being blown away by the beautiful views, we stopped for lunch on the trail. We had the traditional Spanish lunch, sandwiches with different types of meat including prosciutto and salchichong as well as some fruit. Hayes made sure to point out how much he loved these lunches and how he could eat them for every meal. This made our guides feel very happy and appreciated.

After spending the afternoon hiking along the spiraling limestone walls we arrived to our destination. Our afternoon was spent exploring a nearby town that offered various views and some delicious ice cream cones. Jay loved the ice cream so much, he went back for 2 more cones! His jokes and laughter are contagious among our group. After our town visit we traveled to our next hostel in the mountains and prepared for a full day of hiking the following day.

The fog from our previous day lifted to reveal spectacular views. We felt surrounded by awe inspiring peaks and lakes. Our hike was challenging however with the help of Sydnie and Izzy It was no problem. They managed the group back to front and provided support and a fun energy where needed. The outcome was amazing. We arrived at the peak of our hike, which overlooked the northern section of Picos de Europa. We could even see the ocean from the top! Our hike down included a few amazing trail conversations directed by Hadley. She helped facilitate a few games of contact and even carried a conversation with our guide in perfect Spanish.

That afternoon we traveled to our final hostel location in Spain and spent the evening chowing down on traditional Tapas. This night we had an amazing outdoor view during our Moonup. We were sitting under the stars, and Mac, one of our LOD’s that day, facilitated a great discussion and questions. One of the questions was: ‘What is your biggest fear?’. It got everyone thinking and feeling very vulnerable with the group as well.

Our last day in Spain consisted of a half day hike, with lunch in a little town while we reminisced on our time in the beautiful Picos De Europa before heading back to Madrid. Kate and Robbie participated in a fun game of ‘fútbol’ with the local kids of the town and our guides. They showed off their intense soccer and athletic skills. On our van ride back, McCullough and Anna helped us with song suggestions for the queue, and every single member of our family sang along and it made the car ride go by so fast.

We are so sad to say goodbye to such a beautiful country, but cannot wait to experience a new culture and place in Morocco. We love your kids SO MUCH and am so proud of them already! Talk to you soon!!!

With Love,

Brit and Gabe

P.S: Here are some words from your kiddos!

Annie: Hi whoever is reading this! I want you to know that this is the best trip of my life!!! I’m so thankful you sent me here and tell my friends I love and miss them!!!

Anna: I am having the best time ever! Love you so much! Sarah better not be sleeping on the floor. Give Ellerie a hug for me! Xoxo

Mac: What’s up Mom and Pops the trip is so sweet. I’m having such a good time! Love y’all!

McCullough: Hey Mom and Dad the trip has been awesome. Thanks for sending me. Love y’all and Happy birthday Dad!

Hayes: What’s cooking homies. It’s me your favorite son. Spain was pretty awesome with all the views. Love you guys!

Jay: Hi I am having so much fun and I miss y’all! So thankful you let me come! See y’all in like 192 hours bye! xoxo

David: Hey Mom and Dad! This trip is so fun. Thanks for sending me! Love y’all

Sydnie: Hi I’m having so much fun, I hope y’all are too! Miss y’all xoxo

Izzy: Thank you so much for sending me on this trip! I’m having so much fun and and meeting so many new friends. Can’t wait for Greece! Love you

Emily: I’m having the best time! We have made so many friends and have seen the coolest things. Thank you for sending me! Miss you!

Kate: Spain was so fun! Thank you for sending me on this trip! I have gotten better on surfing and cannot wait to use French in Morocco! See you soon love y’all!

Rob: I miss you Mommy and Daddy! I’m having an amazing time! I have so many new friends and have accomplished some awesome things. I’m stoked for Morocco, love y’all! (Also happy belated birthday Annie)

Hadley: miss you all but I am having so much fun! Spain was really fun and super excited for Morocco. Thank you for sending me on this trip! I’m wearing my invaslign 🙂 love y’all!


Spanish Wonders!

July 17, 2019

Hola friends and family from your Spain and Morocco 3B leader team!

Words cannot express how grateful we feel to have had such an amazing couple of days with your kids. After picking them up on day one in the airport, we knew we had an outgoing and bold group and we are so excited. Not only that, but the students had already bonded so well, and it continues to show throughout the different activities we have been apart of on the trip so far.

After picking up the kids from the airport, we drove to our first activity site. Although it was somewhat of a long bus ride and everyone felt jet lagged and nervous from the first day, Robert (Robbie) ensured that everyone felt okay but initiating many different car games. He included everyone in the group and made everyone laugh and feel welcome. Later that day we were lucky enough to get a personal tour of the town by our guides, Che Chu and Alex, who showed us all of the local spots. Sydnie loved the town and the markets so much it was hard to get her to leave! She claimed she could walk around and hang out in the town for a very long time, hinting at her excitement towards the trip.

The next morning our real adventures began. We woke up with curious hearts and minds to explore what Northern Spain had to offer. We were woken up with fun dancing music by our first ever leaders of the day (LOD’s), Kate and McCullough, or Moco. Kate and Moco did not hesitate whatsoever to help our guides set up our meal, which included a traditional breakfast of Spanish muffins, pastries, many types of jam and cereal.

From there, it was time to kayak down one of the most beautiful rivers. The sun was shining, and the water was a perfect temperature to keep us feeling awake and refreshed when splashed. We figured this out through Hayes who started a lasting splash fight between the kayaks, keeping everyone laughing and having fun, also ensuring the group moral was high. Everyone also noticed Mac’s mad kayaking skills; he was always in the front proving his leadership skills by leading the pack and keeping everyone in a line when they needed to be. Once kayaking had finished, we ate our lunch in a beautiful park nearby, Jay could not get enough of the sandwiches that Spain had, and could not stop talking about how much he loved them and wanted them for every meal. His positive attitude showed great expedition behavior.

Our first full day was packed full of activities, and we headed to our first part of surfing! We drove down many hills and curvy roads to lead us to one of the most beautiful beaches in Northern Spain. The kids were in awe. Emily looked like an absolute pro in her wet suit out in the waves. She barely even needed help from the guides and came off as a natural. Izzy was able to record on her go pro all of the waves not only she was catching, but also all of the group. She got the sickest shots and couldn’t wait to show everyone to show them how good they looked while surfing. Our day ended with a cookout from our guides, including burgers and chips, which everyone was so happy about after a long day of activities.

The next morning, we were so excited because today was Annie’s 15th birthday!!! We celebrated with chocolate and awarded her a pair of silly bday designer shades. She made a point to share all her gifts throughout the day and seemed to be having the most fun throughout our activities. That morning we ended our time on the water with one last surfing session. Hadley crushed this surfing session and by the end was attempting the impossible 180 spin move. It was incredible to watch. After cruising to a local pizza spot, we made our way to the open highway. David made sure to not waste any food at our amazing lunch and let everyone try his pasta. Our LOD Anna prepared us for the days to come with a few inspiring words after lunch. We took to the road and are headed to Picos de Europa for a few days of trekking. We are thankful for these young adults and cannot wait to share more about our days to come.

With Love,

Brit and Gabe


Safe Arrival in Madrid

July 14, 2019

All students have safely arrived in Spain and the trip is on its way.

We can’t wait to hear about their adventures!

-Moondance HQ


Students

  • Anna
  • Annie
  • David
  • Emily
  • Hadley
  • Hayes
  • Isabel
  • Jay
  • Kate
  • Mac
  • McCullough
  • Robert
  • Sydnie

Staff