To live is to change.

“To live is to change, to acquire the words of a story, and that is the only celebration we mortals really know.”
– Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible

Why did I come here? How have I changed? What Is the story I will tell when I finally come home?

I came to Morocco because I had stopped growing. I was content in Missoula but I wasn’t becoming the person I knew I wanted to be. I had come to a standstill. When I told my mom I wanted to go to Africa she said “Michael why could’t it be France? Britain? New Zealand?” “Because this is what I need to do ma”. I wont say that I chose Morocco simply because it would be a challenge but it was a factor.

After 5 months I think I got exactly what I wanted. I lived, I changed, I gained an unlikely story. I know that I have changed. How I don’t know, I wont know until I see myself reflected in the perplexed eyes of the people I left behind. I know that my life has been altered. I have rediscovered my love for making music, I have learned to unleash courage and that I didn’t even know I had. I have found resilience in my darkest hours, I understand myself better and I cant go back. I am marked by this place, I am still investigating how.

When I return to Montana what will I tell them? That I was Lawrence of Arabia galloping through the desert on on a camel? That shopping malls look exactly the same everywhere you go? No, I will tell them “There were good days and bad, Morocco isn’t better, its not worse, its just like Montana, full of kind generous and welcoming people, breathtaking scenery and experiences that will change your life.”

At the close of my time in Morocco I want to send out some thanks…

To Paola: Thank you for the adventures, for the laughter and tears, you understood me from the start and saw who I was supposed to be, because of you I am closer to becoming him. For that and so much more thank you.

To Noah: Thank you for uncovering my love for music I abandoned it years ago. I will always treasure your spirt and our friendship.

To Nabil: Thank for your generosity, the translations, your laughter and smile. I couldn’t ask for a better example of hospitality, kindness, and understanding. To my moroccan sherpa and dear friend thank you.

To my new friends: Thank you for welcoming me into your lives it has been a great honor to get to know you. All of you have such bright futures I cannot wait to see what where you go next.

To my friends back home: Thank you for answering Facetime calls at 3am. “My love for you burns with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns.”

To my dear brother and sister: This is more an apology. I am sorry that I could not be there for you these last few months I have not been present as I should have I will see you both soon. Thank you both for supporting and encouraging me.

To Nathan: If I’ve learned something here its that it doesn’t matter if I’m watching the sunrise in the Sahara or going on a 3 am Walmart quest, what matters are the people you share it with. I am lucky to be your friend. I treasure our adventures. Thank you for being my friend.

To my mother and father: Thank you for teaching me to be strong for being an example and for letting me go (like you had a choice). Thank you for letting me make mistakes and then helping me up after. I am blessed to have you.

The adventure isn’t important its those you share it with even if its just yourself.

Safe travels thank you for hearing my story,
Michael Nelson

“Hope fades
Into the world of night
Through shadows falling
Out of memory and time
Don’t say: «We have come now to the end»
White shores are calling
You and I will meet again”
– Annie Lennox, Into the west

2 thoughts on “To live is to change.

  1. Reblogged this on Leisa Greene and commented:
    It’s hard to cut the apron strings as a mother. Michael’s travel abroad to Moracco seemed extra violent, like Edward Scissorhands cutting them rapidly at once. I survived it and so did my Michael and we all changed. It is true: to live is to change. Change us the only thing I can count on. Read more…

  2. I love you Michael! We can’t wait to see your face and hear your stories. We’re so proud of you! Love, Mom

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