So I had intended to blog while on the trip. Perhaps it would have been possible on a longer journey–one in which we had some periods of down time before moving on to the next set of amazing sights and sites.

But, as with other such trips–the ones that are about engaging with the world, rather than about getting away from it all and relaxing–I found that given my druthers, a journal of fragmentary notes, impressions, and disorganized jottings was what I found most comfortable. Anything more organized would have taken a considerable effort after a long day of highly engaged sightseeing.

It’s a good reminder, really. I know I could have come up with some content for blog posts, if that were the sole aim. But I soon began to realize that I need time to process. I felt as though any reflections that arose from my immediate reactions would likely be improved by taking a bit of time to mull over what I’d seen–letting it simmer and develop a fuller, richer flavour.

So, while I do have a small chunk of pages in my journal–handwritten–I soon abandoned any notion of trying to pull those into full-fledged posts while on the go. Instead, I chose to allow the experiences to sit, and stew, and brew.

I will return to some of the things we saw, over the weeks and months to come–the 17 thousand year old cave paintings; the magnificent walled cities and fortresses of the Cathars; the masterworks of art and architecture; the beauty and power of a night in the desert, sleeping amid the vast sand dunes of Erg Chebbi in the Moroccan Sahara, under a canopy of stars.

Stay tuned…