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If Life Was A Trip

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In a faraway land about three decades ago, a rich man, Senior Reeders, owned most of the lands in the country. He was 65 when he decided to hand most of the properties to his only son, Young. The old man called his son over to his splendid room decorated with gold and eaglewood. Senior Reeders was born in a poor family, but his astonishing perseverance and dedicated hard work outstood his performance at a large corporation, so he became one of the best employees in the company. When he was only 43, Senior started his own mining and transportation business and flourished his company's name in 10 years' time. Young walked into the room with humility, ready to do what his father told him to. This was one of the good things that Young possessed; he was never too arrogant about the high social status his family held. But the 26-year-old was always too impersonal; Young never held his own opinion about life. Perhaps it's because of his wealth; Young didn't have to worry about his future at all. "My son," from his deathbed, Senior reached out his hand, speaking in a small voice. "Yes, father," Young took hold of the old man's wrinkled hand, "what can I do for you?" Senior squeezed his son's hand tightly, trembling. Young had almost forgotten how strong his father used to be, when he played with Young in his early years, flinging him up high with his forceful arms. "Before you inherit my properties, I want you to go on a one-week trip to Morocco. I hired three men to accompany you. Make good use of the time you spent there."

And that's how the trip began. The three men Young's father hired introduced themselves to him, "Hi Young, you can call me Jay. Or J for short." Another man with a large backpack held out his hand and grinned, "Just call me Q." Young shook Q's hand and turned to the last man with dreadlocks in his hair. "I'm Addy. Not Eddy. Addy with an A," he smiled. So Young, Jay, Q and Addy set off as a team to Morocco.

When Young's private jet dropped them off at the border of Morocco, Q took out a map and a compass from his enormous backpack. "We should draw the routes and estimate each of their duration. I suggest we follow the third route I drew while you were all sleeping on the plane; it's the only route that travels the most significant spots of Morocco and can bring us back within 1 week!" said Q. Young took a peek at Q's map and nodded. Jay put down his bags and took out a Polaroid camera, "So we've decided on our routes, now we can start our trip," Jay smiled and took a picture of the landscape. The four tourists moved on to their first spot.

They came to a Roman City called Volubilis where the famous Volubilis Ruins were located. Jay captured the beautiful wonder with his camera and curiously read the brief introduction of each of the remaining parts of the monument. Addy left the group and went near the bushes where the cliff was a few feet away. "AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" Addy screamed into the vastness and waited for the echoes to travel back, "WE'RE AT THE END OF THE WORLDDDDDDDD WE'RE FREEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!" Young called from a distance, "Hey Addy, what are you doing, it's dangerous there," Addy came back excitedly, announcing the interesting scenery he'd seen from the perspective on the edge of the cliff, "I can't believe they don't build anything down there; the land is huge!" Q took out his map again and informed the others, "Yea, Addy, who cares about what they do with the lands here. Let's move on to our next spot before our deadline."

Two days were all it took to arrive at Midelt. It was a land full of rich resources such as lead, gypsum and other minerals. Young's father had a proposal of building transportation along the area. "That's the town, and that's the plains," Q pointed at different directions, according to the map he'd been burying his nose in. "The snow on the mountain tops seems like it has a hard time trying to blend in with the desert down there!" Jay took out his sketch book and started drawing lines. Q suggested they find a place to stay for the night, "I think they have hotels in town." The four young men made their way to the town where they found it difficult to express their needs to the locals due to communication barrier. Fortunately, they managed to find a decent accommodation. "We should put down the heavy bags and go explore this exotic land," Addy said as he was putting on his coat. "Better stay here until next morning in case of any accidents… What if we got kidnapped or robbed," Q yawned and laid back on his bed. "I'll go with Addy. You coming?" Jay asked Young. Young looked at Q, then at Jay and shrugged, "Why not?" The three men enjoyed their night in the Midelt town and learnt a lot about their culture. Jay took a dozen pictures with the people he met and also the bizzare food he probably would never get to try again. They went back to the hotel and found Q sleeping soundly already. "Waahoo! What a night!" Addy exclaimed.

On the fourth day, the four very different men came to one of the most magnificent cities in Morocco - Essaouira. The climate was mild and the weather was breezy. "Look! There are people surfing!" Young pointed at the beach on their left. Jay took out his camera immediately and captured the view. "It's so different from other places of Morocco," Jay said. "I think they were ruled by different countries throughout the years or something," Q flipped through his tourist-guide book. Essaouira had white-washed buildings and bright blue shutters, resembling the construction styles of Pin Mykonos Harbor Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. They settled down at a beautiful hotel room whose balcony descried the entire landscape of Essaouira. "With a nice weather like that, I just want to take a nap," Q said while he was unpacking. "I'm tired too," Young stretched. Jay made himself a cup of tea and went over to the balcony where he started drawing, taking pictures and writing his travel journal. The artistic young man was completely mesmerized in the scenery that he didn't want to be disturbed by anything less important than that. While everyone was doing his own thing, Addy left a note on the teapoy. After that, he brought along his belongings and left the hotel room.

When Jay finished his art and when Young and Q woke up, they looked for Addy everywhere. At dawn, they went back to the hotel room and patiently waited for the police department's news. "Hey look, Addy left a note," Young picked up the tiny piece of paper that said, "Don't come looking for me, I shall stay here a bit longer. Go on to your next spot! Don't worry about my safety, I do this a lot." It ended with a smiley face that Addy drew. So the three of them spent the rest of their day relieved. Apart from the food in Essaouira, the souvenirs and handmade crafts also had their undeniable charm. Jay was captivated by the detailed sewing patterns of the carpets and couldn't resist buying the expensive decoration for his apartment back in his home country. "I kind of miss Addy," Young sighed, "We've never had dinner without him and his amazing life stories." Q nodded and added, "Nothing personal, I miss him too, but a man like him could really mess up our trip," Q continued, "What do you think your father meant to send us away for? Definitely not to get lost." Jay looked up from the meal he was eating and said, "Whatever purpose he has, while we're here, we should enjoy the trip and learn about the cultures of Moroccans." Young nodded slowly as if he agreed with both of his friends.

The next day, these three men came to their last travelling spot, Rabat. It was a developing city and it was the capital of Morocco. Rabat means "fortified place". In 1146, the Almohad ruler Abd al-Mu'min turned Rabat's ribat into a full scale fortress to use as a launching point for attacks on Iberia. Q made a phone call at the station to confirm their hotel check-in. "Uh-oh we got a problem," Q turned to Young and Jay after hanging up, "One of the airlines was delayed, so some of the tourists have to stay at the hotel for a longer while, and now the rooms are all full…" Young and Jay looked surprised, "So you mean we have nowhere to stay?" Young asked nervously. Jay told Young to contact his family and see if his mother could help them out, but he couldn't get in touch with his family. Just as they were panicking, Addy showed up. "HEY I FOUND YOU," he gave each of them a big hug. "What happened to your elbow?" Asked Jay. "I rode a camel and fell off. Didn't break my bones, no big deal," explained Addy, "what are you doing here?" Young told him the situation they were facing. Addy had an idea, "While I was travelling Essaouira alone, I met this event planner. He said he was going to Rabat in a few days because there was a big event to plan for at the Palais Royal Dar al Makhzen… Maybe we can…" "No way…" Jay interrupted. Young smirked, "Addy, let's do that."

So that was how the four young men pretended to be the Moroccan Royal Family's event planner recklessly. They managed to fool the simple-hearted officials that they came a bit early and earned a chance to stay at the majestic palace in Rabat. Incredibly, the amiable nobles even dined with the four and treated them like special guests. They had a great time talking and enjoying the entertainments provided - music and plays and magic performances. After supper, everyone was tired. Q sat aside and took out his planning book, writing a timetable for their remaining days in Morocco. Addy made a lot of friends in the palace because he learnt some basic Arabic dialogues during his one-man trip. Jay impressed the royals with the pictures he took and the pictures he drew along the way. Young had fun listening to the history of development of Morocco told by the greatest person he has ever met.

In the morning, Young, Jay, Addy and Q tried to think of a way to leave the palace. "Let's just be honest with them," Young said. One of the nobles came and asked them if they'd had a sound sleep the previous night. Without hesitation, Young bursted out, "We're not event planners." The other three looked at him in shock. The noble smiled and nodded, "Yes, young man, we figured out before dinner last night. We happened to find out about your background too, so we decided to let you stay." Young laughed with relief and embarrassment. The noble continued, "Your father is a great man. We all heard about his achievements."

At noon, Jay, Q and Young packed their bags and were ready to say farewell to this amazing place. "Addy, why haven't you packed?" Young asked with confusion. Addy told them that in fact the King was looking for an English teacher for his elder son. So he made Addy stay and be the tutor for a period of time. "I'll be fine here. Go on without me," Addy reassured his three friends. They said their goodbyes unwillingly. "Be careful or else it wouldn't be just a small injury in your elbow!" Jay reminded Addy. To which Addy replied, "It's all worth it, pal, it's all worth it." Q dried his eyes and adjusted his voice, "Ahem, we should go back now. Young, your father is waiting."

Three buddies went back to their home country after the one-week trip. Unfortunately, Young's father, Senior Reeders passed away before they returned. "Sorry for your loss," Q patted Young's shoulder, "at least we came back in a week and finished what your father told you to do." Young returned Q's console with a pat on his shoulder. Jay turned to Young and said, "Sorry for your loss, pal," he continued, "at least we got to see the beautiful things in another country and learned a lot about another culture. Your old man would be proud of you."

After attending his father's funeral, Young's mother told him that his father had left him a short letter. He took hold of the envelop his mother handed him. "To Young Reeders" - his father's handwriting.

Young opened it and read it without skipping a single word:

Dear Young Reeders,

I hope you have learnt a lot from your trip and from the three people I sent as your companions. Before inheriting all of my properties, I would like to let you see that there are three different ways to live your life.

These three people are very special, and I had not introduced them to you in a proper manner before your trip. It was their nicknames you've been calling, and their real names are actually "Quest", "Journey" and "Adventure". As you can see, my son, Quest sees the trip as a task to accomplish. Living your life as a quest will definitely bring you to your destination. Journey, on the other hand, values the trip more than the destination. He is the kind of person that can see the subtle beauty of everyday life. Adventure, who is very different from the other two men, went on a trip without a destination. He is the person that takes the biggest risks. You may get hurt in an adventure, son, but the things you discover are always far more interesting than in any other trips.

Dear Young Reeders, please take a minute and think for yourself - How would you want to live your life?

Love,
Your Father




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