I’m on the plane heading back to the States and people keep asking me how I’m “feeling.” Here’s how I’m feeling –

Unattractive – I have five mosquito bites on my face – from camping “sans tent” for a couple days. Fortunately, there has been a lot of rain in Morocco but that means the mosquito population was quite high and those suckers are big and noisy when buzzing in your ear. Hoping they are Malaria-free.

Skinny – I’m about two sizes smaller and for those of you who know me, that isn’t necessarily a good thing. My tight jeans are hanging on me and my torso and arms are “mini.” Not that I haven’t loved the food… but I’ve been host to a happy little parasite that has been doing a number on me since January, but he seems to have found some friends on Day 1 of the Rally and they have set up quite a little party. I hear I am not the only one, but I have been dealing with bad night sweats and sprinting to the nearest bushes on unexpected occasions. And then there was the incident where I burned the end of my tongue so badly on Day 2 that eating really wasn’t much of an option until Day 6.

Pissed Off – Pardon the expression, but I’m a goal setter and highly intense and knowing we didn’t reach a reasonable goal of top ten has me a bit seething. It must be hormones, as I normally am one to brush things off, take things in stride and find the lessons in it all. But then again, those things happen once I reach the goal. We were so close to it. I hate the adage “almost but not quite.” I was okay on the trip after our major setback on Day 1 and a couple other frustrations….but looking back and examining the scores…It is a tough pill to swallow.

Humbled – “See Pissed Off”

Hopeful – Knowing it was Year 2 and the Rally is such a unique format that requires more than a race for speed, I realize we can win this event. The top competitors are world class in their navigation skills and given our level on that front, continued dedication to the finer points of the art is key to a win. I LOVE driving off-road…Love it, love it, love it. But I will work to also become the best possible navigator I can be – to help support the co-driver/navigator.

Thankful – For a blessed, happy life, for great family and friends, for supportive sponsors, great race organizers, for endless opportunities and for our safety throughout our trip. We were surrounded once by about 30 angry youth and for a long moment it was intense as I tried to drive through the mob around the car. We have so much in life and in so many of the villages we passed through, we saw harsh poverty. But for the most part, we saw incredible happiness on the faces of the people and children. Despite many improvement projects we saw throughout Morocco, not much has changed. The children still want d’leau – un stylo – water and a pencil.  What do I want?  Water and some sleep.