Photography - New Mexico and Worldwide


Travel in Real Life

On my journey from New Mexico to Morocco things did not go as planned. My flight from New Mexico to Los Angeles was fine and easy but once I got to Los Angeles things started to get a bit complicated. My flight from Los Angeles to Barcelona was delayed by 2 hours and when we finally did take off I ended up getting quite air sick along the way. 

Once I landed in Barcelona, I realized that I was most certainly going to miss my flight to Casablanca. I cried. After being sure I was going to sleep in the airport that night I was told I had accommodation at a nearby hotel. I took off out of that airport so fast. It was after midnight and I had already been there for 6 hours. I made it to the hotel to find they had emailed me along the way and changed hotels so I had to take another taxi to another hotel. Once I finally made it to the 2nd hotel I was told there was no reservation made for me. I cried again. I was so tired and worn out and just wondering what it was all for and why do I do this? I felt defeated. 


I decided to just pay for the room myself and figure it out later. It was after 2am and I had to be back at the airport before 10am the next day. I got into my room and was able to take a hot shower and crawl into the bed and those few hours of sleep went so quickly, I don’t remember ever feeling so tired before. 

I made it back to the airport and got some coffee and breakfast and finally made it to my destination after almost 2 days of travel. It was not how I had hoped to arrive, but I arrived nonetheless. 

Now I don’t share all of this to evoke sympathy but to simply say a couple things about travel.

  1. It is the most challenging and the most rewarding thing I have ever done and will ever do with my life. 
  2. It gets difficult at times and things rarely work out how we plan. 
  3. It is okay to ask for help from anyone. From Everyone. Even if we are traveling alone that does not mean we are entirely alone and have to do everything that way.
  4. It is okay to cry. My strength is not dependent on whether or not I cry when I am sad, mad, frustrated or just plain tired. 
  5. When things don’t work out remember this story…. a friend of mine told me this a while back and it has really stuck with me.

"One day a farmer's horse runs away. And his neighbor comes over and says, to commiserate, “I’m so sorry about your horse.” And the farmer says “Who Knows What’s Good or Bad?” The neighbor is confused because this is clearly terrible. The horse is the most valuable thing he owns.

But the horse comes back the next day and he brings with him 12 feral horses. The neighbor comes back over to celebrate, “Congratulations on your great fortune!” And the farmer replies again: “Who Knows What’s Good or Bad?”

And the next day the farmer’s son is taming one of the wild horses and he’s thrown and breaks his leg. The neighbor comes back over, “I’m so sorry about your son.” The farmer repeats: “Who Knows What’s Good or Bad?”

Sure enough, the next day the army comes through their village and is conscripting able-bodied young men to go and fight in war, but the son is spared because of his broken leg. 

Transcript from David Allen

 Flying into Casablanca over Mosque Hassan II

Flying into Casablanca over Mosque Hassan II

Courtney Black
Packing is...

Packing can be a bitch, ammirite? I sometimes overpack and sometimes underpack (who knew that was a thing?) As my countdown really begins for my trip tomorrow, I thought I would share what I am taking on my trip and how I am packing it.

I by no means think I am an expert but I have traveled a bit in my life and this trip I really wanted to keep things simple and practical. I am planning on being gone for about 2 months and will be starting my adventures in Morocco for about 3.5 weeks. After that I am traveling to Tunisia and then on to Portugal. The weather is going to be fairly mild however I will be going into the Sahara which can be warm/hot during the day but pretty chilly at night. I will also end up in the Atlas mountains for a night or two in Morocco so I opted to bring a sleeping bag with me. 

All of those things absolutely had to fit into my Osprey backpack. I also didn't want to go full rugged because lets be real here I tried that when I went to India and ended up spending like $200 on makeup and clothes simply because they are creature comforts and everyone has their own things they need to feel comfortable.


What I did, opt to do however, is stick to some neutral colors and add a pop of color here and there. So I have 4 pairs of pants, all different - black, dark jeans, lighter jeans and a olive pair of pants. I took one dress because after adventuring for a while I am gonna want to dress up, throw on some makeup and feel good about myself. I took 4 pairs of shoes although you only see 3 in the photo. I am wearing my black puma runners on the plane. I got them at costco and they are amazing and so comfortable and they don't look ridiculous either. I am also taking my grey chucks, 1 pair of coral ballet flats and black strappy sandals. I also have my bathing suit, some thermals that I can wear for PJs as well, a reversible belt, a couple of scarves and undershirts, socks, underwear and a couple bras. I also have 2 jacket type things - a yellow cardigan and a blue jean button down top that is pretty versatile as well. Of course I have plenty of short sleeved and long sleeved shirts in there but you can see that they are mostly black, white, grey or blue colors. This means I can mix and match almost everything I have to make entirely new looking outfits. Layers is key!

You can see I have my toiletries and feminine products and medications and supplements there as well. What I take in that regard would require an entirely new post so if you are curious as to what I use or take or how I pack that just send me a message and I am happy to share.


Now this is allllllll of my equipment and gear and tools and hard drives and cords and backup hard drives and backup cords I am going to need for the trip as well. Backup pair of glasses cause I am blind as hell. Batteries, chargers, powerbank, converters, card readers, back up card readers, memory cards galore, cameras, lenses, a travel pillow and there is a waterproof satchel for my phone AND a waterproof bag over on the right there. I place my hard drives and memory cards in there when traveling. 

AND ULTIMATELY... After putting everything together, crying a bit, sweating a bit....

There is my life for the next 2 months! 


Now I am ready, haha, hopefully I can make it without buying too much unnecessary stuff along the way. 

Courtney Black

“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, It’s lethal.” - Paulo Coelho

I don’t know if I’ve ever had a calm heart or spirit. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a longing for travel and adventure. I’ve lost count of how many planes I’ve been on and how many times I’ve moved in my life. Sometimes 6 different places in the same city in less than 2 years. I need change and I need to keep moving and growing. 

This is one of the many things my dad and I had in common. He was my person. He just got me better than anyone else. He understood me, probably because we were so similar. He fed into my dreams and goals. He never told me once that I couldn’t accomplish something. He was always pushing me to think bigger and go farther. He was my biggest fan. 

He died last year. Leaving this gaping hole in my heart. 

When I was trying to decide where I wanted and needed to travel to next, I knew I needed to choose a place that would not only feed my soul but also heal it. 


Morocco has always been one of my top dream destinations to visit and growing up my dad tried and tried again to get me there, to no avail.

I remember going to Gibraltar with my family and my dad pointed me towards Morocco and said, “There it is. Look at it. This is as close as I am able to get you right now.” 

He knew that even if he couldn’t take me that I would make it there one day.

It’s hard to believe that in less than 3 weeks I will be there. It’s painful to think that I won’t be able to tell him about it, show him the pictures or share my excitement and joy with him.

My dad always knew that adventure and exploration was ingrained in me. He always knew that routine would never work for me and he always knew what I was capable of, even if I didn’t.

Courtney Black
The Beauty of the Bosque del Apache

I was born here in beautiful and unique Albuquerque, New Mexico. I moved away when I was 9 and I don't remember traveling around New Mexico much when my family did live here. I wasn't in public school long enough to take advantage of the school field trips. Because of this I think I didn't have a true appreciation of the beauty around New Mexico. While there are still many places to explore, one of the most gorgeous experiences I have had to date in New Mexico is the Migration of the Cranes in Bosque del Apache. A friend of mine insisted we go and of course make a quick pit stop at the original Owl Cafe for a New Mexico classic Green Chile Cheeseburger, (An absolute must do for any native or out of towner.) 

 Sunset at Bosque del Apache ©CocoBetty

Sunset at Bosque del Apache ©CocoBetty


Bosque del Apache is a National wildlife and waterfowl refuge and a common field trip destination for schools in and around the Albuquerque area. It provides a critical stopover for migrating geese and cranes. Peak migration times are around November.


Needless to say, adventure and beauty can always be found, even in your own back yard!

If you're in the area be sure to check out the Bosque del Apache. You won't be disappointed. 

Courtney Black
Travel is...

What is travel to you? Is it a luxury? Is it a way to escape? Is it a search for oneself? Is it essential to your existence?

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain

My family moved to Israel when I was 9 years old but that was not my first introduction to travel as a child. I remember traveling to California for Disneyland and up through to San Francisco and Monterey. I, of course, being a chocolate fiend at only about 4-5 years old, I NEEDED to see where they make chocolate; The Ghirardelli Chocolate factory. I remember getting on the trolley in San Francisco and feeling the exhilaration and freedom of it. I also remember the security of my father's arms around me as he made sure I didn't fall off leaning too far over the side as my adrenaline junkie ways were already starting to develop in me even at such a young age.

I remember taking trips to New Orleans with my family and to Texas and Oklahoma. I remember watching my parents go on international trips, while my sister and I would go off to camp or to stay with relatives. 

You see, travel & adventure were always a part of my life and was ingrained in me from a very young age. I grew up longing for the next plane ride to some mysterious land. Travel is a part of who I am at the deepest core of my very being. It's not just a luxury or a vacation (although I'm not opposed to treating some trips as such).

Travel is my way of seeing life through the eyes of every single person I meet. I experience their life and culture and their history and their cuisine. I want to understand them as best as I can as a white female from the western world. I want to look past my privilege and really see the world for what it is and not what the media, the government or even my fellow peers tell me it is. It is essential to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone. It is crucial we learn to look beyond ourselves and what we think we understand of this world.

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."

 Crane Migration, Fall 2017, Bosque del Apache, New Mexico ©CocoBetty

Crane Migration, Fall 2017, Bosque del Apache, New Mexico ©CocoBetty




Courtney Black
This is Me

Life is a funny and weird adventure. It takes us down paths that we could not see coming even from a simple stone's throw away.

This travel blog and written side to my life is something that I should have started a decade or more ago, alas it was not meant to happen that way. This is something that I will be able to continue to share with you, for those of you who may read this. I have a way of keeping my life to myself and only allowing glimpses inside as I see fit but hopefully this will be a way of being more open and vulnerable about who I am and not only the adventures but also the reality and struggles to get there and of course along with some amazing photographs of my journey.

My name is Courtney and this is my life and my story and the story of those I encounter. 

Courtney Black