In my last post, I mentioned a new trip. Today, I am excited to tell you that I am off to explore Morocco!
Morocco is a country I have wanted to visit for years. I first developed an awareness of all things Moroccan when I tried a DIY Moroccan tagine kit from Lidl (!). Not genuine Moroccan food, no - but the general idea of it captivated me. Fruits with meat? Woah! It looks as good as it tastes. Moroccan food has a real sense of achievment too it also: leaving fruity, meaty stews to bide and marinate for as long as you can possible bear. The reward: deliciously hearty food, offset with a harmonious blanket of cous cous. Moroccan food really paints a vivid picture with flavour. Oh yes.
I've nagged many friends and boyfriends to go with me for years, but none of them saw the appeal like I did. Lately, I decided to bite the bullet and go by myself!
Solo travel is both awesome and terrifying. I've visited foreign countries on my own before, but the idea of going to a new, foreign land with only yourself to depend on is always daunting. The only thing that experience teaches you in solo travel, is that the more often you do it, the more reassured you are that you won't have any disasters! I haven't experienced travelling solo that much, so it's still spooky for me. As scary as it might seem, the gains you make from solo travel are absolutely worthwhile. It gives you an inner security, reassuring you that you can do what you want, anywhere, with only yourself to turn to. For anybody even slightly socially anxious (like me!) it also forces you to meet new people and throw yourself completely into the culture around you.
I will definitely a separate post about solo travel, so I'll not dish out all of my propaganda for you just yet!
So I'm pretty scared about it - I'm more scared than excited really! It might seem stupid to throw money at something so daunting, when you could be doing something that is guaranteed to be 100% chilled out and relaxing. People always say that good things happen outside of your comfort zone. It's definitely good advice to follow. I'll go with that. You should too.
So I'm going to Morocco. Starting in Marrakech, I will be travelling up to the Mediterranean Sea, crossing over the Sahara desert and the Atlas mountains. The journey will take around 2 weeks. I hope to see some inspiring and exciting things while I'm there, and I cannot wait to share it with you! Here are some of the things I have planned:
I will first be spending a few days in Marrakech. I have been incredibly loose with my plans for what to do in Marrakech, but it will definitely involve the following, in any order:
+ Admiring pretty mosaics.
+ Street Food (and throwing all hygiene instinct in the bin).
+ Smoking away in moody cafes (and throwing all health concerns in the bin).
+ Shopping, severely. I want lots of scarves and extravagant cutlery (and throwing all financial responsibility in the bin).
+ Lounging in flowery gardens (and throwing all general stresses and worries in the bin).
2) Kingdoms in the Sahara
I will be travelling through the Sahara Desert, in which there are bubbles of ancient civilisations which look so magical. A prime example is Ouarzazate. Used in many blockbuster films as the ultimate old-world environment, this is one place to get snap-happy.
3) Camping in the Desert
I may be excited about this part the most. I LOVE the stars. I'm lucky to have experienced some great stargazing-sights in my life: stars above Kilimanjaro, stars above Salar de Uyuni in South America and stars above the Himalayas. Watching stars in complete darkness is the most intense, out-of-body experience you can have. There's nothing like it in this world. Looking at something so expansive and far beyond the grasp of your imagination makes you realise how incredible our world is. I recommend star-gazing to anybody who is stressed or feeling rubbish about life. You don't have to know a thing about astronomy to appreciate it - screw all that - just watch in wonder!
4) Exploring ancient Fez
Fez is a pretty hectic, vibrant city but has a lot more ancient wonders that are clothed in modern day souks and markets. Fez is the kind of city in which, if you look hard enough and see past the obvious, you will see something fascinating and outrageously old. I can't wait to explore the secrets of this little mountain city!
5) Relaxation in the Blue Town (Chefchaouen)
Everybody I know who has travelled to Morocco has described this as one of the most beautiful, serene places in the world. Chefchaouen, known as the Blue Town, is a small town in the Moroccan mountains which has been painted every different shade of blue. The buildings are blue, the streets are blue, and most of the residents are dressed in blue. I love blue, so skipping Chefchaouen would be absolutely stupid of me! I'll be spend a few days here, being care-free, drinking jugs of mint tea and being scrubbed to within an inch of my life in a local hammam spa. Can't wait.
6) Meet the Med' (Tangier)
This is where my adventure ends: The Mediterranean Sea. Tangier is absolute madness. It is the kind of city that has attracted hippies, musicians and creatives for decades. Artists and musicians find a lot of inspiration in this noisy, crammed city - every sense is charged with information. It's where ancient Arabic and Berber traditions meet the flamboyance of southern Europe (particularly a Spanish influence!) I hope to have a quick peek at this place before I head home. It's not somewhere people like to stay for too long, as it can quickly become a headache.
There we have it!
My backpack is filled and the guidebooks are packed. Hopefully it will be one hell of an adventure! I'll be sure to tell you all about it! See you in a few weeks! Anthony