*Vlog documenting my Moroccan travels in this post. Keep reading.
Traveling is not predictable; especially NOT couchsurfing in Morocco. A weird group of people find adventure in adversity. Yet, there are also many with closeted fears and thus have never pursued adventure. What stops them?
Money is often a surface level excuse (as REAL of a problem it is.) I find the deeper issue lies in the realms of comfort zones and pure vulnerability.
In this era known as the 21st century, when was the last time you’ve legitimately felt stranded? “Problems” such as no internet, no phone, no locks to guard your valuables, and people you’re not sure you can trust? Probably not since 2000.
I understand all that, because I personally am not the world’s most ambitious risk-taker myself. My friends know that I won’t even jump in a pool if the water ain’t warm enough. Any real person would question how it is I’m even able to leave the house.
We must learn to look past the tiny hills of potential threats and let life take us by the hand.
This means chasing down the things on your lifelist and doing them, whatever the risk; hit adventure in the face.
When Things Don’t Work Out
I arrived in Marrakesh panicking because I assumed that T-Mobile’s global coverage extended to Morocco. Wrong. I got through customs and took an overpriced taxi to my couchsurfing hosts, but things played out differently than planned. It’s VERY complicated and not the point of the story.
My original plan of coming to Morocco was to go hang out with Berbers for a day and a half with some camels, but that fell through, and my hosts in Marrakesh suggested that I go and join a group tour instead that they would set me up with.
My trust began to dwindle by the hour. “Why did I take a flight here just because it was a 50€ roundtrip? I’m so scared! How did Mom even let me come here all them years ago??” Things did NOT sound sketchy at all, especially the morning of, when I did not see mobs of tourists wanting to do the same thing.
As I live adventures, I fathom the meaning of trust and wrestle through patience. I freaked out because they asked me to get in some van to bring me to my tour group, but I was the only one on the bus and the couple that was getting off said: “I’ve no idea what’s happening.” I was ready to run off, but then my tour group met us on the street.
Before I entered the van, I saw Asian and European faces and with a sigh of relief, “Alright. I can do this.” On our first rest stop I was still pretty quiet and defensive, but there were two Moroccan guys in the van that invited me to join them for breakfast.
We sat and talked, explaining my situation and asking what the itinerary was. I had no brochures or anything to tell me what was going on, and being the planner type, I was on edge. But the truth is I really didn’t need to be.
So what eventually happened?
I didn’t. Like I really didn’t. The list of worries was endless. I was afraid I wouldn’t get through customs because I didn’t have a legitimate address and just stuck the name of a random hotel down.
I wasn’t sure if I exchanged enough Euros into Dirham, I had many to spare. I was afraid my host wouldn’t pick me up at 7am to bring me to the tour group, he showed up. I was afraid it was a scam, it was legit.
I didn’t know if I could make friends with the tour group, they approached me. I wasn’t sure where I would stay once I got back, one of the guys invited me into his home. He paid for my meals and even drove me to the airport!
The plain and simple truth is this: what took place was more glorious than I could have imagined and better than I had originally planned for myself. Instead of panicking and calling it quits, when taunted, I went ahead and hit adventure in the face. I let dreams come to life.
- Cactus fruit. A nice sweet fruit sold everywhere in Morocco. The annoying part is it’s nothing but seeds with flesh on the exterior. It’s Swallowed not eaten.
- Hanging with Berbers. In addition to learning how to tie a turban, I got to play drums, drink tea, and talk with the Berbers. We were brought to this one village that doubles as a studio!Ait Ben Haddou is where they filmed scenes from Kingdom of Heaven, Gladiator, Prince of Persia etc. Check the Wikipedia link.
- Sandbathing. The two Moroccan guys that invited me for breakfast had this idea and were saying how people come to the Sahara JUST for this. I resisted for a long while. I didn’t bring any changes of clothes, I was already dirty as it was, and it was HOT! I’m in the Sahara, why in the world do you want to get buried in the sand on top of that?In a spur of the moment I went for it. It was great. It’s good for your health, and in the words of a girl from the tour “makes you feel reborn.”
- Under the stars and sunrise. It’s been 7 years since I last saw the stars so clearly. Being from New York, this is definitely something NOT to miss. Truly magnificent laying on a mattress and just looking up (so that my neck wasn’t strained.)We also woke up at 5 in the morning in order to ride back with the camels and watch the sunrise over the Sahara. Couldn’t have planned it better myself.
- Climbed atop a Sand Dune. It is NOT an easy feat. It’s literally at least 200 meters/600 feet up. Climbing straight up is not overly possible. The best option is to go off one of the sides and then just keep walking up.The only problem is that when you walk up the side, you can’t see where it ends. Each time you get to the top, there’s just a bit more of a curve. It really doesn’t help that I am out of shape person.
- Camels in the Sahara. I went to my first desert, the Sahara. And of course, I rode Camels. It was AMAZING. In my opinion, it was definitely the icing on the cake.
Are you gonna hit adventure in the face, or let it hit you?
If someone told me how my trip to Morocco was going to work out in terms of organization, I would have totally ran the other direction. I should have had many a heart attack, but now that I write my own thoughts and ideas, they follow me, especially when not trusting your feelings.
It’s interesting how whenever I write about things, as I live out my life, they only become more and more relevant. You may be saying to yourself, “Listen Fiel, there’s no way in hell I would stay with people I don’t know, and especially not in a country where I don’t speak the language!”
I’m not asking you to. Do something new. Go to a place you’ve been meaning to go to for years. Explore a big city near you, eat at a new restaurant, talk to someone you see everyday!
Don’t give adventure the right to hit you in the face. Anything can be an adventure, no matter how small.