Updated: Sep 30, 2019
MARRAKECH: MEANINGFUL COINCIDENCES
42° two days running here. It's HOT in Marrakesh. I’m uncertain as to why I thrive in this extreme, dry heat. Many seek the shade, but not me! I’m out and about with my camera, looking for the small moments to melt my heart to make my spirit dance. The soul of this country keeps calling me back, which leaves me wondering, what if I'd ignored all those meaningful coincidences that lined up to get me here, beginning with my father's stories, about this ancient land.
I was barely ten when my father read me fascinating stories; from old, leather covered books about the great Arabian horses fancifully decorated with elaborate, leather saddles and ridden by handsome, dark-colored men, robed in white costumes across the Sahara; their horses coming to an abrupt stop and gunfire announcing their arrival. He read to me about exotic women in beaded costumes, with dark eyes, their faces half-covered, and a mystifying dance - called the belly-dance. He talked about a burning heat, desert stars, and a silence more serene than music: and date palms and kasbahs too.
My daughter visited Morocco with friends before me. On her return, she said, "Mum you must go." A torn meniscus in Dubrovnik, keeping me there for an extended period, seemed such an inconvenience until the least-most-likely person there gave me the gift of a Morocco travel book, aiming to distract my frustrations. He had no idea of my burning love affair with the idea of Morocco, yet conveniently, this book was one of just a few books available in English in the Dubrovnik bookstore for him to buy!
I feared Morocco might not be a safe place for a single woman to travel. But the universe found a way to still my fears when a young, exotic man of Moroccan birth came into my life with the force of a hurricane. I imagined our meeting was yet another meaningful coincidence to calm my fears, and so we traveled there together! When the hurricane passed, I discovered a deeper, more satisfying love traveling to Morocco as a solo woman. There, I would discover the adventures of Gertrude Bell who travelled this country alone, on camel, mapping and negotiating with the tribes, only escorted with her entourage of guides and interpreters at a time when women were deemed resourceful and merely pretty things at parties - and I fell in love with her solo woman tenacity.
I've now visited Morocco every year for six years. Each year, I add to the 12,500 kilometers I’ve already traveled across this striking expanse of unimaginable images offering unexpected, unique moments. The majesty of the High Atlas consistently takes my breath away. The theatre of Sahara sunsets makes me want to linger in my front row seat forever. The frenetic pace of the Imperial cities; getting lost in ancient Medinas; the crash of the wild Atlantic against the white-washed walls of Old Mogador (Essaouira) make my heart race, reminding me I'm alive and life is to be lived. There is just so much of the extraordinary and exceptional in this country that you won’t find anywhere else.
I love Morocco's commitment to authenticity - linked to an ancient culture, the world’s oldest cuisine - typically a mix of Berber, Arabic, Andalusian, and Mediterranean cuisines with slight European and sub-Saharan influences; and exotic and religious colorful traditions, as much as I love the collision of old and modern, loud and soft. I love both motorbike and horse-and-carriage. I adore the garden perfumes and everywhere I look the vibrant and muted colors are equally exquisite. This country's capacity to develop, at breathtaking speed, is both staggering, and an accolade to its King and gentle people.
It’s currently Ramadan; therefore, it's quiet on the streets, in the Medinas, and in hotel lobbies and restaurants too. Some say Morocco’s soul disappears at this holy time; and though the energy of Morocco certainly slows - between sunrise and sunset - I feel this gentler pace, created by a retreat to redefine, redirect sense of self, sense of direction, and connectedness to one another is rather refreshing and humbling. The regularity of the Call to Prayer, is for me, a reminder to slow, hear my breath and feel my feet touch the earth of this formidable, warm, hospitable land.
I love that social media platforms enable me an opportunity to share my blessed experiences with my followers and that in my posts they might find the missing meaningful coincidences to open a door to Morocco themselves.
On the roads I've traveled so far, I've learned that it is in the detours you are prepared to take along the way that you will find blessings in the least likely people you'll meet, and that in the most unexpected of experiences you'll find keys to unlock doors of a life, already written for you.
I’m often asked why I choose to travel to Morocco so often. The answer is, more likely, Morocco chooses me, when I am ready.
When I am in Morocco I exclusively travel with Luxury Tours Morocco. They are the perfect choice to have your solo woman experience designed especially for you.
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