I was changed, as a traveler.
By the time this edition of Throwback Travel Diary is published, I’ll be cruising along somewhere in Tunisia. That’s probably why it made me think of the last time I was in northern Africa. A two-week road trip with my Parisian-Moroccan friends still tops as one of my favorite travels of all-time. I was changed, as a traveler.
The French love to visit Morocco, and I could see why. During the first week, we visited my friend’s hometown of Kenitra where we partied, danced (to Michael Jackson since he had just died two weeks prior,) surfed, ate coucous made by tatas (aunties,) bargained at local night markets and laughed until we cried. Every night.
During the second week, a few friends and I rented a car and we went from Casablanca to Marrakech, with stops at a few tiny villages in between. Then from Ouarzazate to the Sahara Desert, with a few more tiny villages in between. The whole time, I was the only American, let alone, the only Asian. The whole time, spoiled by so much newness and kindness.
I may no longer speak to friends I went on this trip with – because life happens and friendships sometimes end – but this trip opened my eyes to a whole new world. It wasn’t my first time in northern Africa, it wasn’t the first time I was in an Arabic-speaking country. But it was the first time I felt myself being changed by authenticity and hospitality: to be more patient, open, tolerant and to live in the moment.
It was the first time I felt I was changed for the better. Forever.
I haven’t been back to Morocco since then and I’ve avoided doing so for the fear that these memories will be replaced by new ones.
And I still can’t let go…