Travel State of Mind: Marrakech, Morocco

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In the past 15 days I’ve been to Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma.  I wasn’t visiting anything or anyone, in particular.  One day, I just decided to get in my car and drive.  I’m not working right now and I hate sitting still so it seemed like the logical thing to do.  I grew up as an only child and now as an adult, I live alone, but I always have this feeling of needing to “get away to be by myself.”  I believe that’s why I’m so obsessed with traveling.  I want to create memories in different places, while I have no other obligations or responsibilities.  Plus I figure I better do it while I can and do it for all those who can’t.  As I was driving through the mountains I began to feel sorry, sorry for people who don’t travel (I realize there are people who can’t travel…I’m talking about those who are able-bodied and chose not to).  The world is a beautiful place and I consider myself blessed to be able to participate in God’s creations, in the United States and beyond.

In January, I spent eight days in Marrakech, Morocco with an amazing group of women.  Each day I woke up, walked outside, looked at my surroundings and marveled at being able to experience a piece of Africa.  Morocco is breathtakingly beauty.  The food is amazing and the people are both beautiful and welcoming. While in Morocco, I learned Arabic.  I learned that some Moroccan people considered themselves to be related to me (as brother and sister) because we are both descendants of Africa, while some didn’t consider themselves African at all.  I learned the history of Islam and women.  I learned that I love falafel and it’s now one of my favorite foods.  I learned that no where in America does the tea taste like the tea in Morocco.  I learned (and watched) how real argan oil is made.  I learned a lot more and even though I could have learned these things online, reading a book or asking someone stateside, it was so much better learning, while in Morocco.

I encourage you to take some time to travel.  There’s so much that exist outside of your block, neighborhood, city, state and country.  Start a travel budget,  join a travel club, find a travel agent, join airline and hotel clubs so you know when they’re having a sale, research and read about places you want to go (I promise this will get you excited about wanting to visit the place in person).  Do whatever it takes to get on the road to somewhere different.  If you have children, allow them to see the world through their eyes, not yours.  Turn their travel into an educational experience.  When my god-daughter was seven years old I took her to London and Paris.  When we returned she had to write a report on her experience in both places and present it to her class, at school.  Travel has been ingrained in her and now at 15 years old she has her own list of places she wants to visit (which explains why she and I are going to Hawaii, in July).  The experiences she gains from traveling, she will carry with her forever.

So get ready for some awesome adventures.  You’re sure to meet some amazing people, eat some great food and learn something new.

Here are a few photos capturing parts of my Moroccan adventure.

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Goats in a tree. They eat the argon nut and poop it out. This is the beginning of 1 of the processes used to make argon oil

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The Medina

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The Medina

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Moroccan Children

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At the Yves Saint Laurent Garden

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My attempt at opening an argan nut, with the ladies who work at the co-op that produces argan oil

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Essaouira, Morocco

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Fabric produced in Morocco.  This guy is making the fabric, using a threading machine

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A sunset in the Sahara Desert

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I drive cars and ride camels too

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Sahara Desert tour guide

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Male host group, at the villa where I stayed

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Hanging with a local, in Essaouira, Morocco.  Hanging with the locals is a great way to explore a new place.

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After 17 hours of travel (5 hour layover in Madrid, Spain) we finally arrived in Morocco

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Marrakech airport

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The Peacock Pavilion – the villa where our group stayed

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