Slowing down in Morocco

Driving through the countryside of Morocco, I at one time pointed outside and asked Younes if those people wouldn’t want to live in Europe. I honestly couldn’t imagine it. Living in and with nature looked so peaceful and quiet. This in contrary to rushing through it, arrive somewhere and do something.

For me Morocco is the ultimate place to come at ease, to clear my head and become one with myself again. Not in a luxury riad or on a yoga retreat, but just by hiking through the hinterland. I don’t use any make-up, don’t wash my hair every day and wear an outfit simular to pyjamas. Nobody notices it or cares. I don’t make any plans, because in the end things usually tend to go their own way anyway. It’s no use holding on tightly to something. Letting things go is the travel philosophy.

Take your time to travel. A grand taxi only drives from one place to another if there are enough people travelling in the same direction. It is possible to seat 6 people in a car (2 in front, 4 in the back), so sometimes this can take a couple of hours. Sleeping happens on the sofa’s in the living-room, in the same cloths we wear during the day. Pretty easy. In our culture asking questions is a way of showing interest, whereas in Morocco it is unappropriate to do so. It is very much okay and not awkward to sit next to each other in silence for a couple of minutes.

There is always a way dealing with the most basic needs. As the priorities for a sleeping place aren’t high, it’s not difficult to find one. The sofa’s are big and people are always willing to give up a piece of the sofa. At one time we got out of a taxi in Paradise Valley and saw the taxi and our tent slowly disappear in the distance. We met Rashid who managed a small restaurant and offered us to stay at his home. Away from the tourists along a small stream with date trees, we slept in a little house that actually consisted of only one bed and no electricity. He didn’t mind sleeping in the restaurant, and made us some roasted sardines above the campfire.

It’s during those moments that I realize again which things are essential to me: enjoying a meal together, the beautiful nature, the peacefulness and the unexpected experiences. Back at home, before I’m even aware of it, this list easily expands again: I have to achieve better in my work, I need new sandles (it’s sale), a dinner in that new restaurant, a tight body, etcetera. Morocco has taught me to look at these things with a wink. All that glitters is not gold.