I heard somewhere that if you do ordinary things, you’ll have ordinary stories. But what does it mean to be “extraordinary”? Is it breaking out of your comfort zone and going further than you’ve ever dreamed of going? Eventually, all of those places you’ve ever dreamt above become the ground below your feet, and suddenly there’s no place you can’t go.
I travel because it opens up my world. It changes my perspective, and I go to new places like a sponge, soaking in my surroundings and learning all that I can…
Choosing Morocco as my next travel destination was spontaneous and exciting. When I texted photographer, Chris Delorenzo (who I went to the Maldives with last summer), we literally had the whole world to choose from. But out of the many possibilities, there was always something about Morocco that intrigued me. Thoughts of Arabian Nights, Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, colorful rugs, camels trekking through the desert… the recent news about the massive and perfect swell that came to Taghazout… all of it came together in my mind that made Morocco the perfect destination to escape to for a little bit. So we booked our tickets, unsure where this journey would lead us, but excited in the pursuit of adventure.
The first half of our journey was spent road tripping from Marrakesh through the Atlas Mountains, all the way to the Merzouga dunes, close to Algeria’s border. We covered more than 800 miles of terrain by car, and in my opinion, there’s no better way to see a country. Every moment of the trip was a new experience; some kind of lesson on life and culture. For instance, getting to see Berbere nomads walking their goats through the desert, or learning some Arabic words, like “kayf halik”, how are you. Also, getting to put my four years of French studies to use was a lot of fun. It really made me appreciate the value of language, especially in the more rural areas where most interactions we had with the locals weren’t in English. It was an amazing experience, but I was eager to find my way to the ocean.
This story begins here, in Taghazout, Morocco. A coastal, surf-city south of Agadir.
Imagine waking up with the sunrise, light peeking through white curtains, with the distant sound of waves in the background. I’d get out of bed, slip on a swimsuit and wake up by stretching out on the balcony in a state of peace and with an eagerness to start a new day.
Despite the hotels and ongoing projects for more tourism, most of Taghazout is local and undeveloped, and I’m glad that I was able to visit in a time where I could still experience the landscape in all its natural beauty.
Most of the coastline is untouched by human influence, mainly because of the cliffs and sand dunes right above the ocean that make it difficult to maneuver down to the beach. Most of the surf spots have a parking lot right off the main road, but the more low-key places require four-wheel drive and a bit of bumping around through fields of wildflowers and sand dunes.
The Taghazout experience consisted mainly of searching for waves; driving the scenic coastline and stopping wherever we wanted. It was fun to get off the paved road to reach places few people have gone before.
After spending the day in the ocean, we’d go for a stroll in the local village marketplace to grab something to eat, take in the scenery, and do a little souvenir shopping.
I love fruit stands, and it’s always interesting to me how each fruit stand is different when you travel to different countries. In Morocco, the main items frequenting fruit stands were mini bananas, oranges, and dates. They even had fresh orange juice that they’d squeeze on the spot, and sprinkle orange slices with a bit of cinnamon.
For me, travel is about the journey, not the destination. It was those long hours in the car, laughing and singing to Luke Bryan and Arabic music with Chris and Dustin, and our two guides. It was meeting new people along the way, from learning dance moves with children in the High Atlas villages, stopping to watch soccer games on the side of the road, and enjoying the novelty of using sugar cubes for mint tea. It was staying out to look up at the night sky and to feel small in the best way possible. Feeling like tourists, but trying to blend in. It was all a blur of new tastes, sounds, and feelings. And for me, there’s no better way to become inspired, and that’s what traveling is all about.