I feel like I’ve always been attracted to the idea visiting Morocco. There’s something enticing about it’s exotic people, food, history, and culture. When the opportunity to go presented itself, with excitement I jumped in feet first.. and with just a few weeks to plan. Before embarking on my adventure it was tempting to read all about the various cities, the history, and environmental wonders but found myself wanting to have the experience with a childlike wonder and let every day unfold with surprises and excitement. To my delight, I left Morocco with a love of the land, a love of the people, and the love of a way of life.
Other than the obvious desert, coast, and mountains, I really did not know what to expect to see in the Moroccan landscape. The first thing that caught my attention was all the lush colorful plant life adorning the buildings and streets as my guide drove me from the airport. Despite the overbearing sun, burst of flirtatious and outrageously colored flowers dotted the path like small fireworks. For the entirety of my trip I continued to be impressed by the richness of plant life and the ensuing geographical diversity was a feast for my eyes and senses. The land was simply incredible.
Morocco is one of the few countries which an adventurer can find such a juxtaposition of landscapes within a single days drive and sometimes even within hours. Touring across the country by car allow me to witness the land, marked by magnificent biodiversity and a sculpted, seemingly unpredictable landscape. From the Atlas mountains to the Sahara Desert, Morocco is imbued with a range of landscapes from almost barren desert hosting scant patches of palms and jagged masses of fossil filled shoal, to soul-stirring waterfalls and massive natural landforms, to forest and crisp, winding mountain streams with abundant agriculture and foliage in-between. The ancient energy of the land, relics of history, and geographical wonders sweetly beckon the adventure like honey dripping from a hive.
One of things that touched me the most deeply about the time that I spent in Morocco was the people. While true, I was not traveling alone, I never once felt unsafe during my time there. In fact, there was a pervasive camaraderie and a genuine heartfelt goodness in how I witnessed natives interact with one another, often addressing each other as if they have known each other their whole lives and yet being complete strangers. To me, this comes from having a deep respect and value for all other people, clearly assuming the best and honoring one another as
brothers and sisters. From an outside point of view, I found it refreshing and heartwarming to see the tolerance and acceptance of every other person through treating them with reverence and kindness. Another beautiful thing about the Moroccan people is their sense of family and community. I very much saw a deep connection and a faithfulness to maintaining the integrity of the family unit through love, respect, and honor.
And, it would be impossible to talk about the Moroccan people without addressing the deep sense of work ethic and craftsmanship that is apparent nearly everywhere one looks. The shear beauty and intricacy of the architecture, the tile work, the cast work, the metal work, the leather work, the pottery, the carvings, the paintings, and the rugs, all done by hand and all speak of a people who honor giving their best and pour themselves into their craft with integrity and purpose.
In Morocco, the cuisine is fresh, local, in-season, and as close to natural as you can get, with an unadulterated agriculture system and fertile land the food is nourishing and wholesome. The souks and outdoor markets boost mounds of fresh fruits and vegetables. Almost everywhere I traveled there were trees dripping with fruit. Most notable to me, was the explosion of figs on massive trees of antiquity. During my time there I had many tangines, the national dish of Morocco. It was always mindfully prepared and slow cooked to perfection. Something I did not expect but was gleefully delighted to discover almost immediately is Moroccan’s love of fresh fruit which nearly always followed a meal and juices which available nearly everywhere.
From the sunrise over the dunes, hiking through archaic naturally formed gorges, the expansiveness of the mountains, and the renewing energy of the sea, my time spent in Morocco was nothing short of magical. I loved the sense of community, the warmth, open mindedness and acceptance of the Moroccan people. I delighted in being surrounded with beauty and history. I appreciated the care and effort that was presented to me from my meals to my accommodations and everywhere in-between. As a foreigner, I was received with kindness and generosity, such that I consider Morocco my second home and I am already planning my trip back.