Cultural Love Affair
It was a feeling so strong it changed my life. I’d fallen in love like never before. I’d always been attracted to a desirable lifestyle, interesting culture, and delicious cuisine. A shared love of music was a definite plus. Amazing style and beauty were added bonuses. Yes, Morocco captured my heart.
In fact, by day four of my 17-day Moroccan vacation, I knew I was coming back. I didn’t know how long I’d stay. Or what I’d do.
But I’d figure it out.
Let the journey begin!
So I gave myself six months to quit my job, sell my stuff, take care of financial responsibilities and move out of my downtown apartment filled with amazing memories. I wasn’t having a quarter-life crisis. No bad break-ups. Or running from problems.
You’re doing what?
Yep, that’s right. I gave up a well-compensated, public-sector job with benefits, Monday to Friday hours, and more. People worked all their lives to have these jobs I was told. In fact, someone once told me, “you don’t realize how lucky you are.” All to move to Morocco.
Well the answer is simple.
I didn’t have the passion anymore. And when you no longer have that feeling, the desire, the motivation, it’s time to move on.
Even in the height of a recession.
So I moved to Morocco. A developing country. Three bags (two of which were lost for the few days). No job. Only a few friends. And no idea what laid ahead. A true adventure. One that continues to amaze and excite me daily, one year later.
But things work out. I met new people. I found inspiration. I wanted this adventure to last so badly, I was willing to do whatever it took. And it paid off. So much so that now I couldn’t be happier.
In fact, I’ve landed what I call “dream job.”
Each morning I hop on my scooter, follow the palm trees lining the wide boulevards with the snow-capped Atlas Mountains providing a stunning backdrop to the old Marrakech medina. Once inside the hustle and bustle of the old city, I pass locals enjoying a traditional lentil soup for breakfast, and women preparing m’simen. The donkey pulling a cart of fresh chickens stops at the butcher shop creates a traffic jam.
Then from my dimly-lit office in the old Marrakech medina, I manage a collection of four riads (guest houses). And I get to share my love of Marrakech with interesting guests.
In fact, I sometimes feel like I work in another world. Another era. One that is filled with donkeys pulling carts full of fresh produce. A place where children run freely through the narrow alleyways. And walk to and from school each day. Where the man in the corner store knows you and remembers you from the day before. A place that is filled with the sounds of the call to prayer from one of the several mosques, five times per day. Where the smell of the bread baking in the community bread oven fills the streets. And artists work freely crafting amazing leather, baskets, furniture, and more before your eyes.
Then, glass of Moroccan wine in hand, evenings are often spent watching the sun set over the old Marrakech medina as I think to myself, my life is perfect.
“What have I done with my life?”
Sure life here has its ups and downs. There were days I wanted to stand on the rooftop terrace and shout out this exact phrase for anyone to answer. Days where suddenly things look better in the rearview mirror.
Giving up has never been an option. After all, regardless of where we live, we’ll experience certain feelings and emotions. The trick is to find the city where you’re most happy to deal and live with these challenges.
For me, that’s Marrakech. A city filled with creativity, inspiration, opportunity and beauty.
This was a risk I was willing to take and with a little hard work and determination, I’ve dealt with some challenging moments. But I’ve also met some amazing people along the way. Heard some interesting stories. And discovered new interests and talents. For the most part, I often think to myself that I’m the luckiest girl on earth!
Yep, I’ve found my place.
And so I stay. Intrigued by what may be around the corner.