From Gunpoint to Marriage Proposal: Travel in Morocco

When my best friend Louise and I decided to travel in Morocco as young backpackers, we had our shares of highs and lows on the road. One morning we took an early ferry from Tarifa, Spain, to Tangier, Morocco on a mini-bus mostly full of locals, plus a few tourists.

When we arrived in Tangier, two men with machine guns descended on our bus, shouting in Arabic and Spanish. After much confusion, and with the translation help of a six-year-old boy, we learned that we had to get off the bus, as they wanted to search everyone’s luggage.

While we stood in the blazing sun, watching our bags get thrown on the pavement, the men ordered everyone to get back on the bus. We obliged immediately, of course. It was only two minutes later we were told to get off the bus again. Amidst the mass confusion and realizing we might miss our train, Louise and I decided to grab our backpacks and make a run for it. It was easy to escape, and we disappeared into the crowd and ran about fifteen minutes to reach the train station.

After much confusion, and with the translation help of a six-year-old boy, we learned that we had to get off the bus, as the men with machine guns wanted to search everyone’s luggage.

When we finally got settled on the train to Fez and got over our feelings of panic, we struck up a conversation with a local man sitting next to us. He asked us where we were going and where we planned to stay. Being true backpackers, we didn’t plan where we’d stay until we arrived at our destination and had had a chance to look around. He was a primary school teacher who was traveling with a mother and her two children; both kids were in his class.

After an amusing conversation in English, my broken French and Arabic, the teacher said that the mother had graciously offered for us to stay with their family while we were in Fez. We happily accepted. I’m grateful for the kindness of strangers. I’ve lost count of the amount of times on my travels that I’ve been welcomed into a family’s home for a meal, even after they have just met me, and they ask for nothing in return.

We found out when we arrived we would be sharing the couch in the living room with the kids, but that was OK with us. The family lived in a modest apartment and we enjoyed three days with them, immersing ourselves in their lives, practicing French and Arabic. We shared meals family-style from the same tajine while sitting on the living room floor and enjoying lots of laughs. They asked for nothing in return.

I’m grateful for the kindness of strangers. I’ve lost count of the amount of times on my travels that I’ve been welcomed into a family’s home for a meal.

One afternoon, the teacher took us around Fez, through the maze of alleys that make up the markets there. He shielded us from the many shop owners vying for our attention. There weren’t too many women around and we didn’t see any other foreigners that day. After purchasing pottery and visiting some spice shops, we stopped for a thick Turkish-style coffee at the side of the road. The coffee stall owner even asked me to marry him!

Had we stayed on the bus that morning and waited for the men with guns to search our bags, we may have missed our train. We likely would have found a hostel, but we would have missed out on meeting a wonderful family, and we would not have seen the real Fez through the eyes of the teacher.

About Sarah Wall

Sarah WallSarah is the owner of Body Mind Spirit Business & Life Coaching. She supports people to break through fear and limiting beliefs by clearing the clutter of the mind, using simple techniques that have immediate and powerful impact.

She is also the creator of Shanti Yoga, and co-founder of Yoga Vacations, providing a safe space for people to explore their inner world through yoga, while traveling to beautiful destinations.

Sarah’s own journey into yoga, which began twenty years ago, has taken her around the world many times and sparked her passion to give back. She’s a proud board member of Helping Hands for India, formed by a group of yoga teachers, who have built a school in northern India, providing free education to almost 300 children.

Incorporating mindfulness and meditation into her own life has been essential to her well-being when navigating life’s events and she’s sharing her story to inspire others, who are craving something more out of life, in her book “Life Reboot – An Inner Wisdom Guide to Finding Your Passion and Purpose.”

To connect with Sarah, visit http://body-mind-spirit-coach.com/.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Top
Loading...