What I Learned In Marrakech
People leave their homes and travel all around the world for many different reasons. Sometimes we just need a new place to rest and break our routine, but other times we can immerse ourselves in a new culture and change our vision of the world forever. That happened to me when I did my first Interrail, and it happened again recently, when I traveled to Morocco. It was my first time in Africa, a continent totally different and absolutely unique for its landscapes, traditions and people.
When I told my family and friends that I was going to Marrakech, everyone had their advice and concerns: do not drink water from the tap, do not walk around with money, do not go outside at night, do not talk to people.. Of course they also told me to have fun and enjoy the trip but the advice bomb was so great that they were absorbed by worry, fear and unknown.. So before publishing anything about the most beautiful places to visit, I decided to write about what Marrakech gave me and taught me. Because sometimes we immerse ourselves a lot in the negative comments and forget about all the good things a new destination can give us.
Marrakesh is, for me, the land of the 5 senses - the smell of the souks, the thousand colors in the old city, the call for prayer from the mosquees, the intensity of the flavours in every food and the touch of the sun on my skin as it burns my feet. Since early morning, while I walk to the place I'm going to explore, I'm not only absorbing the world around me, but my interior world is constantly being examined.
In Marrakech, people don't walk down the street lost in their own thoughts and smartphones, they look at you as they've never seen such beautiful person before, they ask you questions while you're walking, they follow you even when you're not lost. They interact with everyone around them. There is no passivity, no silence, no time to be alone. And it's through noticing how a place affects me that I get to know myself better - the heart beating fast, the sweat running down the face, the feet burning because of the miles walked - feeling challenged and alive.
I admit that during the first few days it was difficult, I would walk through the souks with my head down and avoid any eye contact, but my natural curiosity and desire to explore allowed me to absorb some nuances of culture and people. So I began to realize that nothing that happened outside was unusual or strange and I was the only stranger there, because the chaos that was happening in my interior was new, different and something I had to deal with. I began engaging with the many people who were genuine and realized how a simple smile can mean so much to them. I started being treated as a guest instead of a tourist and even given gifts instead of being asked for money.
Marrakech is centred in social interactions and driven by human, as opposed to the european societies that are driven by technology. They live from interactions.
On the last day, when I got on the plane to return home, I was very grateful for all the experiences that place had given me and I promised that I would return to Marrakech and experience everything again. I also realized that if we spend as much effort exploring our inner selves as we do our destination, we will know the world better, not only what exists on the surface, but even the deeper aspects. This journey has changed not only the way I see the world, but how I see myself, and taught me that the inner journey is the one that must continue and never stop.
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