Morocco, fulfilling a dream

Tangier. Walked to our hostel straight off the ferry from Tarifa, Spain. A boat ride so quick we didn't even sit down after going through "customs," which happens on the boat, next to the snack bar. A lot of excitement and constant uncertainty. (should I cover my hair? can my ankles be exposed? does anyone here speak English? what if we can't find the hostel? why didn't I learn the Arabic translation for "directions, please"?) We made it to the hostel in one piece, and only a few minor mishaps, just in time for the evening call to prayer which I listened to from a rooftop as the sun set, it gave me chills and calmed my worry.

Chefchaouen, the dreamiest, magical blue city. A much appreciated calming place in a country as bustling as Morocco. I compared Chefchaouen to Morocco as Pushkar is to India. A welcome retreat - the same liveliness and culture but a little more reserved (and a whole lot beautiful).

Nearly every wall of the medina is painted blue. Nearly every shop keeper with chat you up and thank you genuinely. The streets are lined with flower pots and cats. People are sweet. Travelers can meet each other easily. Food is cheap and good and mint tea is a staple. The prayer call reverberates against the mountains and through the small winding medina. We loved our time here, and extended our stay an extra night.

An immense amount of hassle  - and the silliest, most annoying and likely most memorable in-transit day of any trip ever - finally brought us to Marrakesh via Chefchaouen, via Rabat, via a bus that we missed one of but the second took us 4+ extra hours to reach the outskirts of Rabat, with two never-explained passport checks mid bus ride (if someone takes your passport out of your hands and sight in a third world country... yes, be worried!) finally dropping us (and just us! the confused non-Moroccans) off on the side of the highway without an explanation (that we could understand) but with a huge multi-hour delay (and without any, not one during a 10 hr bus ride, bathroom break. yikes!) We were angry, confused, frustrated, a little afraid but really - and it took some reminding each other - we were okay. We worried so much that it made us giggle. Wait a minute, we are in Morocco. This rules. So what if we haven't seen a bathroom in 10 hours, and we don't know on earth we will get to a city 325 kilometers away by tonight? We are in Morocco, fulfilling a dream.

So we carried on, finally ate our first and only meal of the day in a train station (still-half-frozen pizza and leftover 1 euro muesli from Spain), found a bathroom (!), bought ourselves a first-class (fancy! but really, it was $7) train ticket, and boarded a train to Marrakesh ... only to get stuck in second class, literally STUCK because of our backpacks and it being packed with unseated people. STUCK! At this point it was all we could do to laugh until we cried at our exhausting and hilarious day. I don't think I could have done this and kept this high of spirits with anyone but Alex. For this among so many other things, this chick is a brilliant travel partner. If you aren't sobbing by the end of an awfully hectic and tiring day like that... you are a keeper in my book. Alas, we were on a train to Marrakesh, hours later than expected, but we were on our way.

Below: the brilliant cobalt blue art studio and home of Yves Saint Laurent in Marrakesh.

Leaving Marrakesh and driving to the desert. Rapidly changing scenery and temperature through the Atlas Mountains.

A bus took us into the Sahara. I can't believe I am typing these words. The Sahara! A dream, fulfilled.

We begun in Zagora, a desert region and also town, where we made camel friends + hopped up for a ride (which, confirmed for a second time, is undoubtedly the most uncomfortable type of transportation. camel rash. ouch.)

Our accommodations: a sweet cloth tent, which we did not sleep in, but instead took all the blankets from and slept outside under the desert stars (in nearly below freezing desert night temperatures, but the view was most definitely worth the cold.)

The sun rose, we drank mint tea and kissed the desert masalamah (goodbye!) and between camels + a bus, made our way back to Marrakesh, and for me, to the airport to fly to Lisbon, Portugal (meu amor!) the very next morning. 

Visit Morocco! What a magical, beautiful, and rewarding, albeit challenging, place to travel.

Shukran for reading + viewing, all my love, + photos from Portugal etc soon.

P.S. my soul sis and favorite travel partner Alex has a travel blog, and she knows a lot more about this backpacking and travel stuff than I do.  She's also beautiful, and a beautiful person, and I can nearly guarantee you will find yourself living vicariously through her magical traveler life.

x

d

 

have love, will travel | Spain, this winter (+more to come)

I returned from a two-month adventure in Europe (+ Morocco) and a two-and-a-half-week road trip of the USA at the end of March, feeling my wanderlust satiated for the time being but also feeling like I am already itching for a new adventure ... so much so I haven't sat still to edit through photos from my travels or truly reflect in the ways that I want to.

Traveling is an exceptionally introspective thing for me - a high-speed way to learn about myself and the people I share the earth and this life with. A reverent thing, like a novel you've been meaning to read for years and finally opened and finished in one day, feeling full and aloft with new ideas and new appreciations for what you have and what you don't.

Being in Spain alone for nearly a month gave me something I didn't know I would receive - an appreciation, yes, but for the love I have already had and left behind on U.S. soil. What a silly thing, to need to fly across the world alone to appreciate what you have right in front of you on a regular basis? Silly, yes, but real all the same. 

I love to travel, I love traveling alone, but I also love to love... I want to open my arms up and hug the people I love, I want them near me, I want cheek kisses from my girlfriends, I want to call my mom on the phone, and I want someone to squeeze tight and to make my face turn red as a plum when I finally see them for the first time in a month in the Lisbon airport. I just want to love. I want to travel, that want will never die. But I want to love whilst doing so, not fly (to Barcelona and) away from it.

What a trip.

Until I get around to the rest, here are a few favorite scenes and moments.

xo

 

 

Barcelona, my first stop on this adventure, I cried on the plane to and shivered when we landed but, inspired by a handful of new friends and fellow travelers I found my way.. I've had an idealization of Barcelona for whatever reason, and to be here was like fulfilling a dream, or a promise to myself, rather. The city was cold but the people were warm. I never planned an itinerary but instead walked ten or so miles (I should be using kilometers I suppose) a day and that - the city - was enough of an attraction to see in itself. La Sagrada Família can only be understood while you stand inside of it, watching the colors of the interior change as the light changes like a moving paining or a breathing building. I've yet to find the proper words for this, but it exemplifies architecture as art.

Sevilla was my postcard-perfect-picture of how I had always daydreamed Spain to be, and it surpassed any expectation I could have had. Warm sun, warm people, so many new friends to meet, flamenco, music, color and the southern Spain SUN. The Alcazar and gardens were a dream. I wandered here until the sun set with new friends from my hostel, writing poems, taking photos, picking oranges and ending the day with tapas and wine. My postcard perfect Spain.

Ronda (+ surrounding towns and pueblos blancos), where I spent a beautiful week staying by myself at Casa Duende Del Tajo, the most perfect hostel/hotel with the best view in town (below!) via the magic of Workaway - volunteering my time for a few hours a day (aka, go on city tours, take photos and talk to my hosts about traveling... work? hardly) in exchange for free food and a free stay. Ronda was a challenge because for the entire week stay I didn't have a single conversation in fluent English, and became so frustrated - but also humbled by - language. My Spanish is enough to get by but not enough to make a joke, understand sarcasm, make a genuine friend... and being unable to communicate on a deeper level with anyone around me for a week was enlightening, in an exhausting way! I have a new appreciation for language, and for those who speak multiple. Communication is invaluable. Anyway: Ronda is beautiful and the most underrated town to visit. The epitome of Andalusian charm.

Gracias por leer, te amo y hasta pronto con mas picturas de Morocco, Portugal, France, Bruges, Amsterdam y Berlin...

x

D

Ying + Alan | the most beautiful love and wedding in the Berkshires, at Edith Wharton's home

Woah, I've got a lot of love for these two... there's something to be said about strangers who immediately feel like friends. My heart is so happy that I got the chance to see these two babes seal the deal. 

Their wedding was at the. most. beautiful. place. that I can imagine. The rain held off just for them that day, and a gorgeous ceremony was had amongst autumn flowers and a beautiful mansion - the home of author Edith Wharton. This was my first drive out to western Massachusetts, and most definitely won't be my last... what a beautiful little slice of New England. I feel lucky to be so near to so much beauty. Or maybe it was just this day that made it feel so so beautiful (thanks for that, Y+A!) This was really something...

xo

Congrats Ying + Alan! So much love.

  • Venue: The Mount, Lenox MA
  • Florist: Bloominus
  • Cake: A Piece of Cake, Castleton, NY
  • Caterer: Mezze Catering
  • Dress: Nicole Miller
  • Suit: Sandro & The Tie Bar
  • Hair: Indulgence Hair Salon
  • DJ: DJ BFG