The Sahara + me

How did I end up here, the Sahara, in Morocco? This question is worthy of nothing less that a book but the short version is that I was destined to be here and it took me until October of 2016 to realize it.

I am a gypsy, restless by nature and filled with wanderlust + adventures bigger than the life, or lives that I had been living....travelling as often as I could, for as long as I could and as far as I could. Only content really when I had an escape booked and better yet on public transit on the way to the airport. Yes, I love airport, train stations and all places that are filled with possibilities and unknown outcomes. I could watch people for days and make up stories about their lives and where they were off too...

So last fall with nothing in the works other than India in January, co-leading a group of creatives to one of my favourite counties on the planet, I felt that feeling...the need to go. As luck would have it, or the universe had planned it or perhaps I had manifested it, no matter...flash sale, Vancouver to Marrakech return!! I did what I do, quick pass at who I had to run things by...it was a go, so I booked it!! I had a designer friend that had relocated form Istanbul to Marrakech and I sent and email and she would be there during my visit, she also invited me to stay with her which was an unexpected but amazingly generous gift. Little did I know that this was to be the beginning of a course correction,...my life with a lot of sweat + tears would change drastically during the next 6 month unbeknownst to me.

 

Wheels down, I was met at the Menara airport in Marrakech after a  long wait in Amsterdam. JN was there will her partner to meet me and take me back to her riad,  through the labyrinth of alleyways that is the old medina in Marrakech. My visit was filled with beauty + magic, around every corner, an new adventure and experience...just the way I like it. My camera in hand, I capture the moments as fast as they happened. A way to hold and document my memories, my lens and I, an affair that has been going on and off for years...through different periods of my life and depending on the creative pursuits I was into at the time. 

Morocco is more like France than I had ever imagined, with a little edge of messy, magic + madness.... I always have this feeling when I am anywhere in the world, that I should have come 20 years prior, before the internet, the travel as a lifestyle, the ease of it all...when is was more rugged, less refined, when our differences where more obvious and over time our sameness would come to be known to me after I had put in the work, the challenge, the sweat + tears of it....but I'll take it anyway, the way it is, find my pockets, my people, my way, the essence of what drives my wondering heart.

JN said we must go to the desert, you will love it...I have a friend there that has a Kasbah, you will like him, and he will take us into the real desert, the Sahara!  I agreed of course and we were off, I had know idea of the inspiring journey I was about to embark. The High Atlas Mountains, the Tizi-Tischa Pass, driving through a stunning landscape that kept getting lighter as the people kept getting darker, more traditional in dress and in culture, as we drove, down...down to the place that I now call home...who knew, maybe someone did but it certainly it wasn't me, not consciously anyway.

We arrived in time for tea, the national drink of Morocco...Kamal, welcoming us to his home and life... I looked at what was behind this Date Palm Oasis, Kamal's Sandcastle, into the distance, through the rolling sand...into a breathtaking old Kasbah, my heart beat arrested.  I had arrived to what met my vision of what was Morocco, in my dreams ...it was here!!  We got into his 4x4 and while listening to the most amazing sounds of desert musicians, we drove into the desert, passing through small villages, and towns, chasing the sunset. I had come to somewhere that was very much like it was 20 years ago...I had come to the simple life...the desert life, without even knowing it was somewhere I had wanted, or more true, to a place that I needed to come. As with most things, it all makes sense when you connect it backwards...the decisions, the desires, the lessons...

 

Through drums, camels, sunsets + tangines, we sat on a sand dune, laughing and talking late into the night while looking at the vast starry sky. The conversation easy, like I was talking to an old friend, someone despite our many, many differences, cultures, language and religions, our sameness, was what I remembered, it was the easiest conversation of my life... it was then that I started to hear...I heard a low, deep voice that was trying to be heard, barely audible but I couldn't not, not hear it...in the  quiet in the Sahara, the silence is so deafeningly...we were alone and I couldn't escape this low, deep voice, so foreign and at the same time, so familiar. It was the sound of my soul...from the wildness, the edge of my comfort zone... me the forever explorer had been in search of that voice all my life...I remembered when I lost it or rather put it on mute, letting my life compass be directed by external forces, people, desires, no longer trusting myself and my unique way,  my deeply personal knowing.  My life, like many was never in true alignment, parts maybe were getting closer, do to age and some wisdom earned along the way, but my life had been built upon someone else's dream or idea of what it should be...the restlessness, "the being" in the wrong life that I had always felt.

The next day, we awoke to the most breathtaking sunrise, experienced from the back of a camel or rather a dromedary. We spent the rest of the day, riding around in Kamal's 4x4, showing us his desert. Kamal and I had a connection from the moment he poured and passed me that first glass of tea...many trips down to the desert, his home is now our home and together we are restoring and creating a place to welcome those that wish to connect, create or just be in a place that is... the simple life. the desert life. Who knows what you may hear or connect with in the sacred Sahara but we will meet you wherever you are ~

m x

 

Michelle Fletcher