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I arrived in Marrakesh with a sudden belief in Allah -I had almost missed my transfer in Casablanca, my first flight being late. I ended up being escorted in a private van to the airplane door, on the tarmac. “We were about to leave without you”, the pilot told me. The flight was about 30 minutes and I passed them all thanking life for being always such a sweetheart with me. We landed and I was out in my taxi about 20 minutes later. I had time to get my luggages, money out and a sim card. I arrived at the Ryad around midnight. My host greeted me with a Moroccan whiskey (a mint tea) and I passed out in my sumptuous room, right after.

I wokeup, refreshed, the next morning. Had breakfast in the Ryad, sharing some travel stories with a couple of travellers that were also awake. They had to leave for a tour, so I ended up chatting a bit with the host, before leaving to explore the medina (town square). I passed the day walking around, getting lost in the streets of the souk, a maze of odours, sounds and colours. I felt incredibly happy and relaxed, a huge contrast with my experience in Egypt. I could walk alone, enter shops, talk with people -all of that without being harassed or feeling like I had to say no 78 times to get understood. It just felt amazing. I had my first moroccan tajine (that was delicious) and some local desserts. I also perfected my bargain skills, to get two adorable bags, from one of the stores in the souk. Ended up my day, eating on the rooftop of an adorable restaurant, in front of one of the biggest mosque in town. The sunset was amazing and as colourful as the rest of Marrakesh. I was absolutely smitten by everything around me. I went back to my Ryad with a smile on my lips, eager to explore more the next day.

I woke up, took a shower and decided to walk to les Jardins Majorelle -about 45 minutes away. These beautiful gardens were owned by Yves St-Laurent and were apparently something not to miss while travelling to Marrakesh. My walk there was very relaxing. No one bothered me, and I was able to go through several neighbourhoods -all of them slowly preparing for the day setting in. I think that is when I realized how much Morocco smelled delicious. From the orange blossom to the spices, flowers and encent, it just kept changing from one neighbourhood to the other. There was music everywhere, people laughing and smiling, cats meowing for a pet on their tiny fluffy head. I arrived at the gardens and took around an hour to walk through it. I ended up staying for brunch in their little cafe, too. I then walked back towards my Ryad, but decided to continue and go visit the Bahia palace. It was an incredibly beautiful and colourful palace that use to also be a hammam for the royalty. It made me realize that I should definitely reserve this experience, for later during the week. Hammam were the typical moroccan spa -a luxury I wanted to experience before living the country. I passed the end of my afternoon strolling through the medina and the souks -feeling so relieved that I loved the city. I went bed pretty early, after an excellent meal on a terrace nearby, because I had to wake up at 6AM the next day to jump on my tour towards the Sahara.


We left Marrakesh with a van almost full. I was sitting at the front of it, next to the door. Most of the tourists in it were Spanish (with the exception of one couple from Italy). They were all around my age - but they did speak only Spanish and Italian, so I felt like this was going to be a bit hard to bound with them. I was still very excited to just see the Sahara and the atlas mountains. The van stopped on the side of the road. The driver was now on the phone, not hiding his annoyance at whatever the caller was saying. About 10 minutes later, the van’s door opened and we let two new travellers in. They sat at the back of the van, in the only places left. I didn’t made anything of it at this point, but they would later become my Sahara bffs. The van then made it’s way through the Atlas mountains. This was absolutely gorgeous to see. The peaks were covered in snow -my first sight of it since more than a year. We stopped for a coffee at the top, and then drove about another hour before our first official activity. We were going to visit Ait Benhaddou - an historic settlement along the former caravan route. The guide turned out to be a young guy that didn’t give a single fuck and we had about no more information after the visit, then we had before. It also kinda felt like a tourist trap. They kept bringing us to artisans and trying to sell us paintings -almost forcing us to buy a scarf for the desert, too. I did ended up buying one -the one I had bought in Egypt was too small to do the cute turban I wanted for my camel ride. It was kind of expensive for the quality it ended up being, but I didn’t really mind. We then went for lunch, in an overly touristic restaurant, and I had a chat with one of the couple that turned out to be from Canada too. They were older, originally from France and Morocco, and we exchanged a lot while eating our tajines. We went back in the van and had to drive another few hours until our next coffee stop. It’s where Andrew introduced himself to me. He was one of the two guys that were late to the van party this morning. We started talking a bit and his friend (Kai) joined us. They were both Australians, working as software engineer -they had quit their jobs and decided to travel the world, before finally settling in Germany. Kai had a girlfriend (I wanted to ask several time during the trip, how he was managing the long distance thing, but I ended up forgetting or never finding the right moment). Andrew was single and later at night we would go over a basic bitch list he had in his mind, while parsing through tinder. It did made me laugh, because I have the same but for guys. We talked a few more minutes and I could already feel like we all had a similar humour. We were all called back to the van, for our last stretch of drive for the day. It lasted about four hours, before we started to drop some of the tourists to different hotels. I recall hoping I would get drop with the Aussies - because I didn’t want to end up not understanding shit while Spanish people had their blast with each-others. To be fair, I also hoped because I though Andrew was cute and both Kai and him were hilarious. I think the driver might have read the whole situation quite well (even though he didn’t understood any of our languages) because I did ended up getting dropped at the same hotel. It was in the middle of the Dades canyon - a gorgeous landscape that we were going to explore a tiny bit more in the morning. We had time to all relax or take a quick shower, and then we had to all meet up for dinner. Kai, Andrew and I sat next to each-others. A couple from our van sat in front of us. There were about 4 other travellers, that joined, coming from another group. One of them was physically totally my type of guy, but he couldn’t shut his fucking mouth. At the beginning, it was kind of interesting - he kept explaining where things were coming from, the history of who conquered which countries, and so on. But after about 35 minutes of monologue, we kinda all realized that this would go on for ever without us being able to place a fucking word. At one point (and I don’t even know why it went there), I heard him say something about Crypto -and unintentionally my eyes rolled and met the one of Kai that were rolling too. We both laughed -we now knew we weren’t alone being annoyed at that backpacker. Everyone finally decided to go bed, we had to wakeup early tomorrow for even more time on the road. I felt asleep very quickly, although it was freezing in the room.

We were in the van around 8AM. One tire of the van bursted wide open, about 10 minutes into the drive. We had to stop on the side of the road, to change it. Andrew, Kai and I just chilled outside the van, commenting on the situation with more stupidity. At some point, a second van pulled on the side -the backpacker from the hotel coming out. “Here we go, he is gonna save the situation with an explanation of where the tires are from”, said Kai. I laughed so hard, because that is exactly what I thought when I saw the guy come out. About 30min later, we had a new wheel and were ready to continue driving. Our first stop was in a berber village. The berbers are the descendant of the pre-Arabs inhabitants of North Africa. They were once called ‘les barbares’ (or the barbaric) by the greeks, because of their use of extreme violence to protect their land and families. Our guide was an amazing guy named Mulai, coming from a very rich family. He didn’t want to get paid (by the tour or in tips), he just wanted to share about his culture, which he was so proud about. We passed the next two hours walking with him around the fields and their village -and having tea watching people trying to sell us home-made carpets. The whole tour ended up being super interesting -and we felt all very grateful to have Mulai as a guide. We then had a very fucking quick walk through the canyon of Dades and proceeded to the restaurant for our lunch. I sat next to Kai and Andrew again, and we all chatted around our meals. We were then called back to our van for the biggest stretch of road to date -but one that was promising the Sahara, in the end. The drive was long, but after about four hours, we finally started to see the beautiful orange dunes forming in the distance. We dropped the first couples (which were different sets of people, from the day before), and I started to think that there would be a chance that I don’t end up with Kai and Andrew for the night in the desert. In the end, I do believe that our driver was intentionally picking the people that had affinities together -because I once again ended up with the two Aussies. Only with them, this time (no extra couples). We were drop at an hotel, so we could prepare for the camel ride that was about to come. I helped them both with their turbans and we continued to talk and learn more about each-others. The humour was definitely clicking. We kept throwing jokes at each-others and just amplifying them with more stupid comments. I knew this was going to be a great night. They both had such an amazing vibe, and they included me in it right away. We jumped in a 4x4 in direction of the dunes, where we watch the sunset before jumping onto our camels. Honestly -we didn’t watch the sunset at all. We were too busy doing stupid poses for our pictures and just having fun together. There were more tourists in our group now, and they all though I was also from Australia. “No, we just met today”, I said. “Oh my. I thought you knew each-others since forever”.  It did felt like it. I was so happy that they were going to be in my camp -I am sure the Sahara would be amazing regardless, but I have learned over the past months that most of the memories I cherish the most aren’t the ones of the places or the activities I’ve done -they are the ones of the people I met. “The camels are ready”. Oh god. I was a bit concerned to have to sit on this for an hour. Last time, in Egypt, my ride was only about 15 minutes and I ended up feeling pain around my ass for two days. Andrew decided to name our three camels. Kai was on Stacey (which we all know her mom’s better), I was on Winston (that had another name at some point but Winston is cooler) and Andrew was at the back, on a camel that I can’t recall the name but now I am in doubt if it was also a Winston. Anyway, we started the ride and turned out that the camels were way more comfortable than the ones from Egypt. We joked that they must have had Moroccan suspension. Half way through the ride, the sun finally set and I played Arabian nights on my phone. We sang in the night, watching the stars appearing and planning to escape the camp later on, to go stargaze together. These are the kinds of moments that you never forget. After way more than an hour, we finally arrived at our camp. It took about 3 minutes of us being off the camels for one of the berber to present a fuckery of merchandise to buy, in front of us. No one bought anything, a bit annoyed at the whole thing. We were then escorted to a first tent, where they tried to make us buy more activities. Once again, no one bought anything. I had to leave the Aussies to go in my tent, while they figured out the mess that was happening with their tour options. We later all met back in another tent, for dinner. There, we met other girls who were annoyed at the whole organization -and we all shared laughs around the very bland food. We were then escorted (i will keep writing this, because the berbers were literally everywhere and wouldn’t let us go out of their sights for one single second) to the fire. I had to pee, at some point, and when I went out of the bathroom one of the berber was waiting for me. It felt like a fucking cult, to be honest. The distance between the fire and the toilet was about 25 steps. I can manage to do it alone. I went back to the fire, sat on a carpet and watched the berber played tamtam. Andrew and Kai were still in their tents, trying to figure out what they would do tomorrow -their tour being a bit different than mine. I noticed a guy, sitting on the left, watching me. He smiled - he looked pretty damn cute. I smiled back, but I was with the Aussies and looking forward to escape the fire session and go stargaze with them, so I turned by head and continue to stare at the fire instead. The Aussies finally joined me, and after about 20 minutes we decided to escape. We faked being tired, were escorted back to our tent, and then we manage to escape while no one was watching. Once on the top of a nearby dune, we saw a berber searching for us. We all dive toward the ground, now laying flat on our backs. For the first minutes, we stayed silent, as we watch the berber walking around. He ended up leaving without finding us. We stayed there for about an hour, watching the stars, talking and laughing about all and nothing. “Have you lost something?” We got scared by the voice of a berber standing in front of us. He came straight out of the desert. What the fuck. We tried to make sense of what he was saying. “I don’t know if I lost something. What have you found?” He refused to say. It was so fucking weird. Like if he thought we were going to steal what he found? We were all confused. We ended up saying that we didn’t lost anything, and he left. We started to talk about how weird this whole place was, and after about 10 more minutes we decided to go back to the tents because it was starting to get cold. When we stand up to walk back, we noticed a berber was sitting a few meters away, watching us probably since the moment we laid down. What. The. Fuck. We walked back to the tent (escorted). I went to pee and when I came out, I was going to go with the boys in their tent so we could chat for a bit before all going bed. BUT, i was strongly advise by a very insistent berber to just go back in my tent alone. Okay. I said bye to the guys, went in my tent and tried to fall asleep but could hear parties all over the other camps. One of them seemed particularly lit- the song Gazolinaaa resonating from miles away.

We were back on the camels, early morning, direction of the hotel. We had more banters on the way back, watched the sunrise and then had to say our goodbyes because I was going back to Marrakesh while they were moving to Fes. I hopped in the van -asked my driver about 6 times if he had picked up my bags- until he finally understood and had to go back to get them. We then picked up all the other travellers (the same we had on the way to the Sahara). Half way through, at a lunch break, one guy asked if he could sit next to me at the table. I could have swear I saw him somewhere before. He was hot, y’all, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint why I felt like I knew him. He ended up telling me that he was at our camp, the night before. That’s when it clicked: the cute guy by the fire. He was now in our van, sitting at the back where the Aussies used to be. We talked through lunch- His name was Stan and turns out he was Bulgarian, like my best friend Rali. It obviously made something to talk about, and we extended on other random topics from there. We went back in the bus, after lunch, and met back a few hours later during a coffee break. We exchanged socials -he was going to be in Marrakesh until the next afternoon. We planned to meet again sometimes before. We finally arrived in Marrakesh, about 10 hours later, and all part ways to go back to our respective hotels. I took a shower and texted Stan telling that I was dead for the night- we could meet tomorrow morning instead. He felt the same, so it was perfect. I felt asleep like a damn rock.


I had woke up later than usual, feeling rested and ready for the day. I had breakfast and then decided to walk towards the Medina while Stan was getting ready. We ended up meeting at Cafe des Epices, an hour or so later. I remember thinking that he had such a beautiful smile, with straight white teeth and beautiful pale eyes, too. He was physically the type of guy I usually go for. Tall, brown messy hair, with a beard well maintained: yes. We started talking about all and nothing and I could feel we had a great chemistry. We decided to walk through the souks, so he could buy some presents for his people back home. I enjoyed my day just wandering around, with him. I laughed a lot, but we also had some conversations that were super interesting (about our family, our past and which wishes we would make after rubbing that aladdin’s lamp. He was interesting. From his love for mountains to the meaning of a small tattoo on his arm -to just how he thought -I wanted to get to know him more. I remember thinking how weird life was- one night ago I was crushing on Andrew, and now I was in the same situation but with another stranger. Travelling is shifting your whole world upside down, several times a day. You never know what’s going to happen, who you are gonna meet and when. And you just need to go with the flow. You need to open yourself to all the feels, and learn how to let go. Quickly. So you can enjoy the experience fully. I felt for so many people already -not in love, obviously, but I felt. I learned to fall for a moment, for a smile, for a laugh, for the lighting shimmering in the cute backpacker’s eyes. I learned to take the coming goodbyes as part of the story. A fleeting romance, an evanescent beginning that we all know is meant to end -but makes it perfect and drama-free this way. It gave me hope, in a sense, to meet all those incredible souls. 8 billions people on this planet -there surely is more than one compatible with you. I felt extremely attracted to Stan. Physically, yes, but also to his personality. It just felt like I knew him since forever. We passed a few hours together and Stan finally had to leave to take a taxi to Essaouira. He was going to be there for two nights. He asked if I would joined, but I had already paid for the nights in Marrakesh. I’ll be honest with you -I did think about it, though. I walked him to the taxi station, we hugged (I wanted to kiss him, but might I remind you that we are in a muslim country and signs of affections in the streets aren’t something very acceptable). So.. I didn’t. I watched him walk to the taxi, feeling like I would prob regret not doing that for a damn while. I walked back to my hotel and my host asked me if I wanted to go for a tour tomorrow. There was one for Essaouira. Fuck that, i’m taking it. I texted Stan: I’m coming tomorrow. But just for the day. “Ok, let’s meet. Tell me when you are on your way”. I felt asleep, dreaming about kissing that beautiful stranger.

Woke up early and hopped on a new mini-van, direction Essaouira. I made friends with a mother and daughter from Switzerland, sitting next to me. The girl was a tattoo artist over there, and was super nice and interesting. The mom kept making me laugh, she was so energetic. The trip took about 5 hours, because we kept stopping in some tourists traps. Half way through, I texted Stan. We exchanged live locations and I finally met him around lunch time. Spotted him in the distance, trying to bargain something in the market. I arrived next to him, he hugged me and I helped him bargain down to the price he wanted. There was another backpacker with him, that ended up leaving us not too long after. Stan and I went for lunch, and we passed the afternoon walking around Essaouira and on the beach. I taught him some french (which was not helping me think straight -there’s nothing hotter than a non french speaker trying to speak french -maybe except Stan wearing a black hoodie an trying to speak french) and he taught me some bulgarian and arabic. I had to leave around 17H30, and it felt like the time was passing by too damn fast. I wanted to kiss him. There’s no way I am leaving without kissing this guy. But, as the hours passed by, I just never found a moment to actually do it. It was now 17H, we were sitting on a block, in front of the beach, talking about love and what we wanted for our future. That’s the moment Steph. Just kiss the guy. I mean, by now you probably know me -I should have kissed him. But I didn’t. I just stayed there, looking at him, in a sense petrified at the idea that he wouldn’t be down. From an outside perspective -why the fuck wouldn’t he be? We passed two days together, if there was no interest I am pretty sure he wouldn’t be sitting here, on this rock, talking about love and life with me. Also what do we care if turns out I misinterpreted? I’m never gonna see this guy again. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t go for what you want, you’ll never have it. “Can I kiss you goodbye?” I didn’t speak. He did. “I thought you’d never asked”, I said. Play it cool, bitch. And there, we kissed. Long, passionate kiss. “Fuck, are we allowed to do this?” I asked, just realizing that we are outside in front of several people walking by. “Fuck.” He stopped. Well, now fuck me. I didn’t want him to stop. I grab his shirt and pull him towards me. “I don’t want to go to jail. You are leaving, I’m staying here”, he says, laughing. “Just run, when I leave”. I kiss him. After a few minutes, we hug goodbye. In this moment, I hate goodbyes. I hate unfinished business. I hate that these fleeting moments are not a tiny bit longer, at least. But it’s part of the game. And it’s also a perfect way to not be disappointed. I had to take a few minutes, in the van, to shift my mindset and let go. After all, maybe i’ll bump into another prince on my way to my next country. Or maybe Stan will realize he loves someone back home. You never know. Four hours later, I am dropped at my hotel and fall asleep horny af.

I woke up from a sex dream with Stan. Of course. Unfinished business, we said. At least today I have the Hammam, so I can relax and change my mind there. I have a quick breakfast and I walk to the moroccan spa. There, I have my first Hammam (it’s like a scrub but fully naked and they also wash you. Very damn weird to have your breast touch by not the hot backpacker, but an old moroccan woman). Then, I have an hour long massage (once again, breast included) and end up with a facial (you won’t believe me but the breast was also included there, lol). I went out of the spa feeling like a new woman. It was a thousand degree and very sunny outside. I texted a bit with Stan (and with Andrew) and decided that I was just happy to have met both of them. All of them, actually. Every single backpackers that I came across with so far -friends or lovers, they all made me learn so much about myself and that’s a great gift when you are a traveller. I passed my day writing and wandering around town, happy of what Morocco was able to provide to me. Tomorrow, I am leaving for my eleventh destination, and I cannot wait to see what people I will end up meeting there.

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