the final chapter
With my final narrative from Marrakech, you thought I was going to talk about the warmth in Morocco. The desert wind against the grain of sand that picks up heat recycled through the sun’s bright capsule and laid ever so ‘warmly’ against our skins.
To be completely, frank, I meant ‘warmth’ in quite the opposite sense really. We live in an era where travel has become easier, borders are closer and there are not many stipulations against an individual from exploring different communities and their respective countries. As time passes, wars manifest, people start to territorialize and egos become a tangible liability-we may not be able to travel so often.
“I’m headed to Morocco with my little brother, just Marrakech though.” “Be careful.” The only thing mentioned when sharing with people what my upcoming plans were and it was surprising to hear that even in the mouths of the Brits as holidaying is so common there. It baffled me and though those people have zero inkling of where I’ve been, what I’m capable of-I was still shocked to hear.
I had the pleasure and honor to travel through parts of Syria back in 2009 before the war took a stronghold and people’s lives were observantly threatened. For months, years and today when I’m asked where is one place I absolutely loved visiting, it is Syria. It is now a place that can not be touched as easily and the things I saw with my own eyes in person can never be experienced ever again, but it was truly an exceptional experience. And as politics, culture and society progress, I only hope that no other area of the world, especially the Middle East, has forced barriers like this.
‘Warmth’ is the word that I can only think of when talking about the Middle East and my travels overall for school, work and pleasure. No two cultures and religions are the same, which makes us all so different from one another and it is precisely why we travel-to explore and to understand. The Middle East and North African region has been a part of the world that has always astounded me. A society deep rooted in their religion and culture that is admirable to see a community that will move forward with the times, but also uphold their integrity.
‘Warmth’ is what you feel when the people greet you, open up their homes, offer you food and a place to sleep and provide you with a glass of water when they have to sacrifice so much for all those things just for themselves. The region and its people are not impoverished, it’s not different from the world that has evolved in America and in Europe. The region and its people are just willing to give guests that hospitality that many may not be willing to provide even when they have an abundance.
‘Warmth’ is the feeling in your stomach after a meal with many, many plates topped with hot mint tea. It is that feeling you get right before you’re just too full. The melody of spices that intertwine with the meat, vegetable the fresh herbs. The combination of sweet and savory delicacies placed on a single plate. A gastronomy that brings full flavors in the most subtle ways.
‘Warmth’ is when you get lost in the labyrinth of the souk, find yourself in front of many shopfronts stopping to peruse the handmade goods whilst asking for directions. Exchanging sweet smiles, bits of broken conversation, sharing lots of enthusiasm and then guiding you to the next destination…
an open-mind, being informed
Instead of a narrative, I thought I would share this as an ode to hope. To inform you of all the possible opportunities and experiences you have at your fingertips. Keeping an open-mind, being informed and embracing the unknown are the only steps towards allowing for these porous borders to continue being approachable.