One of my favourite things about travel is the dreaming and the planning. Vague plans are always afoot, but the limited budget means that I need to do a relevant amount of research before I even consider booking flights. I try and check the prices of EVERYTHING as well as the logistics weeks in advance. Although in most cases, the actual concrete booking comes only a couple of weeks before, giving it that rush of last minute. Partly this is because I am living a life of minimal commitment, changes are always in the pipeline and whilst more often not they don’t occur there’s always that possibility. I like that sense of flexibility.
I’ve been dreaming of Morocco for over a decade and after the second trip to India (which I still haven’t written about I’m sorry) I started looking over the other destinations on my travel bucketlist. Whilst six months off work and a £700 flight which is what is the minimum need for South America is currently a more distant dream, Morocco, particularly after a quick skyscanner search became a more practical option. I’m not sure what it is that has attracted me to Morocco, although if I had to give reasons I’m sure Kate Winslet in Hideous Kinky would have something to do with it; the mysticism, the colour, the exoticism, the food are all defininite contributory factors. It’s also a bit or a risk. There’s an element of danger, similar to India, that is enhanced when being a single blonde female traveller. But I quite like the dangerous aspect. I’m also so damn risk averse that I’m hyper aware when travelling; well the majority of the time!
So having worked out that the climate/timing suits my desires, i’ve spent the past week at work, not just on Buzzfeed staring at puppies but trying to work out the logistics and the costings of 7-10 days in the country. The idea is to currently land in Marrakesh before heading to Essaouira, Rabat, Fes and maybe the blue city which I can’t pronounce let alone spell! I’m avoiding Tangiers, for safety reasons, Port cities in my experience have always been pretty ropey places; Busan, Chennai, Portsmouth… and Tangiers reputation as somewhat seedy means I think it’s simply best avoided on this occasion. From several hours spent on a Moroccan bus website, navigating between the 4 key destinations is relatively simple… well as simple as booking a bus ticket, finding the bus and spending numerous hours with bus riding members of the public people can be! The hostels on hostelworld all look pretty purse friendly, apart from Rabat. it’s all looking pretty great!
However, I want to see the countryside; the mountains, the desert and doing this independently in a country that doesn’t favour single women, let alone single blonde western women is something I don’t quite fancy doing myself. So i’ve been looking into group tours. There are many many expensive tours and then there’s one i’ve found that’s less expensive, but still almost doubles my budget! It’s possible, but it’s scary. It’s a ‘trek’, which involves ‘scree’ and other things that mountains have. It’s also described as ‘challenging’, i think that’s because it’s a mountain trek, as opposed to a city tour. A quick check with my work colleagues – only 1 could be described as outdoorsy and she hasn’t climbed a mountain… (I have previous posts on Bukhansan, Korea!) she did send me a great link to an article with the caption ‘Don’t be this woman’ I wont, i’m not THAT stupid. The issues with the trek is that the word challenging means I clearly can’t climb the mountain, (Mount Toubkal) in converse so I will need to buy new shoes, climbing shoes AND break them in. I will probably also need to find a more compact rucksack and other ‘trekking stuff’… Also I’m not sure breaking my shoes in walking the mean streets of Islington and Hackney will be remotely similar to the mountain, and schlepping over to say Primrose Hill or Hampstead Heath isn’t going to be much better… And did I mention the whole ‘1 night camping on the mountain thing’? Yep. I know. If you know me you’re probably laughing hysterically that I’m even contemplating this. But that’s partly why. I like a challenge, and this is one. It’s not Everest or Kilimanjaro but it’s on the way… and with Everest on my bucket list and the average life span of females in the UK being 82, I don’t actually have a huge amount of time left* I like the thought of climbing and open space, and sleeping under the stars and the mental power that it takes to do it, as opposed to the physical.
So, that’s where my heads been – I don’t have to make any concrete decisions yet and I probably should email the tour peeps and get a deeper understanding of the word ‘challenging’ but who knows… I guess fate will decide! Or at least my bank balance will!
* yes okay, 50 years is quite a long time, but I want to have children and climbing Everest with children is actually ridiculous, and I have a feeling although i will be a travelling pensioner, I’m not going to be climbing mountains at 70 considering my joints are dodgy at 31!
And I know this is tagged ‘Forward thinking Friday’ and it’s not friday but Shhhhh i’m trying really hard with the tagging and daily blogging, i can’t get everything right!