Traveling solo in Africa, changing jobs locally, finding a new home overnight all alone while mending a broken heart… “Impossible” they said, “I’m possible” I read. It was ME I was fighting for and I had Myself and I in my corner. And the angels above 👼 At the end my crazy Morocco adventure turned into an absolute fairytale better than I could have ever imagined 🏰 (And no, Mom, there is no man involved, just me and my wild heart)
“Aren’t you afraid of flying?” the little girl sitting next to me on the plane to Morocco asked. “Why would I be afraid, sweetheart?” I wondered. “But what if we fall?” she said. “And what if we soar?” I asked. She told me it was her first time flying and she was very scared. So I decided to tell her the story of my first time on a plane. How old do you think is old enough to travel alone? If you ask my crazy parents 3 yrs old was plenty to send me off alone on a flight from Algeria to Bulgaria during Communism with a lay over in Paris. The proper term is “unaccompanied minor”, a child that travels alone and gets taken through security and from gate to gate by a flight attendant 👮♀️ I still had to sit all alone on the planes yet I didn’t make a sound 👼 Three decades later my parents get really worried when I roam the world solo. “Really, Mom, really, you are worried NOW?!”
Thanks to my incredible Grandma who raised me while my parents traveled the world, every new experience was presented to me as the most fun adventure one could go on and every new place visited as a land from the fairytales. So a plane was the carpet that would take us to Alaeddin and the desert was the land of 1001 Nights of Shekerezhade.
I celebrated my 3rd birthday in the middle of the Sahara desert of Algeria, having just joined my parents on their African adventures. Three decades later I celebrated my birthday in Africa again, on the coast of Morocco, where the Atlantic Ocean washes the sands of the Sahara. French is my first language, not Bulgarian (I still understand French if you speak slowly 😱) and coming back to Africa always feels like coming back home. To my first memories of a land dusty, dirty and so wild and free.
I didn’t grow up rich 💰 Even though my parents were traveling around the world for work and dragged me across Europe, to the Sahara Desert of Africa and thru the Gobi Desert of Mongolia all the way to China before the age of 10. We never had much money or a car I could use. My parents didn’t introduce me to the outdoors, enroll me in any sports, or teach me survival skills. They didn’t believe in any of that. But ONE thing they insisted on was languages and education and I have to thank Mom for that. I started learning French when I was 3 yrs old, I wrote and read in French by age 5. I speak 5 more languages (NOT fluently) and I happen to enjoy an elephant memory, two university degrees from some of the best schools in the world and a razor sharp brain.
I came to Morocco for work, I stayed for surfing 🏜 That’s the recap of my 2 months here. There is nothing else but the desert and the ocean. You must love surfing and water if you are planning on staying 🌊 I had been working on Online, Digital, and Social Media Marketing and Online Bookings for a Moroccan surf & yoga camp for 3 months and I was really excited to finally be here in person. Well, what I thought would be a “one man show” turned into a “complete shitshow” by week 3. But when your accommodation is connected to your job and you are a tall blonde traveling solo in Africa you think twice before you quit. So I thought for a week and finally couldn’t take another day of it 😦
I had met a boy in those first 2 weeks and for once in my life I decided to give “love” a chance, not run away and stay for him another few days. I purposefully call him “a boy” because a man would have acted differently. A man would have seen my worth beyond the current setbacks I was experiencing. A man would have been my rock when I was standing on shifting sands. When said “boy” heard about my work troubles and living condition challenges he said he didn’t want to invite my problems into his life and “sent me off” to figure it all out myself. He could have helped, it wouldn’t have cost him a thing and I wasn’t asking for much, just a roof over my head for a night and a warm hug. Instead he chose to cut all ties and continue with his “perfectly decorated” life (and home) because in his eyes I was a “complete mess”.
So with professional setback under one arm and personal disappointment under the other and having just acquired a short spell of “Moroccan shits” I hastily packed my suitcase and took a “berber taxi” 🚗 (car not camel) to see a friend at a brand new surf and yoga camp close by – Surf Safari Morocco – for a couple of days, enjoy their pool and heal my body while figuring out my life. Because in Morocco it is just a matter of time before you get the shits – personal, professional, just shits. How these old “berber taxi” cars from the 1980s still function is beyond my understanding. How they make it up and down the hills is a sheer miracle. Considering 3 people sit in the front, 4-5 in the back and there is always room for 1 more (in the driver’s lap perhaps as there is already someone sitting in mine 😂) I guess we could pish the car all the way to town if it broke down.
In retrospect, I should have left Morocco back then but it is too easy to judge life in retrospect and I am a warrior princess, I wasn’t going to let one asshole (ok, maybe 2) ruin my whole Morocco experience. When Plan A didn’t work out (it never does), it was time for Plan B. Oh wait, I didn’t have Plan B. I never do. Perhaps with the 100% chance of Plan A not working out in my life, I should start prepping a Plan B 🤔 I believe in the power of the Universe, I believe when we set an intention and we really want something the Universe responds. Not always in the way we expected, often in a better way 🙏 Sometimes it is hard to sit still and wait for the future to unfold while you are shaking in uncertainty but if you are patient and watch out for the signs, I promise you the result will be more beautiful and grand than you ever expected.
The surf and yoga camp – Surf Safari Morocco – where I went for one day to relax and recharge (and ended up staying a month) took me in with all my physical and emotional pain. They hugged me until I stopped crying – thanks Julian and Evan. They saw my worth through the thick wall I had put up and hidden behind – thanks Younes and Mohammed. They gave me a week to just surf, eat, sleep, and heal. I will be forever grateful for that. (And do laundry, because after a month in a little, dusty Moroccan town nothing makes you happier than the sight of a new washing machine and European detergent.) Within a week of moving in, meeting the owners, observing camp operations and enjoying myself tremendously in and outside of the water, I was asked to help manage the camp and take over Digital Marketing, Social Media and Online Bookings. A skinny tall blond European girl in a remote corner of a Muslim country…now I was boss and everyone reported to me (and boy did they treat me like a princess and carry me on a pedestal) ❤ Less than a month later we are completely full and top rated on all booing platforms (actually that was true after JUST a week when management believed in my strategy and took immediate actions to implement my recommendations). For there are FEW things I’m very good and WORK is one of them.
To all the people who didn’t help me on my journey, who tried to stop me from succeeding or attempted to stall my growth – THANK YOU 🙏 For showing me I had verged off my true life path and I had to change course a bit. For the only constant in life is change and this mermaid does change better than most 🧜♀️ My Moroccan adventure has been one HELL of a story 📝 with plenty of ups and downs and “drowning time” in between (some call it surfing but I’m mostly under water :-)) “Rugs to riches”, “nada to Prada” or just another way to say – believe in yourself even when no one else does!
Finally, a tribute to the girls who shared the first month of my “Moroccan shit show” – I wouldn’t have lasted as long as I did without you – Charlie’s Angels or MY angels – for true friendships are built in the most challenging of moments and we were together thru thick and thin 🙏 As we headed out on our new adventures (I was the very last one to leave Morocco from the group and I thought I would be the first) all I want to say is thank you Annie, Leah, Meli and G – for your friendship, your advice, your emotional support, your translation from German, and for having my back when you were pretty backless yourselves 💪 Yours truly, The Total Mess ❤