Traveling with another person is hard especially when you aren't sleeping with them! However, like in any relationship you have to compromise, forgive quickly and do what Sarah does best; just laugh the madness off. I wanted to invite Sarah to write for the blog and share some of her fears, anxieties and experiences as a first time traveller. It's weird, writing about someone and not handing over the mic.
I never thought I'd be doing this.
When melissa said she refused to ring in her 30th birthday in the states and that she would go to Morocco alone, by herself, unaccompanied, she freaked me out. Where she saw adventure, I saw her being kidnapped in a never ending desert! So, I did the most logical thing, I told her I would go with her. Now, I knew that meant I would go on a plane. Not a big deal, I had been on planes before, well twice, once to Sacramento and once to Florida. Both however did not prepare me for a ten hour flight or taking three separate planes just to get to Marrakech!
The way there was a little nerve wracking but not too bad. Going through security and having your body scanned and patted down felt a little bizarre. But, I made it through with only a little heart patter... Arriving on the other hand in Africa was another story for me! You see until that point I had been in airplane bliss, the comfort of my snacks I'd brought and a duffle bag that had been packed with comforts from home (from one of my friends who knew my heart would need something to distract my mind from lurking thoughts of impending doom!). That bag I think saved me. It saved me from freaking out, from being hungry, tired (neck pillow), cold (fuzzy blanket), and missing home(magazines). I wish I could say I'm the type that loves to travel but, I'm just not that cool.
I love the destination. Getting there, exploring, meeting new people, and trying really, really good food! Really, I just travel for the food! Of course I love all these things but I love the ritual of having them pretty well laid out. So, to get to the food I had to take these uncomfortable steps that required numerous transfers, security checks and waiting to get there. Oh, and actually getting off the plane. Yeah, I thought for a moment I wouldn't do it. But I did!
Before we even got off the plane, I worried about how we would find our driver, which by the way was given the wrong time and was not there waiting for us. Luckily and apparently, Morocco has an excellent taxi concierge service at the airport and he called our air B and B host then we promptly got picked up. I felt like the men in Morocco were gentlemen. I don't know if it was my nervous demeanor and wide eyes or, if they just automatically act this way, but I literally kept getting my bags carried for me, doors opened, or getting waved through security quickly. To which melissa would tease with a smile, "Hey it's my birthday!" Of course after that I let everyone know it was her birthday and in turn she received two birthday cakes.
I'm not gonna lie there was a few moments I thought she might kill me. I was nervous getting into new cabs, especially if they didn't look very much like a cab, I also wouldn't get in a cab if I felt like it cost too much (how many times do you want to get ripped off?!) and, of course then there's the train. My Marrakech train adventure. Of course, I wanted details on how we were going to get tickets. We couldn't buy them online like we did in the states, it was not Amtrak! We were totally unplugged except for wifi and the trains did not have wifi. I was told the Marrakech train ran on its own time. This did not soothe my soul or make me laugh nor did I consider it an endearing sweet quality! Instead of details we got dropped off at the station and melissa and I talked to real people and got on the right train for 140 Dirham, about fourteen dollars American currency.
First class, was kind of like Amtrak but, we had our own compartment in which we shared with an interesting couple and the wife's brother. The husband unwrapped his McDonald burger that he bought at the train station. I couldn’t help but smile inwardly. Here was a well traveled family and it was my first dip into the vast pond. At least I wasn't the only one missing familiarity.
Stepping outside ourselves is hard! The comfort of what we know is a safety net. Even with all my fighting to control this new experience when the train pushed along the tracks, I closed my eyes and listened to the hum and chatter mixed with the music streaming through my head phones. And, for once all I could think was after everything, you still did this.