Towards the Sea!
We steer out of town. Once more the sea is calling us, but this time it’s the Mediterranean. Park4night tells us of a spot in nature, in a valley towards the sea. Little do we know that to get there, we go along one of the steepest roads yet and, by what I can glean in the moonlit night, one of the most spectacular valleys. We have to come back this way one day, in daylight!
After about an hour of zigzagging to the point of total disorientation, we arrive in a quiet spot, a dry riverbed by the looks of it, but we think we can risk it, it hasn’t rained in a while…
We have a quiet night, only broken by the occasional snuffling of some animal outside, maybe wild boar. The next morning, we discover we have parked amongst lavender fields. A little stroll towards the river takes us past some people loading earth from the dry river-bed. We greet them when we pass and only get a scowl in return. This is very unusual for Morocco, and it makes us think that they must be up to something shady.
We drive on down to the sea by Oued Laed, where we spend the rest of the day chilling and catching up with writing and admin.
We get chatting to a couple, who have traveled the world with their large 4×4 vehicle. They say it’s quite easy to travel on through Mauretania and all the way down to Senegal. Hmmmm, maybe some time. But we’d need more time than our normal 6-8month window of traveling. They’d taken a couple of years to travel down to Senegal and then take a ferry (with their vehicle!) to Argentina and made it all the way up to Alaska. They spoke about their 25 year old daughter, who is married and with child and a good job, who accused them of having abandoned her. It’s not easy for the children to understand their parents’ travels, we have found that too. This kind of traveling is not a holiday, as some might think. In fact, we work more than we would at home. In my case, there is all the administrative work related to organising the various events I run in a year (amounting to about 20 hours of desk work per week), plus about two months per year of teaching workshops and at festivals abroad. There is the daily physical routine of yoga to maintain our bodies for the times when an intense phase of dancing and teaching hits us and there is my daily instrumental practise. Then there is writing the blog, which in the case of Morocco may one day make it’s way into book-form. We also get involved in farm work wherever help may be needed, mucking out, mending walls and fences, cutting hedges clearing the undergrowth, planting, hoeing etc.
Frank makes a lot of marmalade, which gives us an opportunity to reciprocate the locals’ generosity with something home made. In Europe he also gets quite a bit of massage work. The van is ideal: the massage table fits perfectly and a quick blasting of our wood burner cranks the temperature indoors up to over 25 degrees.
Living in the van is also connected with some daily physical activity, such as finding and cutting wood, sourcing water etc. It’s a different life, but after 4 years of living it, I wouldn’t call it a holiday by any description. Yes, we are in a camper van, yes, we travel, but that is where the similarities stop.
I’m not complaining though. It’s fab. Today, my office looks out over the sea, tomorrow I hear the frogs croak by the side of a little stream, or I’m overlooking a peaceful campsite. When I’ve had enough of sitting still, I take the bike and ride along the promenade, feeling the spray of the sea in my face and the wind in my hair.
This particular beach is under army surveillance. In fact, the next few days show us that the whole of this coast is heavily guarded by the military. We get talking to a soldier early one morning, who tells us they are on the look-out for drug traffickers and for emigrants attempting to cross the sea.
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