happy holidays. i hope it has been a restful season. i’m making the most of the time off and the cosy days in by reflecting on what the year has taught me through travel. each trip has taught me a few things about myself, the people i travel with and the world. in this post i want to share what travelling has taught me this year.
this year i didn’t travel as much as i would like. but i did see three very different parts of the world.
paris in february.
morocco in march.
belfast in june.
morocco, march 2018. first time in Africa.
- being present |
i started 2018 adamant that i was going to see all that i manifested. and i did, very early on in year. i remember recognising that all that i had written down, affirmed and prayed for, was mine. it was humbling. but in amara fashion, i found myself sometimes thinking about a future that wasn’t guaranteed rather than enjoying the present moment. on the penultimate day of our marrakech travels, i felt as peaceful as i ever had. i put it down to being present and content with my situation. i was travelling outside of europe, starting my first graduate job and very at peace with it all. life was good and morocco was teaching me stillness. the key is gratitude. in 2017 my word was gratitude which allowed me to be open and still enough to notice my blessings in 2018.
travel with someone you love.
try and learn as much of the local language as possible. i felt confident travelling to morocco knowing that i had some French to get me around. but once i actually got to morocco i realised how much better it would have been to prioritise Arabic more. for me, it is respectful to learn the language of the land rather than the language of the coloniser. it is definitely helpful to have French, for reading signs and menus etc. for communication purposes, i think it is better to use the native language – Arabic. i’ll practice this with my visits to Senegal (God willing) – i will have French but i will prioritise Wolof to communicate with the people.
trust your intuition|
on the final night of our Marrakech travels we found ourselves safe, but definitely needing to escape a situation. in our many times making the rounds in the souks, we made promises, all of which we tried to fulfil. we promised to have moroccon tea with one of the stallholders. it was free tea and a cool motive, there were loads of people still out and a buzz in the evening air.
as we had our tea with the stallholder and his friends, we noticed that we were the only women out. one older woman came over at one point and said “it’s late”. and in the plainest most aunty way possible let us know that travellers or not, as young women we were not supposed to be here. we got the message and tried to leave subtly. but it wasn’t easy and unfortunately the conversations shifted and intentions became a bit clearer. talks of husbands, and meeting moroccon mothers in the morning and what ‘english girls like’ were some of the conversations we had to slip out of.
i guess the lesson was to pay attention. it wasn’t unsafe and i don’t like to believe i would put myself in unsafe situations as a traveller or at home. but it was a matter of sussing a situation a little heavier. intuition kicked-in but i really walked away feeling like i could have avoided that. we had the best moroccon tea of the trip though.
book with other cities in mind. i learnt this in 2017 but it was good to revisit this lesson in 2018. book your flight in the less popular city and then travel to the big city. we flew to Rabat and then caught the train to Marrakech. it was the best decision as we got to experience more cities and compare. we also underestimated time and nearly missed our flight home but no matter. it was and is a good idea (with better time keeping in 2019 amen).
still take time out for selfcare when travelling. i’m used to regular journal sessions, it helps me understand myself and pay closer attention to how i am feeling. this shouldn’t change because i’m not at home. a favourite moment of mine was the night before my 22nd birthday, writing letters to myself a walk away from the eiffel tower.
belfast, june 2018. first time travelling for a day.
you can have an amazing time experiencing a city in a day.
i really lost motivation to create content this year. about mid-year. about the the time we travelled to Belfast in June. thankfully i had someone to document the day with me so that later i could come back to tell the story. but in moments like this, 2018 taught me to document. if only for myself. and not to overshare or overcompensate. but to document because we have seasons where we don’t want to create. and we have seasons where we have no motivation. but ultimately in 2018, i learnt that there is a time for everything. so document for when that time comes.
paris, february 2018. city i love.
don’t be afraid to revisit the cities that you love. Paris is a city i have decided i will revisit over and over. i think that as a traveller, there is so much more praise set on the number of places that you travel to. it seems better to visit new places – as many of them as possible. but i think it is important to experience the same place in a new way. there was nothing greater than seeing three different sides to Paris with three different sets of people.
the first time i visited, i went with a group for Afropunk paris and had a day to explore by myself. on the second trip i travelled for a collaboration with a Parisian collective to create a poetry and dance piece. i saw the Parisian’s Paris where i experienced Africa in Paris and finally fell in love with afrobeats. the final time i travelled with my mum and sister for a birthday trip. it was the most beautiful weekend of my 2018. we did all the touristy things i’ve been meaning to do like visit louvre and the eiffel tower at night. making new memories in familiar spaces is a new travel goal of mine.
thank you for reading what i write. it has been a joy to share my 2018 trips and memories. look out for more in 2019 and subscribe to stay updated.