It's been close to two months since, but Morocco is still on my mind constantly. In our annual school trips, we have the privilege of exploring a variety of countries, in all sort of locales across the world. The two countries I chose during my high school years were wonderfully different, yet equally rich; while I went Bhutan last year, this year was all about Morocco. The latter resonated with me more, perhaps because of the people, or simply because of the connection I felt to the country. Morocco shares the characteristics of my home nation, as well as a distinct quality about it, in that when you love a country like Morocco or India, you love it wholly. From the minute we landed in Casablanca, I was infatuated with the country's charm, which changed from city to city but was unwavering. The country's beautiful national flag peppered the streets, most of which resembled the charm in the classic movie designed to have taken place in Casablanca. Immediately, I was drawn to the aesthetic beauty of Morocco, but also to the culture lying underneath. Our trip was comprehensive in that we were exposed to the culture of Morocco on so many levels; from speaking to young Moroccan Muslims to exploring the Sahara desert with those who spend their lives there, we gained an understanding of a country that has no singular style of life. One thing that stunned me about Morocco was its extreme levels of diversity in so many respects, from the climate, to the geography, to the ethnicities. For example, the geography encompasses everything from the Atlantic Ocean to the Sahara desert to the mountain ranges (all of which we explored). The photographs above are a combination of my friend Janna's gorgeous pictures and my VSCO-cam edits.
Prior to this trip, which lasted for a little over a week, I knew very little about the country I was heading to. I was aware of the country's influence on designer Yves Saint Laurent, who called Marrakech home for many decades. The designer long declared his passion for the country, as well as the inspiration he drew from it in his own work. Aside from this, I was venturing into unknown territory. Two eight-hour flights later, Morocco seemed like the kind of place I would want to spend ample time in – something that became increasingly evident to me. Amongst my favorite parts was exploring the many cities, from Fez to Marrakech. Components of Moroccan culture became pinnacles of the trip: mint tea was consumed at least three times a day, bargaining in Moroccan markets seemed like the norm, and certain Arabic words were being used with ease. While speaking with Moroccan youth, one of whom is among the first female poets to perform across the country, I realized that the youth have combined Westernization with their traditional values, making for a beautiful balance. It was fascinating to hear their opinions on the government, religion, relationships, and everything in between. With every moment in the trip – from staying in the nomadic tents in the Sahara to traditional Moroccan 'riads', to riding camels and eating (way too much) delicious food – Morocco stole my heart in more ways than one.