I get a lot of questions about my adventure and I realized that I have been less than forthcoming for those of you who are following along on the blog.
So here are some of the details that will help put some structure around my plans, leaving me perhaps a little less crazed in your minds….or more. That’s up to you.
Living Arrangements : My house is for sale. It needed to be sold. It was a great investment and it has served me well. Yes it is beautiful but for some reason its never been my favorite place. I’m ok to let it go. My crafty-bordering-on-genius real estate agents (www.davidandrewnicholson.com) are keeping it as an exclusive over the holidays, and will plunk a sign on the lawn in late January. If it is still available then. If the house sells after I am away, I have hired a friend to manage the details of closing up the house. It will be minimal.
In the near term, I will be moving my things into a friends basement apartment (yup – Craig) and he will have the benefit of an empty rented suite and I will have the benefit of a Canadian address, a place for my stuff and a place to come back to. (OK – so there IS a safety net.)
Once I arrive in Marrakech I will be staying for a week or so at a familiar hotel. In a familiar area. (Remember I was in Marrakech for 6 nights on the last trip.) There I will be well looked after, I will catch up on sleep, get my bearings, meet up with friends and look around for a more permanent place. I plan to rent an apartment in an area called Geuliz – which is central, Frenchified and westernized. That may change, but we will start there and see what happens. I expect to find a place for 600€ – 800€. My hotel at LHR is $245 Cdn for one night. My hotel in Marrakech is $333 Cdn for 5 nights. So.
Daisy : Don’t make me talk about Daisy. For now she is staying here. She will be staying with a friend while I am gone who will look after her and love her like her own. Daisy is not a great traveler and while she has flown before, she was not a fan of it. Weather and cabin temperature is a huge consideration, as is the route. Currently, it is very convoluted. I have to go into a hub, spend at least 10 hrs, then a hop, then Marrakech. Not cool with a little doggie. She deserves better. SO. Before I promote her to camel status, I will check out my living options, check out the city, look at care options for when I am traveling (because I am NOT going to North Africa to sit stationary in Marrakech), and see what I find out. I will investigate options for services to fly her over. I will look at direct flights to Casablanca from Dulles and other options. It’s time for me to go. It is not time for little Day-z. She will be much happier here without me than going through all that. Trust me. She’s delicate.
Work : Well. At the advice of friends over there, I am taking this whole thing one step at a time. I’m going over to hang out, see the city, live there and see if its the right fit for me. I will spend January and February hanging out with some friends, getting to know the city, learning to live like a local. I will take French classes because I need to learn French – pronto.
I plan to use the first few months to look at my options. On the one hand I will explore some options for longer term work. Perhaps I will market some private tour options to my friends and blog followers? Perhaps I will begin to develop my blog into a reference guide, sharing my experiences on local cooking classes, day trips, city tours and attractions. Which means I will be busy going to those places and doing those things. I would like to take a photography class, potentially in Essaouria. I would like to visit Fes, see my friend Jen in Casa and do some traveling around with her. I would like to learn more about Islamic art and design.
I would like to explore exporting of design related goods. I will look around closely at what that might look like and talk to some people who are doing just that. I have some contacts in Canada that I will communicate with and see if that has any legs.
I will also look at the tourism industry and see what the scoop is there. Maybe marketing and social media can be pursued. Maybe I should manage a riad? You never know. Maybe, just maybe, I will hate it and end up travelling to Europe looking for my next home. My point is – there are a lot of options. All things I could see when I was there and making a decision to return. All things that need more attention before decisions are made.
It sounds a little loosey goosey and scattered. It is. I plan to pull at threads and see which ones get pulled out and fall loose and which ones turn into a beautiful wrap that will gather me up and take on my way. Only time will tell how this adventure will unfold. My job now is to get there. And start looking around.
The plan when I arrive? Find a place. Make a plan. Every day I will explore something new. I plan to explore Marrakech and I plan to explore more of Morocco. I plan to make Berber friends through my Berber connections and I plan to make western friends through my western connections and by meeting up with other expats. I plan to meet people in my French lessons. I plan to look up some people that have been mentioned to me. I plan to look up some people who have already traveled this path (I’m not the first to do this) and see what I can learn from them. I plan to keep busy and engaged. And see what happens next.
I also plan to return to Canada in the summer. I don’t think I will stay for Ramadan this time. Nor the summer. Hell I broke into a full body sweat when it hit 14 degrees the other day. I will not be staying in the desert in August. I might make it out west for a period of time. We’ll just see – that’s a long way into the future. The bright, shiny, happy, fun, engaged and sparkling future.