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This summer presented me with a unique possibility and a travel that I would not have encountered on if it wasn’t for my lovely friend Kerry getting married and keeping me around Europe. I put two dates in my oh so empty calendar, one in Malaga at the end of August spending a weekend with all the lovely ladies from Scotland and the Wedding in Ireland mid September. The whole summer fell into place when I got the incredible opportunity to borrow a car and therefor embark on a journey that has never been on my mind.

With all the trouble you might read in another piece I wrote I found myself at the port of Tarifa early July trying to figure out the confusing situation if there would be a boat leaving in the morning or not. Together with a bunch of Moroccan-Dutch Families I patiently waited for the staff to clear the situation and finally they sold us tickets for the early morning ferry, and I went to find a parking spot nearby to get a couple of hours of sleep before crossing to Morocco.

On the other side of the channel my loving partner was already waiting and after arriving in Tanger for a couple of days, enjoying the vibrant city and company, we started our big drive down to Dakhla in Western Sahara. The Dacia Lodgy that would be my transport and home for the next months was to a quatre occupied by a coffee machine and the equipment for a project we would be starting to build in his hometown. But it had all the essentials, and I wasn’t sorry not to be traveling by bus, avoiding the uncomfortable rides and negotiations at the station.

The first little leg of journey only took us a couple of hours south-east to the blue city to stock up on Moroccan chocolate. The lonely parking spot we mistook for the camping that had been recommended to us by the workers in my favourite café in Chefchaouen had a lovely view and a spring next to it where we got greeted by a herd of goats by their beloved water hole in the morning when we came to fill up the canister. At the time I didn’t fully appreciate the convenience and beauty of the place but finding similar spots around Marocco proved to be more difficult than expected. Maybe my wishes were too plentiful as I wanted to be in places lonely enough for me to be able to wash myself in the mornings without completely disrespectful to the culture of the people around me, I wished to be close to a body of water since water is life and sleeping in a dark car in the summer, I needed refreshment to feel myself. But the coast is busy in the summers and Nomads gather at the calm beach sites with their haimas fleeing the burning heat in the desert. The conflict with my own way of life and the strong believe that I need to be respectful to the place I am in was strong on this trip since I was not staying in the globalised hostel bubble but right in the local community. Just as on my trips before it was mere impossible for me to feel connected to most of the community and so I had a certain stress accompanying me throughout. Whenever we did find a beautiful, lonely place to park, police, gendarmerie, or military would come to kick us out because it supposedly was unsafe to be in. A couple of times we were threatened to get in serious trouble due some policemen making personal decisions their business and Morocco having strong rules when it comes to relations between foreigners and nationals. Luckily, we always got away with the disturbance and whatever we decided to keep from it, so as much as I don’t appreciate it, I accept they were just doing their twisted idea of a job.

The drive itself was absolutely incredible, days of rolling through the vast landscapes of the desserts, trough simple towns and along endless beach camps.

After dropping the coffee machine to a truck in Agadir we could extend the bed and had a scarcely equipped but well functional home and transport for the travel. It took us 2.177 kilometres mostly along the coast all the way onto the peninsular of Dakhla. In the towns along the way it got increasingly difficult to find vegetarian food and it shows that the vegi Tagines that were such a big part on my previous travel are in fact a tourist goody that is not really heard of by truly local places and even gets taken from the menu in Taghazout when Moroccan families outnumber international tourists there. My safest bet was usually pizza places which funnily enough always have a vegetarian pizza on the menu but feeling malnutrition after a short while living of omelette white bread and vegi pizza I opted with chicken dishes from time to time giving more variety in my diet.

When arriving in Dakhla we had a somewhat complicated but quite nice accommodation set up. Between my partners families home where we could spend time and had things to do but couldn’t really stay as we are due to cultural differences, and the lovely camping spot around 30 km down the lagoon near PK25Resort where we were spending most of the nights, a few times we chose spots closer to the city to reduce the commute but either were beautifully placed by the water and quiet during the nights. We therefore enjoyed the convenience of a big kitchen and living room as well as the freedom and scenery of camping life being as involved in or outside of society as much as we wanted to. I particularly loved the breakfasts in town at the small eatery on Rue Oued Nfise, almost every morning the lovely woman working there would provide us with mint tea, omelette, avocado juice and sometimes Zrig. Otherwise, we spend most of our time here working on the artist – café – project my caring partner is trying to set up in his neighbourhood. There are loads of people doing art and living unconventional lifestyles but there is no space or platform where they could connect, share, and meet like minded people so apparently most of the scene is quite ego controlled and secluded. The Zapatista Coffeeshop is hoping to change that, becoming a hub where skill share and communal art exploration can take place while people enjoy consciously chosen drinks and maybe the first vegan banana bread in the city.

Construction process in Morocco is not easy and ongoing to the day I write this, and in between scares availability of goods, pressure to bribe officials and contractors not turning up, it is nice to still see the place growing and already bringing people together in the way it intends to do after opening its doors fully.

My personal main struggle during my time here was definitely the language barrier. Not being able to communicate to the people around me drives me a certain kind of crazy and I know the reasons for that here were twofold and creating conflict within me making me feel isolated. I had great difficulty participating in conversations for I don’t know any of the dominant languages here also the culture is still quite strange to me. From the part of the local people, I often felt like there was no effort to include me what, in my perception comes back to the role of women here in general and my male partner being local just put me on the very outskirts of attention for interaction.

During my time in Morocco the plan to meet my brother manifested and I had to be back up in Spain around the 8th of August to start traveling with him for a while before heading over to Malaga for the much anticipated hen-due of my lovely friend back from my home in Edinburgh. Giving us about a week for the way, my partner was so amazing to embark with me on the long road back to Tanger. Not making as many stops as on the way down we arrived in Tanger with a couple of days to spare and enjoy some chill time without work, family, or social pressure. Ending our trip on a very relaxed note other than the fact that we could not sleep n our usual spot next to the park because there was a horrific wildfire going mental in the forests. Luckily our beautiful friend from the Lighthouse Hostel gave us a heads up and we moved on to a parking near Achakkar beach to be save. That night luckily only the military interrupted, compared to the other issues in our resting places a funny and almost kind encounter.