On Freedom, Escapism And What Long-Term Travel Isn’t

Travel forces you to grow, there’s no doubt about that. Travel ripped off my clothes and scrubbed me raw like a Moroccan woman in a local hammam, splashing the sleep from my eyes as she flung buckets of tepid water at my face. It didn’t force me to grow in a #travelphotooftheday #livingmybestlife kind of way. No sir. Travel took me apart and taught me a motherlode about freedom, including that it wasn’t an escape from myself.

Sometimes adventure falls flat. This is DEFINITELY not one of those stories.

Dear Morocco,

It was the 15th of December 2015. I sat at the window seat of a tiny Ryanair jet and traced our progress as we glided thousands of meters over the Strait of Gibraltar towards Spain. Two months earlier I had found myself on a ferry in the middle of the same strait headed in the opposite direction with Matthew, my brand new travel partner. I’d had no notion of the life-changing adventure to come; the lessons I would learn about trust, fear and gratitude, the courage I would discover in the ferry car hold upon arrival in Morocco, trembling as I gripped a hitchhiking sign; or that I would fall in love with you, with the gold-haired wonder next to me and with Life again and again. I leant my head against the side of the plane and my eyes filled with tears as you disappeared behind me. My heart both swelled with gratitude and cracked with longing