I rose with the sun, showered, and packed the last of my belongings. My driver collected me before breakfast and guided me through the empty alleyways to the waiting van.
Speaking no English, he drove the entire time in silence, with a hood pulled up over his head, and low to his eyes. The streets were paved and modern, and not even a bump interrupted the solitude. I wonder who he is, where is he from, and what is his family like? We all have stories to tell, and I wonder what his are.
This trip has passed by spectacularly quickly, even for me, but it has been therapeutic. My work has been busy with demands physical, temporal, and spiritual, and I have been increasingly burned out.
I have been hanging on to content with the barest of fingernails, and the strain of that effort tears away at my fingertips and wears at the soul that lies just beneath. It is a terrible feeling that has been draining me of joy and hope.
This perhaps hasn’t been the most exciting of trips, but my time here has returned both joy and hope to me. It has been therapeutic.
I have felt no pressure during this vacation, and in some respects that makes this a different type of journey. It was certainly brief, so as a result, while I would have liked to leave Marrakech and explore some of the other great cities of Morocco, in the end I decided I probably would have needed one more night here to find time for such a trip. Instead of trying to do too much with too little time, I settled down and limited myself to a day trip in the country.
And in my scant days here, I lost myself, perhaps more than intended, in the souks. And there, as I wandered aimlessly and ruminated on work, I found myself again, and then I successfully forgot about work.
In regards to Marrakech: while there is history here, it isn’t as extensive as some of the places I have visited. And there aren’t massive museums here, so I have had time to return to the riad and rest during the afternoon, and I have had time to relax in the sun on the rooftop where we also take our breakfast.
With my optimism renewed I return at last to Michigan, where our indolent winter-spring transition persists still, as do the stressors of work. But I will take with me the memories of sunlight on my face, the brisk breezes brushing my skin, the incredible people I have met, and the spectacular foods I have eaten.
And I will hold onto those memories when the workdays and weeks stretch long and sap my spirit.
I am returning home, but the road always beckons. A month isn’t long to wait my friends, until I soon return again. And when that time comes, the next, very challenging, expedition will begin.