FAR FAR AWAY, MOROCCO, STORYTELLING
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MARRAKECH WRAP-UP & HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD ONE MACAROON AT A TIME.

Marrakech - Pure Life Experiences - Midnight Blue Elephant - Annika Ziehen - Marocco - 1

While I haven’t even unpacked my suitcase from my Morocco trip yet (in fact I’m still on a train to Hamburg while I write this), I am already planning my next journey. Which, while I think that is what most avid travelers do, is a bad habit. While it may prevent me from post holiday depression, it also prevents me from post holidays reflections. So while I was officially only in Marrakech to attend a conference, Pure Life Experiences, so much has actually happened and I need to reflect on that: things I liked, things I learned, things I could have done better, people I have met, and how I have changed through it all. While I would have liked a cape, Pure wanted to promote the idea that you don’t need one in order to be a superhero, that each one of us has the ability to change worlds in our own small ways.

A week is probably too short to change the world, but I think you can start, especially when taken out of your usual habitat. Actually, scratch that, I think even life altering changes actually happen in one moment to a next, so a week could be plenty of time.

While the world overall still looks and feels the same, I’m just a little changed. I learned just a few things I didn’t know before about me, about Marrakech, and life in general.

Marrakech - Pure Life Experiences - Midnight Blue Elephant - Annika Ziehen - Marocco - 1People in Marrakech are incredibly friendly and helpful. I never felt unsafe or harassed, even when walking through the medina at night. A teenage boy called out to me on my way to the airport Hey baby, I will miss you!. I was old enough to be his mother, so I laughed at him; that was the worst ‘harassment’ that happened to me ever in Morocco.

I hate traveling with heavy luggage and having to rely on others to help me with my suitcase makes me feel really insecure. Since I went for a conference I thought I needed more options for parties, meetings, quad biking, and roomy pants to hide the stolen macaroons in, but next trip I will remember to take at least a third less than I think I need.

Marrakech - Pure Life Experiences - Midnight Blue Elephant - Annika Ziehen - Marocco - 1

While I was never a candles and bubble bath kind of girl, I changed my mind after seeing 12.000 candles lit at the Royal Palm for our welcome party. I had this number confirmed by the manager and learned they even have an official candle lighter, a job I would not wish on anybody.

Marrakech - Pure Life Experiences - Midnight Blue Elephant - Annika Ziehen - Marocco - 1

A camel tried to nibble my knee while we were watching fireworks, which sounds a bit like the dog ate my homework, but it really did happen. I think camels like me as it has happened twice now. I did make me feel very appreciated, because I’m really insecure about my knees at times.

I never assume that people are out to get me or try to rip me off. While that might be naïve and they may in fact do exactly that, I like that I still have a trusting nature and it has yet to be disappointed.

Macaroons are a food group. And luckily the French art of making them has been preserved in Morocco.

Marrakech - Pure Life Experiences - Midnight Blue Elephant - Annika Ziehen - Marocco - 1

The world is a big place and there is much to see. I just added another twenty-something destinations on an already very long list. Not counting the places I have already been to and want to return. Thinking about that makes me feel slightly panicky – how will I make it to all of them in just one lifetime?

Marrakech - Pure Life Experiences - Midnight Blue Elephant - Annika Ziehen - Marocco - 1

I was also lucky enough to have very interesting conversations with people from all over the world during the conference and various activities they had scheduled for us. I met a 2-star French chef, a Moroccan Ayurvedic cosmetician, and a Mauritian hotel owner. I talked to Romanians, Madagascans, a Nepalese father with his daughter, a Bhutanese woman, and a lady from a ranch in Montana; an Indian girl from the Arctic, a Turkish cowboy, an Austrian in Cuba, and a German girl in Chile. I shared lovely moments with people I’d usually get star struck with namely David de Rothschild, editors from Conde Nast Traveller, and Lisa Lindblad. I listened and I talked and actually tried to listen some more.

Marrakech - Pure Life Experiences - Midnight Blue Elephant - Annika Ziehen - Marocco - 1

In the end I was affirmed, again, that there is more that connects us than divides us, regardless of where we come from or where we want to go to. Ultimately we are all looking for the same: health, food, human connection, and a little slice of happiness in life.

But unless you throw a whole bunch of different people together for business as happened in our case, you’ve got to travel to realize that. In order to change the world you’ve got to see it first. But mind you, sometimes traveling starts by getting out of the house and talking to your neighbor.

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