If you are subscribed to my newsletter, you may already know about my next travel plans. For the rest of you, here’s an update!
I’d been procrastinating about cementing any plans after Paris, as I didn’t want to face the idea of leaving this glorious city. As always, my time here has flown by and I am more motivated to make plans for my return, rather than figure out what on earth I will be doing in the meantime while I am away.
For those of you who are not aware, I can only spend a maximum of three months in a Schengen region (AKA most of Europe) before I must leave the zone for a minimum of three months.
As I am learning French, I wanted to pick a French-speaking country for my three-month Schengen hiatus. While it would have been lovely to fly to Guadeloupe or French Guiana, Morocco is a heck of a lot closer – and cheaper.
So, in a little less than two weeks, I will be flying into Marrakech. My flight was only €60, including baggage, which is a steal.
I will spend six days in Marrakech which will probably be enough, based on what I’ve heard about the city. I’m staying at a hostel which is €4 a night, including breakfast! I will save so much money, which is much needed after three months in Paris.
From there, I will take a train to the capital, Rabat, where I will spend one month with a host family. I will be studying French for 4.5 hours a day, five days a week, and only speaking French at home. Like in Guatemala, my host family will prepare all my meals for me. Considering I will be there during Ramadan, I’m sure I will lose weight again, haha!
After that, I haven’t quite decided what I’m doing. If I am happy with the set-up, I will likely extend my course and spend a solid three months studying, while of course working online as usual. I know a few people that have been to Rabat and only one has said anything bad about it, but I’ll have to see for myself.
In addition, I plan on camping out in the Sahara and I would also love to spend a month in Essaouira and/or Agadir. They are two beach towns that attract all the hippy surfer/yogi types. Although neither town has a language school, I’m sure I’ll be able to find a French tutor.
My time in Paris has been, frankly, crazy and I am very much looking forward to some much-needed relaxation. In Paris, I am hardly ever home, and whenever I am, I am buried in work. I am always rushing from place to place and I know my stress levels are far too high.
Regardless of where I am in Morocco, I have a feeling I will be very relaxed.
The main thing people have warned me about is staying safe while travelling on my own in an Islamic country. My language school has already sent me an information pack, telling me to cover my shoulders and knees at all times (which ought to be fun in the peak of summer!), and never be outside after 9pm (this will be strange after my time in Paris, where I am usually out until 4 or 5am!).
I’ve been doing this long enough now, and I’ve travelled to some places generally considered to be unsafe such as Turkey, Guatemala and even Naples, so I think I will be just fine.
I’ve only briefly looked at the gym facilities available in Rabat (from my quick search, it appears that there is just one gym, but it still looks better than what I’ve been using in Paris!). Funnily enough, it didn’t even dawn on me to check to see if there was a gym until a few days after I had enrolled in the course and paid for my housing. And I have no idea if there are gyms in Essaouira or Agadir. Maybe I will turn into a hippy yogi. My priorities have clearly shifted!
After Morocco, I plan to travel back to France via Barcelona. There is a festival in Barcelona in August which I’ve been wanting to go to for years which, as fate would have it, begins three days after I’m allowed back in the Schengen zone.
From Barcelona, I can take a three-hour train to Toulouse. I originally wanted to spend a month there, but now that I have set up a new life, home and friendship circle in Paris, I am kind of in a hurry to get back, so Toulouse may only be a short visit.
I do want to live in Nice and Marseille at some point, but it’s so hard to step outside of Paris. I’ve travelled to many cities and none has touched me the way Paris has.
My only other problem is that I was planning on spending some time in London during my Schengen break, and one of my close friends from Australia has invited me to Ireland in July, but I have no idea how either of those things will realistically fit into my plans.
My top priority right now is to become fluent in French, and going to London/Ireland won’t really help with that (although three of my London friends are fluent!).
So, I have solid plans for the next couple of months, but then it’s all up in the air.
Have you ever been to Morocco? Do you have any suggestions for Morocco (or even Africa, more broadly)?