Growing up in Southern California, I think almost all of my summers were spent on the lake in Havasu. They were fun and all the things summer vacations are made of for little kids. My parents love their RV and pontoon boat, and still do, but I got my first opportunity to fly across the Atlantic in 2009 when my future-husband took me to meet his family in Morocco. Thirteen years later and now a family of four, we usually will fly from Las Vegas once a year so my children can live in their culture and experience life in their second home.
This was my first trip back in 3 years, and the first ever as a full-time boudoir photographer and small business owner. What a luxury that was to experience and I will never forget not having to ask for the time off! This is a first for me, and I feel a huge sense of accomplishment. With that, I planned to spend 5 weeks, giving my attention to my family and all the things I loved and missed the most about traveling abroad. Bet you didn’t know this was going to be a part-time travel blog as well as a boudoir photography blog huh? LOL, just for today, but it will be worth it!
So what do you think is one thing I will probably never do in Morocco? Well what’s the first thing you do when you leave the airport? Drive! Wow! I was not prepared in 2009 and still today in 2022. I really do pride myself on being an excellent driver from SoCal, I learned with the best of them and there is literally no comparison to the mounds of traffic we deal with there, or so I thought, but in Casablanca, imagine three lanes and then pretend that those aren’t really lines, but more just suggestions for the four cars lined up and the stream of mopeds that fill the spaces between the cars already tightly compacted together in the city where the population is nearly four million. It is utter chaos, and fills me with dread and anxiety. Eat or be eaten is the mentality here for the constant stop-n-go traffic. It’s definitely something to get used to and I’m always surprised at how many people do it everyday.
So where do you think is the first place we stop on our way from the airport? Bravo to you if you guessed the grocery store to fill up the apartment! Even though I’m on vacation, it’s still everyday living with water, food, toiletries, etc when you are there for five weeks. Let me tell you, it was lovely to go to the market and walk out with a cart full of groceries and toiletries and only pay $47 for everything. Going to Target or Smith’s and spending hundreds of dollars every week and month for basic necessities has become so normal, but it shouldn’t be!
Our second stop in Casablanca is always to the pastry shop for all of my favorite treats. Paul and Amoud are the best in town. The crusts are flaky and buttery and the cream filling is sweet, and there are endless rows of them to fulfill all of their customers’ needs. To taste them would be to taste heaven. My kids love the madelines and the elephant ears are unlike anything I’ve ever had. But dessert here is usually served before dinner, and that to me is everything.
One of my favorite things about Morocco is that they are a culture that practices time outs for lunch and sweet cat naps around noon. The city begins to stir again around 3pm and out come these desert pastries paired perfectly with Moroccan mint tea. All of the Moroccan aunties love this pastime and when I tell you it’s an endless assortment of melt in your mouth goodness, believe me. Their joy is to feed you, and feed you they will! I have never experienced afternoon snacks like this before, and now, I really don’t want to have it any other way!
This is their time to catch up and appreciate the closeness of family. Spending time over food is their favorite family togetherness and it’s mine too. Not to mention, their tea is divine with enough caffeine to keep you up all night if not drank in moderation. I learned very quickly, no tea for me after 12pm. Also because of these desert pastries, dinner is pushed back to about 8pm every night, and is a much lighter meal than what we are used to in the States. That’s ok with me because it’s the perfect time to step outside and watch the sun go down off the Atlantic Ocean. The sky has a way with colors unlike anything else, and their sunsets just seem more brilliant and vibrant off the water. Art is all around us in these little paintings we take in our minds and with our cameras to hold on to forever.
My everyday routine became like my everyday routine in Las Vegas, minus the sexy photo shoot and boudoir photography ideas. But I did start to dream about what it would be like to pick up my business and move it there, to a country where women are starting to really come up and make their mark. Even when on vacation, I would get lost in the thoughts of how many women could use this experience to boost their confidence and take back control of their mind and how they see themselves. Driving by the storefronts, I could imagine a beauty photography studio downtown, showing women in creative and timeless ways that they can hold to last for forever. All of this day dreaming made me eager to return home and go to work on all those boudoir photography ideas I was dreaming up because life in Morocco is not much different from life anywhere. My passion is still the same no matter where I live everyday. I just want to be a boudoir photographer living my dream and not asking for time off. It’s definitely not too much to ask for.