Chill vibes only

It’s been a while since I wrote, hasn’t it? Well, there’s been a life that needed living. After a whirlwind month of movement across Spain, I found myself in new surroundings. It’s a big place, but I’ve been wanting to reach Africa for such a long time and it finally happened when I landed down in Marrakech, Morocco over three months ago.

What has happened in these months is a whole lotta of chillin and livin.



I had a driver waiting for me at the airport in Marrakech, and we immediately made our way out of town to the ocean. I had booked a month in another coliving/coworking spot in a tiny surf town on the south coast.

Tamraght is a wonderfully unknown little village trying desperately to stay that way. You can see that tourism is starting to encroach and I pray that it will be kind to this beautiful place when it fully engulfs it. This is a surfer’s paradise, especially for beginners such as myself. Long, consistent waves of mostly mellow proportion crash into the 5km Long Beach that stretches from Tamraght to neighboring Tagahzout.

However, I have to admit that I didn’t immediately fall in love with it. At first, it felt very touristy. There aren’t really that many tourists, but since the town is so small it felt like we were everywhere. Don’t take this the wrong way. I fully understand and admit that I, myself, am also a tourist. But when your first impression is a vegan juice cafe as you exit your taxi, it does put you off a bit.

Over the next several days, that feeling subsided and I came to find a place not geared for tourism, but essentially living despite it. There is one main road that splits the beach from the town, and it also divides the tourists from the locals. Once you cross over into town, you find a place unconcerned with the random strangers wandering about.

So I joined in on living life. A slow life. A very, very slow life. Kasbari house, my accommodation, was a perfect blend of nomads and surfers, all just taking things as they come, living in the moment. The crown jewel of Kasbari is the rooftop terrace, which we lovingly call The Nest.


The Nest was always a relaxing mix of work and play. People were taking uni courses, writing their thesis or working on their business plans. It’s also where morning coffee, afternoon naps and evening yoga happen. At night, The Nest was often stuffed full of people telling stories, playing games and indulging in Moroccan chocolate (IYKYK).

Days slid by effortlessly. Coffee and a book, some hours at the beach, a little surf. Afternoons were reserved for a refreshing Jus d’Avocat, the most heavenly of drinks made from milk, almonds, dried dates and avocados. These were often accompanied by msemen, a sort of Moroccan pancake filled with soft cheese and honey.

Sunsets, the daily event that makes me think about how big this planet is and how infinitely small I am on it, were the stuff of legend. Whether watched from the beaches or up the mountain behind town, each one was a chance to pause and be thankful for this life I’m living.

Fueling my growing love for this town were the incredible people I met in Kasbari. Much like previous magical locations I’ve found on this adventure, I openly wondered whether these places are a vortex of amazing energy that attracts the people you meet or if it’s the people that make the places feel so magical. I reckon it’s somewhere in between, a blend of both. I think time is also part of the equation, as it allows people to connect on a deeper level, unburdened by the passing of time. However it happens, I’m here for it and ultimately so incredibly grateful for it.

This was also the second year in a row that I’ve spent the holidays outside the US. Last year, I was alone in the beautiful city of Tel Aviv. This year I was surrounded by friends. We had a gift exchange and a New Year’s dance party, but it was also so great to be living outside of the capitalistic bubble that surrounds the States at this time of year.

One of my main motivating factors for coming to Tamraght was to learn to surf. I’ve been wanting to try for so long. Having an entire month in one of the best places in the world to learn sounded absolutely perfect. However, upon arriving, I found myself lacking the motivation to actually try it. I waited more than 10 days before I finally got around to it.

And? Well, let’s just say … it’s not for me. It was super fun and I’m glad I tried, but I don’t see a long-term future between surfing and myself. It’s a lot of work for very little reward, especially in the beginning. I can see how people get addicted to it. Being in the water and learning to feel the power of the waves is an incredible feeling. That said, what I realized was that to get even decent at it, I would need to dedicate time to it. You need a serious amount of reps to even begin to feel functional.

Ultimately I just didn’t love it enough. Unlike bouldering which I fell for immediately, surfing didn’t grab my heart … and that’s ok. I’ll definitely do it again someday, somewhere else in the world, but it’s not something I’m going to seek out or plan my travels around.


One of my unspoken hopes for these adventures was that I would make lifelong friends from around the world that I could run into in new and different places in the future. After almost two years, that’s starting to become reality.

When I was in Sofia last year, there was an amazing community of people that I joined, and it’s how I ended up in Tamraght in the first place. I knew two people that were currently there and that made the decision to go so much easier. Then another friend from Sofia, Terry, messaged me to say he was coming to Morocco for the second time, likely to Essaouira. I talked him into coming to Tamraght for a week, and then he talked me into heading up to Essaouira with him and his partner, Saffron, for the following month.

Reuniting with friends from my travels? Check. Making last-minute plans with said friends? Check. Unspoken hopes achieved? Check.

Essaouira is analogous to Alicante, Spain to me. A sleepy coastal town that is unknown to most of the world yet well known to a particular country. Alicante to the English, Essaouira to the French.

We rented a quaint little apartment five minutes walk to the beach and 15 minutes from the medina. It’s always so great to stay outside of the main tourist areas and get a better sense of daily life in a place.

There were wonderful little veggie stands and markets close, and cafes abound. My favorite place was Maison Gourmande, our local boulangerie. Many a late morning was spent here over quiche, pan suisse and cappuccino. The medina was the perfect size. Big enough to explore, yet small enough to not get lost. I enjoyed getting deep into the back alleys and finding the cutest cafe for tea or coffee.

I also found it nice to have an apartment but be sharing with friends as well. It’s a different way to live together versus coliving. A bit more intimate, if you will. You get to know people even more and I hope to do this more in the future. You get to see how people operate throughout the day. Morning, noon and night. And I couldn’t have asked for better roommates than Terry and Saff. We meshed really well and everything was homey and comfortable. We explored the city, worked a lot (maybe too much) and shared so many laughs.

A month in Essaouira would have been too long if I had been alone, but having friends made it so wonderful. We even had time to have visitors. We got visits from Hugo, Felix and Catalina, whom we had gotten to know down in Tamraght. And fate continues to shine its light on a friendship I made in 2022.

For the third year in a row, and in our sixth location, my dear friend Steph and I ran into each other. We first met in 2022, in Istanbul and kept running into each other throughout Türkiye. We crossed paths again in early 2023 when she passed through Tel Aviv. At that point, I figured it would be our last time seeing each other.

Steph, the force of nature that she is, was on an incredible journey, cycling solo from Norway to Cape Town, South Africa. But serendipity prevailed, and at the completion of her wild cycling journey, she decided to relax in Morocco to celebrate. A post on Instagram asking if she had any friends currently in Morocco had me replying with an enthusiastic “HELL YES!” Turns out she was coming to Essaouira in only a few days!

I have met and made incredible friends and I’m more and more frequently finding myself planning future travels around seeing them all again. It fills my heart so full and keeps me excited for the future.

Rabat, Chefchaouen and Tangier

Now well two months into my Moroccan adventure and I’ve essentially not left the beach. With our rental in Essaouira coming to an end, I was ready to do a little bit of rapid-fire exploration.

I aimed to get to Chefchaouen but I wasn’t super keen on a 14-hour bus ride from Essaouira. So I decided I’d break it up into three manageable stays.

So I headed first to the capital, Rabat. What a wonderful city. It’s a beautiful mix of tradition and modernity. Seeing sleek trams glide by the centuries-old medina walls was a beautiful juxtaposition. Ironically, I was still on the ocean and beach sunsets are still amazing.

I wandered the city, finding contemporary art museums, botanical gardens and stunning ancient mosques. It was glorious to see so much greenery as well. Much of the south of the country is brown and red, sand and dirt. In the north, it’s a lush playground of green fields and vegetation.

Four days on, I headed into the Rif mountains, to The Blue Pearl, Chefchaouen. Nestled into the foothills below the imposing Mount J Tissouka, Chefchaouen is awash in blue streets and houses. Wandering the narrow maze of streets and corridors, your senses are overwhelmed. Bright colors, pungent smells and shouts of merchants assault you from every direction, relentless in their desire for your attention.

Moroccan hashish is world-renowned, and Chefchaouen is the capital of this industry. Acquiring this delicacy is possibly easier here than in Portland, where it seems every second store is a dispensary. Opportunities for acquisition are plentiful, if perhaps a bit more … adventurous.

To escape the sensory overload, I spent a couple of my days hiking up into the mountains that surround the town. Only steps outside the city, your senses are greeted by the wildflowers, goats, sheep and the farmers of the famed industry. The views of the town and the valley from the surrounding peaks are exquisite at all hours of the day.

On one of my hikes, with my acrophobia in overdrive, I suddenly found calm in an amazing family of six. Children scaling the rock cliffs above the city like it was no big deal. I chatted with the father, Ryan, for a bit. They were from Utah and decided to exit the rat race and travel around the world with the family. Amazingly adventurous and endlessly inspiring.

The next stop on the whirlwind tour of northern Morocco was the storied city of Tangier. Separated by the Straight of Gibraltar from Europe, Tangier was a glorious mix of Moroccan and European life. It’s a bustling place in every sense of the word. The medina is full of that historic vibe and grifting hustle, while the surrounding modern city hums with a contemporary style of commerce.

My favorite place in the city was no doubt the Phoenician Tombs. An ancient burial ground, set high on the cliffs, with awe-inspiring views of the strait and Europe beyond. I imbibed in this view each night at sunset. The idea of seeing one continent from another makes me feel so small in this giant world.

While my time in Morocco was coming to a close, I still had one last adventure left in this country. It was an adventure of childhood dreams and was easily one of the highlights of my life so far. So epic is the adventure it deserves its own post, which I’ll write soon.

For now, I’m left to reflect on three wonderful months in this beautiful country. My first foray into Africa was a rousing success. This is easily one of the friendliest countries I’ve visited. The people are always so happy and joyful, you can’t help but have your spirits lifted. Incredible food, beautiful landscapes and plenty of smiling faces.

I tried new things, went on amazing adventures and made more incredible forever friends. All this pushes Morocco right up to the top of the list of my favorite places in the world.