Shea Marie

rabat37web
One of the best things about what I do is that I get to travel so much and experience other parts of the world, cultures, and ways of life. I am so thankful and blessed to have these amazing, eye-opening opportunities that without my blog would have never been possible. Most recently (if you follow me on instagram you know) I spent the past 10 days in Morocco, Africa.
Although it’s North Africa (and of course much different than southern areas) it was my first time in Africa and something I kept pinching and reminding myself of the whole trip. It really is a world away and wasn’t easy getting there from California that’s for sure! A 12 hour flight to Germany, followed by a layover and another 4 hour flight to Casablanca, and then a several hour drive seemed like an eternity. But eventually we made it to our first stop in Morocco: Rabat.
I heard so many mixed things about visiting Morocco, to be honest many people advised me to be very cautious; saying that a blonde American woman isn’t so safe there. I do agree that being a blonde can make traveling to other countries a bit more difficult- you always stand out, you always get the most stares and god forbid if anything strange were to happen (aka getting robbed) a thin blonde woman would probably be an easy target. But truth be told there’s blondes all over the world, from of course Scandinavia, to South Africa, Australia and even Italy. Also being American we are advised to be very careful in predominantly Muslim countries, that we are (for lack of better words) “unwelcome”.
So as I headed to Morocco as excited as I was, I was precautions. What I found was completely different than I expected. I found a beautiful welcoming country full of culture, and wonderful people who were kind and accepting. “Where are you from?” people in the streets would ask. “California” Every single response was a HUGE smile “Wowwww I love California, I hope to visit there one day.” Followed by questions on if I was an actress or if I knew anyone famous, what Hollywood is like, etc etc. Every single person I met in Morocco, was so welcoming and helpful I truly felt touched. It’s funny how we have these misconceptions.
I’ve traveled a lot, all over Europe, Central America, South America but I needed this trip. I needed to find out the truth about Morocco with my own eyes. I think as long as you travel with a group, are safe, smart and respectful you will be fine wherever you travel in the world. As much as you are interested in learning about their culture they are curious about you. That’s the beauty of travel, being eye to eye with someone who has a life completely different from your own, and the realization that this person so different from you is at the same time so similar.
One of my main concerns about going to Morocco was what to wear! I heard SO many different things about the amount of “covered’ one should be. While of course there’s a lot of women covered traditionally, Morocco is also becoming very Westernized and in the large cities there’s just as many women dressed as you or I. I opted to wear mostly long thin maxi dresses and always carried a scarf around with me incase we went into a mosque, and although (truth be told) I would have absolutely felt safe in shorts and a crop top I wanted to be respectful of the culture. Even in the markets one day (where everyone advised me to stay covered) I wore shorts with a long kimono and it was completely fine. Of course I got stares (I was getting them anyway because of my hair and super pale skin) but no one was ever disrespectful or out of line. If anything they were intrigued to ask me where I was from and find out more about me. So what I would advise here is that you really can wear what you want, but respect them and they will respect you.
I, along with photographer Jones Crow took some 7000 photos of our journey. This is photo diary 1 from Rabat: the capital of Morocco, situated along the North African coast. We stayed at a beautiful beachfront resort L’Amphritite Palace about a 20 minutes drive west of Rabat and then took a driver into the city each day. We walked around the old part of the city, attended the Mawazine music festival, explored the Chellah ruins and the Hassan Mosque. Hope you love the photo diary. And stay tuned for the next diary as we head to Marrakech.

Photos by: Jones Crow (and some by me)

June 12, 2014

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