SILENCE OF THE SAHARA

While I was wandering around the winding streets of the medina, I got into a conversation with a local. I had just visited the impressive exhibition in the art museum Maison de la Photographie and was searching for a drink to cool me down. The signs in the museum directed me to a roof terrace, where I found a great spot near the bar. The bartender asked for my view on the exhibition and we started talking about the beauty of photography and my take on Marrakech.

Before she walked away from my table, she looked at me thoughtfully. A smile appeared on her face. ‘A retreat would be good for you’. She wrote down some details on a receipt and as she handed it to me, she said, 'Google it. You can experience Morocco in a completely different way’.

I took a leap of faith and signed up for a retreat.

As I sling my luggage over my back and wipe some sweat off my forehead, I realise I am quite nervous for this retrait. I look up and am warmly welcomed by a woman. She tells me about the culture she grew up in, that of the Tuareg people, and how I am going to immerse myself in the nomadic community for the next few days. She reads the mixture of excitement and enthusiasm from my face and nods. ‘You will love it', she says in broken English.

Surrounded by a mixed group of Tuareg men and women, I am told about the intention of the retreat. One of the men speaks passionately about the wisdom that nature contains. His eyes sparkle as he points to the shimmering sky, explaining how light, seasons and temperature affect our daily lives. An influence we sometimes forget because of the constant stream of apps, messages and screens.

The request is therefore to put the phone away. Although we have no connection in the desert, it feels good to not have my phone within reach either. I opened my journal, since I finally got time to write again. I got an endless amount of time to just flip through my words and put new thoughts on paper.

Ironically, my pen hovers above the paper. What do I even want to write? I could tell about the silence and the endless starry sky or... about the warm sweater that I have draped around my shoulders, while waiting for a cold night in the desert. And maybe that is exactly what it is all about.. I experience it all more consciously. Little things like my warm sweater and marvellous things like that starry sky. It is wonderful to be able to enjoy the silence. Being able to take the time, because I really got time here.

Want to explore more? Read all about my journey here