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Why I preferred India over France?

By Louay Benaabdelaali

Morocco World News

Sale, Morocco, February 22, 2013

Before going to India, many people I have met asked me, surprised, why India? What are you going to do there? On the other hand, few others congratulated me for taking such risk, and appreciated the idea of going to a destination, that has uncommon culture and traditions that seem exotic to Moroccans, yet unveils its beauty to curious adventurers.

There is out there a minority who appreciate uncommon things, who get to take a few risks and go somewhere yet unknown to them, and who go beyond their “comfort zone.” The questions they ask might be uncommon but are logical: Why Paris and not Bali? Why not the Philippines instead of Spain? Moroccans travel to the same places, every year. So guess the nationality of most of travelers you meet in those places? Moroccans again. As they tend to flock together they get less exposed to with other cultures.

When I talk about going beyond the comfort zone, this can be as simple as taking a different route back home or cutting one’s hair in a different style, or as complicated as switching one’s career to something one loves most.

This goes hand in hand with the conformity box in which we “frame” our lives. A well-known fact is that very few people take hold of their own lives and make decisions based on their own understanding, choice and, above all, belief. We copied so much that we lost our own identity and got confused about who we are and where we’re coming from, let alone where we are going. But that’s another big subject.

So my fellow Moroccans, next time, don’t go (again) to London, Paris, Ibiza etc. Just as an advice from your desperate-for-exciting-trips friend, travel to Goa in India, Hanoi in Vietnam, Andaman Islands, Bolivia, Nepal. There are so many places where one can have a memorable life experience, not only a (luxurious) trip.

From my side, my next big trip will be, Inshallah, from South to North of Morocco. This is simply to get closer to my own culture, and strengthen the Moroccan to Morocco relationship. To be honest, I feel ashamed to be told by foreigners about beautiful places in my country that are yet unknown to me.

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