Penang Island, Malaysia - For as long as I can remember, I have felt a need to inspire and motivate the people around me.
Penang Island, Malaysia – For as long as I can remember, I have felt a need to inspire and motivate the people around me.
Having given some thought to the drive behind this behavior, I would have to attribute its origin to my beloved Disney fairy tales. One day I would want to be Snow White and the next it would be Bella or Mulan. However, as I grew and matured, I began to realize that I didn’t want to be one of them, I wanted to be ALL of them! To me, Disney’s heroines encapsulated all the good I saw in people and the world. Cinderella was a true romantic, Snow White was strong and challenging, Bella was clever and smart and Mulan was without fear! All of these traits were things to which I would aspire to achieve and so I did.
The year before I began my journey into the world was a very difficult time in my life. It was a year filled with heartbreaking sadness, utter disappointments and, perhaps worst of all, betrayal from those whom I loved the most. My slide into despair began with a betrayal by my dear friends. For two years, I worked very hard to establish a social community, Moroccan fans of Korea, from nothing but my strong desire to make people happy and the need to better other’s lives. One day, without provocation or explanation, my close “friends” performed a hostile takeover of my beloved community and consequently, I was exiled. I never quite understood why this happened but looking back, I can only attribute it to the covetous nature of young girls and their need to be in the spotlight, no matter the cost.
During this time of trials and tribulations, I sought comfort from one whom I thought was not only my boyfriend but my best friend. I reached out to him in my depression but his resolve proved brittle and ultimately, he watched as I sank further into my despair. This crushing blow was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back.”
It was at this point that I began to reflect upon my life. How had I come to this circumstance? Did I expect too much from those around me? Did I dare hope for a world in which honesty, decency and loyalty were commonplace? Was all the world the same? I did not know the answers to these questions and more, all I knew is that I no longer wanted to continue to sink into the dark pit that had become my life. No, no more. I wanted to spread my wings and soar!
I spent my life admiring and looking up to all the heroines of my youth but it was no longer time to look up, it was time to join them! I refused to let my past weigh down my future or pretend that by climbing an invisible career ladder that I would find happiness. So, in the fashion of those heroines, I broke all the “social norms” and resigned my promising career as the manager of a Moroccan Riad and took the first step to my liberation and freedom.
Lao-tzu, a Chinese philosopher once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” But, it is that step that may often be the hardest. My decision was made, my resolve hardened and my destination chosen. I was off to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia!
To be frankly honest about my trip, I must confess that I was not quite prepared for the culture shock that awaited me. I did not book a hotel prior to my arrival and my budget was rather small. In fact, it is safe to say that my first few days were actually terrifying! I cried one night, when I realized that I knew nothing of Malaysia, its people or their customs. I was, for the first time in my life, removed from all I knew to be normal in my life. Gone were the calls to prayer, the languages that I had grown up with, and the clothes and customs that define Morocco. In place of all those things, were wonders that I could not have imagined given several lifetimes. Letting go of all I knew was absolutely the most liberating experience I have ever had! And, after the shock, terror and dismay wore off, I was left with an excitement that I had never known before. It was at that moment that I knew, deep in my heart, that I had fallen head-over-flip-flops in love with the uneasiness, terrifying, wondrous and adrenaline filled thing called… TRAVEL!!!!
Having given in to the power and allure of traveling, I began to see the world in a whole new light. I met people who have actually adopted the nomadic lifestyle that I believed existed only in books. As I met more and more people, I began to understand myself much better. I began to see that my past struggles and fretfulness were not just a case of bad circumstance, they were caused by something that was missing from my life. I realized that I would never be happier than when I am seeing, doing and experiencing new things. Armed with this revelation, I cancelled my return ticket and decided to follow my dreams.
I started to document my experiences in hopes that I could one day share them with the world. I am pleased to announce that Morocco World News will be publishing my adventures in a series called, “Wanderer Wonderer.” I hope that everyone reading this article will join me on this grand adventure.
About the author:
It may surprises you to learn that I am a relatively ordinary 24-year old girl, who grew up in a relatively ordinary family, in the extremely ordinary Town of Souk El Arba du Gharb, 30 km north of Kenitra, Morocco. My success as a traveler, on a tight budget, has been the result of hard work, determination and yes, a little bit of luck. I firmly believe that if I can do this, just about anyone can, and I hope my work inspires you, not only to travel, but to begin living the life you always dreamed of.
Edited by Peter “Clay” Smith
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