By Zineb Boujrada
By Zineb Boujrada
Casablanca – Traveling has always been seen a luxurious activity that only rich people or people who save the whole year from their modest salaries can afford during summer holidays.
However, backpacking has emerged as an alternative travel mode that is being used by young people all around the world, in an attempt to change the way people can travel.
I started travelling in 2010 and since then I can say that I contracted the travel bug. However, it is only in 2014 that I started travelling as a backpacker and in 2015 as a hitchhiker. The first time I thought about hitchhiking was last year in Morocco, after I have heard and read stories of female solo travellers from all around the world who have chosen to hitchhike and to travel on a budget. Ever since, the desire to try did not stop growing and I decided to give it a try as I was hitting the road with a female friend of mine … It started as a joke and as it was a whole new experience, we decided to start using a big taxi then to try our first “thumbs up” on the road. We started from Fez till Errachidia, Merzouga, Tinghir, Ouarzazate, Marrakech, Essaouira, Agadir, Sidi Ifni and we ended up taking our last ride to Casablanca.
During the entire trip, we asked for the hospitality of random people we met on the road or what we called in Moroccan “Daif Allah”, we used couchsurfing or stayed at friends’ places. Since then, I have been feeling confident about hitchhiking as a female traveler especially in Morocco. I tried it in other countries like Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia, and I can say that it has been a wonderful experience on several levels and I am thinking to go for other countries the same way.
When I share my travels with other people, the first thing they say is: aren’t you afraid? Don’t you think that you should not travel alone as a female? What if this and that happens to you?
The idea of traveling solo is not new and I am certainly not the first female who does that. Of course, life is made of risks and one has to be cautious. Life is meant to be lived just once and you have to take risks while doing it: either you take it or you leave it to other more courageous people to live it.
Traveling alone as a female in a country such as Morocco is challenging, both for the traveler and for the society. When you hit the road, and you wait for hours on the side of the road to get picked in the middle of nowhere of “deep Morocco”, you cannot escape from the wondering looks and whispering of men and women who see you as an alien with your backpack and your hair in the air. A solo female traveler in Morocco embodies freedom, courage and all what our traditional society cannot accept overnight, simply because you are a female, a woman.
Change starts from here. When you see more and more girls grabbing their backpacks, tents and sleeping bags to go get a life, a grasp of freedom from monotony, a break from the society, you say outloud that yes, we can hope for serious societal mutations in the sense that serves better the Moroccan lambda and the society.
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