Casablanca - This summer, I noticed a huge wave of enthusiastic young Moroccans who are starting to embrace the “free” mode of travelling using only their backpacks and tents.
Casablanca – This summer, I noticed a huge wave of enthusiastic young Moroccans who are starting to embrace the “free” mode of travelling using only their backpacks and tents.
They road trip in order to explore outside of the usual, big and noisy cities. Morocco is a country of warmth, sun, mouth-watering food, and breath-taking natural and wild beauty with so much to offer. Indeed, backpacking is “revolutionizing” the way we, young people, travel, and opens new perspectives, unknown and unexpected destinations to discover.
Despite all of these apparent motivating aspects, some Moroccan trippers and some people who consider themselves as digital nomads of other nationalities fail to understand the true concept of backpacking. It has become glamourous to grab a bag, take a photo, and post it on social media telling everybody, hey, look, I am doing the same thing as you. I have no reproach, I’ll do the same. Okay, let’s call things as they should be called. We all want to start a dreamy trip and visit the most surrealistic gems of our country or others, but, hey wait a moment. It should be done with responsibility and a dose of realism. Here is why.
The thing is departing with 0 Dirhams just sounds very unrealistic, almost frightening, and yet funny to some extent. Yes, we all want to budget travel, sometimes because we simply want to give it a try and sometimes because we just do not have another option than shrink costs because we cannot afford expensive hotels and luxuries.
Talking from experience, I came to know people who can afford staying in the most luxurious chalets and reside in the most expensive facilities and places in Morocco and overseas, and still they choose to take only the necessities and the basics for survival, along with useful equipment for wild camping. They even go woofing in order to get first hand experiences and enjoy absolute immersion into the culture of the host, free accommodation most of the time, and locally prepared food, which turns out to be an amazing culinary discovery especially for food lovers like myself. Again, this is a completely wonderful way of travelling on budget where you get to give and receive, work and get loving kindness back. This is indeed a responsible way of moving around.
Genuinely, I think starting with 0 Dirhams can be a wrong decision on so many levels. Let’s get into the practical tiny details: What if your Couchsurfing host declines your request at the last minute, and what if the hosts you got in touch with do not respond? What if you land up in a camping site where you have to pay to use the site? Would you start begging people to cover your very elementary expenses? And what if you do not succeed in getting a ride (a special thought for female hitchhikers, because safety comes first)? I am not even mentioning food here! I have come across some posts of some digital nomads on Facebook who are seriously thinking that stealing from supermarkets is fair to sustain themselves while they are travelling.
If this were not enough, they think that this is an absolutely correct and ordinary thing to do. We might all agree that the backpacking and hitchhiking mode of travelling is questioning the capitalistic dimension of modern travels (travel agencies, flight companies etc), but it is just not acceptable to use this argument as an alibi to steal other’s properties under the hashtag #screwcapitalism.
We are in a desperate need of people who understand the very essence of budget travelling. Travel equals responsibility: towards one’s self and towards the immediate environment with which one directly interacts. When you get the chance to be hosted by people you do not know, and you are sure you will not get to meet them again, the least you can do is to be grateful. It is a good idea to carry symbolic gifts for such wonderful situations (candies for kids, even money sometimes) in recognition of people’s kindness and generosity, even if they do not ask and/or accept this kind of reward. One cannot do this if one is going with 0 Dirhams/Euros/Dollars.
In a nutshell, travelling on a budget is a whole new philosophy, lifestyle, and ensemble of values and norms. Let’s try our best to stick to a responsible kind of travel. Happy, realistic, and “clean” travels each and every one!
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