Welcome to Morocco…I finally arrived. It was a country I was hesitant to visit when I first found out I was going there. Yes, fear definitely got the best of me as I had heard stories of safety issues there. I stepped off the plane into the warm smelly air and into a van. I sat quiet in the van overwhelmed by everything I saw on the way to the hotel. It was a different world and though I have been to third world countries this was different. Children ran to our van begging for money and trucks were passing us carrying every animal or possible thing they could shove in. Morocco was in the middle of Ramadan which is the ninth month of the Muslim year, during which strict fasting is observed from sunrise to sunset. We arrived in the evening and that was when the cities of Morocco became alive during Ramadan. I hopped out of our van as we had arrived at the Old Medina in Fes. Fes is one of the oldest cities in Morocco and the Medina is known as the oldest part of the city. We were staying at a Riad within the Medina which is a traditional Moroccan house with a courtyard and it was beautiful. We got welcomed in the Riad by a delicious sugary Mint Tea and I couldn’t look around fast enough. There was so much to see…the detail of the Riad was incredible. Our room had air conditioning which was a treat as 40+ degree weather is hot to sleep in. We woke up bright and early to a breakfast in the courtyard and we were then greeted by our tour guide for the day. He took us on a six-hour tour of the Old Medina and i was taken back in time. The Old Medina was made up of something like 9,000 streets, and clearly we did not cover every one! There are no vehicles allowed in the Medina, so you see a lot of donkeys carrying various things. When you hear yelling, though you don’t understand what they are saying, you know to get out-of-the-way when these donkeys are coming full speed down a hill! There were all sorts of smells everywhere and people trying to sell you things. I was overwhelmed by the hospitality of the country, as people always wanted to help you or offer you something. We were walking down a meat selling street in the Medina, and It was quite something… I’m not one to preach my veggie views on people but this was like nothing I had seen before. Camel heads on shelves for sale, camel tongues, and chickens half alive. For a vegetarian this is a hard street to walk down! There were cats running the streets everywhere, thousands of cats. I asked our guide why most of the cats looked well fed and happy. He told me that cats are respected in Morocco as they rarely carry disease and keep the mice population under control. Finally some good news when it comes to the animals! Crazy enough I actually went and got some food and spent an hour one night going around feeding the animals who looked hungry. Call me crazy, but I just couldn’t help it! I wanted to feed every human and every animal who looked like they were suffering. I find that the hardest part about any third world country as I just want to help anyone I can but you sadly can’t help them all. I came back to the Riad after the tour and felt really emotional. I was out of my comfort zone, out of control, and had no idea what to expect. In that moment I just wanted to be home where I felt comfortable but comfort isn’t always the best thing. We all think comfort is good and yes sometimes it is! But other times it’s the most powerful thing to stand up to fear. To get out of your comfort zone and realize that when you are scared…YOU are living. I decided from that moment on I would accept the fear I was feeling and explore Morocco. After a couple of days in Fes we headed for a three-day driving tour of the country. It was long days of driving in the Van but it was all worth it when we arrived to ride the camels. I stepped out of the van and into the hottest weather I have ever felt. I peaked around the corner and there the camels were. They were super tall and noisy, but they were like nothing I had ever seen! A unique animal with a stubborn personality but you could just tell how smart they were. My camel happened to be one of the tallest and getting on it was not easy. The camel started by laying on the ground and then I hopped on. The camel then gets up from the front first and then the back. You feel like you are going to fly forward when it first gets up so you really have to hold on. I took a quick moment when my camel stood up to just take in where I was. I was in the middle of the Sahara Desert on a camel in 54 degree weather. It was something you see in the movies and I didn’t want to miss a moment of not being present as this was a once in a lifetime experience. We trekked for an hour and ended up at our campsite for the night. We spent the night listening to music, eating lots of good food, and lying under the stars. It was a night I will never forget. I woke up the next morning to a man yelling at me. I had no idea what he was saying til I looked up and saw him waving at me to hurry up. It was 5am and sunrise was starting. Everyone else in the group I was with was already awake and watching it at the top of a sand dune. So here I was at 5am in the desert standing with the camels with a man who spoke no English watching the sunrise. He smiled at me and pointed to the sunrise. He was so excited I was seeing it! He then got down on his knees and drew a circle in the sand pointing at the perfectly round sun. He was overjoyed I got to see what he sees every morning, and I was touched he was so happy. The simple joys that some take for granted, are the greatest joys for people who spend their days not having much at all. We headed off on our camels an hour later back to the van where we continued to Marrakech. A beautiful city in Morocco that was filled with some of the best markets, and busy night life. We spent two days there and enjoyed exploring more of what Morocco had to offer. We ended our trip in a city called Essaouira which is on the Atlantic Coast. It is A LOT cooler than anywhere we had visited in Morocco, and it was nice to finally cool off. The fishing harbour, and restaurants were amazing! It was one of my favourite places I have ever travelled to, and it’s so rich in culture. Travelling has taught me to live in the moment. It’s the best form of learning as you experience different cultures and meet every kind of person. You face every fear you have and when you are 14 hours away from home you don’t have a choice. We get comfortable in our lives but life is about taking chances. I hope everyone experiences travelling, even though it can be an expensive journey, you can come back feeling richer in lessons and life.