I just came back from an incredible month-long trip to Morocco and it truly was life-changing. In this episode, I share with you ALL the behind-the-scenes. Exactly where I stayed, my itinerary, what I recommend, what I don’t. I also share the spiritual initiations I went through, especially being caught in a sand storm with 45 mph winds in the middle of the Sahara Desert! If you’ve been wanting to visit Morocco or are just looking for travel inspo, this episode is for you!
Connect with your body’s wisdom with my free Goddess Embodiment Practice free at www.rosegoldgoddesses.com/embodiment
Try Betterhelp for 10% off at www.betterhelp.com/sahara
*As a BetterHelp affiliate, we may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase products or services through the links provided
Intro + Outro Music: Silent Ganges by Maneesh de Moor
Order My Books: www.iamsahararose.com/books
By accessing this Podcast, I acknowledge that the entire contents are the property of Sahara Rose, or used by Sahara Rose with permission, and are protected under U.S. and international copyright and trademark laws. Except as otherwise provided herein, users of this Podcast may save and use information contained in the Podcast only for personal or other non-commercial, educational purposes. No other use, including, without limitation, reproduction, retransmission or editing, of this Podcast may be made without the prior written permission of the Sahara Rose, which may be requested by contacting [email protected]
This podcast is for educational purposes only. The host claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the information presented herein.
Episode 445: The Time I Was Caught in a Sand Storm – Lessons From the Sahara Desert, Morocco Travel Recap
By Sahara Rose
Namaste, it’s Sahara Rose and welcome back to The Highest Self Podcast, a place where we discuss what makes You, Your Soul’s Highest Evolvement.
And before we dive into this Episode, I want to share with you the most powerful tool to help channel the different energies that you may be feeling right now, and this is Embodiment.
The term embodiment means to literally be in the body. And you see, so many of us, we spend the majority of our time in our minds. We think, we analyze, we prod, we try to create the solution, but the thing is, the mind can never solve the mind’s problems. We need to drop out of the mind and into the body, and the body is the house of the Divine Feminine, your intuition, your creativity, the part of you that knows, that feels, that connects to your intuition.
So, if you feel disconnected from this or you’re just seeking to connect to your spirituality in a deeper way, then try my Free Goddess Embodiment practice.
So, you can head over to rosegoldgoddesses.com/embodiment and you’ll be able to try this practice, it’s such a powerful one to do, before or after your yoga practice, workout, or just when you’re feeling in a funk in the afternoon. We need to move the energy, we somatically hold onto so much tension and trauma in the hips, in the chest, so, by literally shaking, undulating, spiraling, releasing your body, you help release this old stagnant energy and you just feel energetically, within the 10 minutes that it takes you, you’re going to feel like a different person, trust me! Your body is so wise and I can’t wait to just be that reminder to you, of what you already carry. So, again, head over to rosegoldgoddesses.com/embodiment, you can find that link in the show notes and the practice is absolutely free. Can’t wait for you to try and now let’s get into the Episode!
[02:05] End of Advertisement
If it’s your first time listening, welcome! This Podcast is all about actualizing your fullest expression, and today’s Episode is going to be a bit different. Normally, we have deep conversations about spirituality, but this time I wanted to share with you the recap of my recent trip to Morocco.
I just came back, a few days ago, from a whole month in Morocco, and I have to say it was the best trip of my entire life!
So, I wanted to share this Episode with you, to share both where I stayed and what I did, and just the tangible, and also, the lessons learned, especially in the Sahara Desert. Yes, Sahara was in the Sahara and it was no ordinary day there, let’s just start there!
So, why Morocco? My entire life, I have been so drawn to Moroccan architecture, the Moroccan esthetic. You know, my parents came from Iran, so, very similar type of architecture there, a lot of beautiful mosques with a lot of mosaic work, and just Morocco, specifically, I love just how Bohemian it looked. Just the textiles, the bags, everything Moroccan, I, for my entire life, have been obsessed with, and definitely have had past lives in Morocco, and I’ll talk a little bit more about that later in the Episode.
And I actually went to Morocco for when day, when I was 15 years old, from Spain, to a town called Tetouan, and it was like real-life Aladdin, being there, so I always knew I wanted to go back. And with things finally being back open, flights post-Covid, I was just missing going to a country, getting lost in the markets and just immersing myself in a new culture.
I hadn’t done that since the last time I went to India, which was in 2018, when I shot “Eat Feel Fresh”, so, I just deeply missed – you know, it’s very different when you go to Tulum or something that’s like very westernized now, even Costa Rica, a lot of it is very westernized, but going to a country where, just, it looks like you’re in a different world, it’s just such a different way of being. For me, that is the ultimate reset.
So, I decided now is the time for me to go to Morocco, for no other reason than following my soul’s exploration. So, my husband and I, which, luckily, both of us really love to travel and go off the beaten path and explore villages and just things that you normally wouldn’t see as a tourist, so both of us really love doing that together. So, we took off!
So, before I went to Morocco, I actually asked my friend, Krista Williams, who’s the host of The Almost 30 Podcast, her suggestions because I knew she used to work at a Morocco travel agency. So, she linked me up with the person that she worked with there named Abdu at Let’s Travel Morocco, who I highly recommend if you do go to Morocco, he was amazing! And I started chatting with him, I started sharing with him, you know, my interests are going to the nomadic villages, and I want to teach English, I want to volunteer, I want to bring school supplies, and I want to go to the blue city, I want to go to the Moroccan hammams, I want to go to the most amazing spas, I want to see the architecture. So, I want to have that both/and, going to the deep desert and places that they’ve never seen tourists before, and also go to some of the most incredible places that every tourist must go while they’re in Morocco. So, he was very, very helpful, and we really coordinated for months, of putting together the perfect itinerary, which I will share with you, and it really was, encompassed all of those things.
So, I do recommend, before going to Morocco, or really any country, whether it’s India, to work with someone that’s on the ground there, because had I gone to Morocco without him, there’s no way I would’ve been able to access nomadic villages in the middle of the Sahara Desert or go to schools, or you know, just go to people’s houses and see the things that I got to see. So, I definitely recommend!
And even, you know, I used to live in India for 2 years, and I spent a lot of time traveling back and forth in India, and I always lived with families there, so I do recommend, especially coming as a volunteer, there’s a really great website called idealist.org where you can find volunteer jobs all over the place. That’s how I used to travel Nicaragua, Vietnam, Thailand, Peru, always being a volunteer and staying with different families there, and working, teaching English in different orphanages, different schools, taking language classes. So, to me, volunteering is the ultimate way to really get to know a culture.
While I was in Morocco, we actually stayed at hotels and I will name all of the hotels. Again, I don’t work with any of these companies at all, I paid for the entire trip, but I’m going to be sharing with you because y’all are my friends and I just want to keep it real. I know if I wanted to go to Morocco, I would want – like, I spent so much time on these blogs and Pinterest about people who went to Morocco, so I’m paving it forward, in case any of you guys want to go.
Alright, so, we land in Casablanca. Would I recommend Casablanca? The truthful answer, and I’m sorry if anyone is from there and I don’t mean to offend anyone, and anything that I say on this Podcast, this is just my personal opinion and in no way represents anything or anyone, I am just one person.
Casablanca was not it for me. You know, Casablanca is a financial capital of, it’s not the capital of Morocco, but it’s very much where the finances are. You know, when we got there, it was cool, the Moroccan soccer team was staying at the hotel that we stayed at. The hotel was very beautiful, but very like, kind of, corporate businessy, it was The Four Seasons of Casablanca, and there was this beautiful mosque there, that we went to, called Mosque Hassan II, but to be honest, would I go back? The answer is no. So, we’ll kind of just move on, so I can share with you the best.
The reason why we landed in Casablanca was because I really wanted to go to the Chefchaouen. Now Chefchaouen is the blue city, you’ve probably seen pictures of it before.
So, there is a blue city in India, called Jodhpur, and that’s where my book “Eat Feel Fresh” was shot, I’m obsessed with blue cities, I’m a mermaid, turquoise is my favorite color. So, I shot all the photography in Jodhpur, but I’ve always wanted to go to this blue city in Morocco, because it looked even more blue, and I was correct. I mean, just the level of blueness is on another level. And the reason why it is a blue city is because hundreds of years ago, the Jewish neighborhood in Chefchaouen, which, by the way, Morocco used to be a Jewish country, prior to Islam, and prior to Judaism it was essentially a pagan, a shamanic civilization, just like most of the world before organized religion was. And I’ll speak a little bit about that and my experiences, trying to learn more about spirituality outside of religion.
But in Chefchaouen, the Jewish district painted their homes blue and over time, and especially more recently, in the past 30 years, the people in the village noticed “Oh, these backpackers keep coming here and they keep taking pictures in front of the blue buildings, so maybe I should paint my house blue too”. So, more and more people started to paint their homes blue and more and more tourists started to come in, so they started to realize “Wow”, because this is a random village, like, literally in the middle of nowhere. It took us, I would say, 5 hours of driving (5-6 hours of driving) from Casablanca just to get there.
So, they stared to paint their homes blue and they started to put beautiful artwork in front of it and beautiful leather goods, and now it is like an Instagram-able photo-op village, and it’s a real village that people live in and it’s so stunning. And it was interesting because our tour guide, it kind of shows what competition has done, like, competition in a way has made everyone, like, really rise up in creating it even more beautifully, which, it’s an interesting perspective. So, when you walk around Chefchaouen you see so many places that people have decorated their homes in stunning ways for you to be able to take pictures in front of it.
And you can offer donation, normally about 0.50c to take a picture of someone, really went all out, but overall, they’re doing it just to bring tourism into their village. So, that was really interesting to learn about.
So, it is definitely more blue and more beautified than the blue city in Jodhpur, just because the one in Jodhpur is a little bit more, they’re not really doing it for photo-ops at all, the reason why the one in Jodhpur, they believed is blue, is, it had to do with the Brahman. Brahmans, who are like the priest class in India, wanted to paint their homes blue.
So, in Jodhpur, in shooting my book, it was actually quite difficult sometimes to just like find a house that was still completely blue, didn’t have trash outside of it, like, it was definitely, we had to walk around a lot. Whereas, in Chefchaouen, it’s a much smaller city, but everywhere I turned I was like “Photoshoot, photoshoot, photoshoot!” So, I actually made a really cute reel which you can find, I’ve pinned it on top of my Instagram, and I walk through this door and you, like, see me in this blue bazaar, essentially. So, if you head over to my Instagram, @iamsahararose, you’ll see that. And I created a highlight of my entire Morocco trip, so it’s like the very first highlight in my profile, you can click through and see, like, all of my stories throughout Morocco, I tried to just pick the best because there were so many. So, you can actually, visually, follow along with me on this journey. So, as I go through, you’ll see Casablanca and then Chefchaouen and onwards from there.
So, where did I stay in Chefchaouen? We actually stayed in a riad. So, what is a riad? A riad, you’ll hear this word a lot, is essentially Moroccan homes that they’ve converted into hotels. So, these are not just typical Moroccan homes, but these were homes that Moroccan royalty used to live, or big guest houses, etc., and some of them are very, very ornate and beautiful and some are more simple.
So, we just stayed at a riad, in Chefchaouen, called Lina, it was just a simple riad, I wouldn’t say “You’ve got to go there”, you could, kind of, just stay anywhere there, but in Chefchaouen, because it’s a small village, you’re not going to find, like, even four or five star, it’s kind of, everything is very simple. But it was fine and you know, it was definitely, for me, Chefchaouen was worth going to, it is a drive, but if you really want to take amazing content, you love the color blue, I would say go there.
So, next, we headed over to Fez. So, I’m going to be real, Fez was the city I was the least excited for. I read somewhere that Fez was a very intense city and that you see spices in one corner and then headless camels next to, and I was like “Oh my God, that’s really intense”. You know, I went to Varanasi, which is this city in India, on the Ganges River, the Ganga, and this was also a very intense city. It’s where they burn (they cremate) all of the dead bodies and there’s like, it’s madness there, it’s all these people coming up to you, there’s like bulls running through the alleys, it’s crazy. And I would say, in India, it was, you know, I love India so much, but Varanasi is not my place.
I also did photography in “Eat Feel Fresh” there, so you’ll see me there on the Ganga with these beautiful babas who are blessing me, it was chaotic energy.
So, I heard Fez was similar to that, so I was like “Okay, let’s just see how it goes. Oka, we’re just spending like 2, 3 days there, it’s going to be fine”, and honestly, it ended up being my favorite, my favorite medina.
So, a medina is essentially – the cities, back in the day, they would build these walls around them to protect them from, you know, neighboring city States and wars, there’s so much history that has happened in Morocco. We actually were able to see ancient Roman ruins that were completely intact, down to, I could see the mosaics and the designs that they put in their bathroom, like, the Pisces, the fish, the Statue of Venus that they had, this is from B.C., like 2500 years ago, and it was still completely intact. So, there’s so much history! And there has been a lot of war and blood shed that has happened in Morocco as well.
So, Fez is this ancient city that literally you feel like you are in Aladdin meets Indiana Jones combined, and every single, kind of like, Middle Eastern movie you’ve ever seen, it was stunning!
So, what I loved about Fez so much was just how authentic it was. And I was so surprised to see so many children just like playing and walking around by themselves. I was like, you know, you just don’t do that in the US, you’re worried about kidnapping and all these things, but there was just such a level of community and trust, and it was like a labyrinth. He said that not one person in Fez knows every single labyrinth that’s there, it’s the largest medina in Morocco.
So, there are thousands of streets that all connect to each other and there’s no roads to get there, everything’s by foot, there’s not motorcycles to get there, no bikes, everything is by foot. So, even to get to your riad, where you’re staying, you need to walk like 10 minutes through the medina, through these winding labyrinth roads where there are spices and argan oil, and shoes, and clothes, and a butcher, and copper being made, and blacksmith, and all these different things, it is like being in a real-life museum.
All I wanted to do was just walk around there and take it all in because it was so rich. So, I would say 100%, go to Fez, that was one of the highlights for me! And spend as much time as possible in the medina because you will just love getting lost in it, and it makes you appreciate all the little things that you see, so much more, like, from the evil eye jewelry, you actually see the people making it; from the mosaics, you see people cut the tile by hand, paste it together, create these beautiful ornate designs, and you realize just how many hours and love and labor is put behind every single thing that people have there. And also, what a blessing that so many things are still made by hand. So, that was really beautiful!
A picture that you may have of Fez, or you may have seen before, like a National Geographic magazine, is a picture of these different dye pools. And essentially, it’s a tannery where leather goods are made. So, if you’ve ever seen Slum Dog Millionaire, there’s that image of the laundromat there, which has also different, kind of like containers that people are in, to wash the clothes, so, sort of similar to that, but instead it’s actually different dyes that people are – tanneries, how they make leather.
So, you do see the animal skins out, you do see a lot of graphic things, I did see, just like, camels head hanging out in the bazaar. So, I will say that it definitely can be intense, like, it was interesting because the energy wasn’t intense because people were just so used to it that like seeing hanging animals was like normal. But especially if you are, I am an animal lover for sure, but if you’re very, very sensitive to that, it’s hard for you to see a butcher, anything like that, that would be my trigger warning around going to Fez, because that is very much a part of the life there.
So, the tannery was quite interesting. So, when you go there, it smells so putrid and so bad, not that all the medinas smell bad, but just that one area that you go to, to see the tannery, because they use cow urine and pigeon feces to create the leather. So, they actually hand you a piece of mint to put next to your nose and breathe in to try to block away some of the putrid smell, which doesn’t even work.
So, I would say, they are quite pushy with the sales in some places, like especially in like a tannery like that, which is a very touristic place, not everywhere was like that, but touristic places like that. So, they were really trying to push on me to buy the leather, but to be honest, I didn’t even like anything they had there and it just wasn’t energetically a fit, but when I left, someone on Instagram actually shared with me a documentary of the behind the scenes of these tanneries, and what goes on and just the short lifespans the people that work there have, due to all of the chemicals and toxins, and how it leaks into their water system and it leads to birth defects and deformities. And I reshared it on my Instagram, so if you look at that Morocco highlight, you’ll find this video (this video was actually based on the tanneries in India).
So, I’m grateful that I didn’t buy anything there because again, I understand that it’s part of the culture, I understand that they’ve been doing this for so long, and with greater education comes more responsibility, and if we know that this is going to be affecting our food system, it’s going to be – an average lifespan of people working there is like 50 years old, such high levels of just many different diseases, it’s going into their water chain, I can’t consciously know that and still buy things from there.
So, there definitely is that shadow side of it that I think is also important to know from. And again, it’s not that it just happens in the tannery there, leather is all around the world. Think about every single car, has leather in it.
So, that really made me more aware of, again, where do these things that we buy come from and just how much pain and destruction is coming from the leather industry, from the animals to the people who are making it, and everybody in between.
So, after Fez, we took off, and the place that I stayed in Fez, by the way, was very beautiful, it was like very old-school Morocco. So, apparently, the princess of Morocco stayed there and it was called La Maison Bleu, so, it was very beautiful. And a little pro-tip – so, I really wanted to take photos and videos everywhere that I went, so I used Airbnb Experiences, which is a part of Airbnb, where people, locals, can share different experiences. And from there, I found many different photographers. So, you’ll see all of the stunning photography that I did while I was in Morocco, and all of the different places. And every photographer that I connected with, I connected with them through Airbnb Experiences.
So, I definitely recommend doing that anywhere that you travel, otherwise, I was like trying to search with hashtags and it was just hard to try to find these people on Instagram, whereas on Airbnb Experiences, you just book right there, it’s pretty easy.
So, that was a great hack to, you know, not to try to get my husband to take a picture of me and he’s like, doesn’t want to do it, but have someone who’s like just as down to shoot as I am.
So, from Fez, it was time to drive to the Sahara Desert. So, of course, that’s my name, I needed to go to the Sahara, it was a 9.5-hour drive, so, a full day of driving deep into the desert. Like, you witness the process that the desert takes. So, first, you know, you’re driving through, you leave the city and you’re driving through different villages, and the villages get more and more remote, and you see less and less trees, until you see no trees, and it’s very rocky, and you just see all of the levels. And actually, I learned there was a volcano that erupted in Morocco long ago, so you see fields of just black ash from, I don’t know when, hundreds of years ago, thousands of years ago maybe even. And then finally, it’s like, it looks sort of like a New Mexico desert and then I was so excited to see that terracotta sand of the sand dunes of the Sahara.
So, I will share that I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it or not, because I went to Burning Man in 2019 and I did not like that experience. I understand the intention around it, but I have many different things to say around that experience. But speaking around the dust, I did not like the dust, just because it’s all over your face, it’s all over all of your things, like, you can’t get clean, I just didn’t like the dust, I was getting nose bleeds every single night. And in a past life, I actually, and I remember this, I had a past life realization, I was back in Egypt, I was a nomad in the desert there, and it was a cold, cold night and I froze to death. So, I think that, and also the fact that my family is from the Middle East, my ancestry is Persian, North African, Indian, so I have, like, the lineage, I have like Bedouin blood in me. So, a lot of my ancestors have probably actually died in the desert, and I used to go to Iran a lot as a kid, and it’s very dry and I would get the nose bleeds, so something about me and the body, though my name is Sahara, I am not, I’m like a water person, not a desert person.
So, I was not sure if I was going to love being there or not. But once I saw those sand dunes, something hit me! They were beyond majestic! You know how you have those like screensavers where you have the different options and one of them is the sand dunes, I’m like “I understand why they choose that there!” It’s like something you’ve never seen in your life before, to just look out as far as your eye can see and see these ginormous, huge, hundred-foot sand dunes that are just made out of sand!
So, we drove, we drove, we drove, we drove and finally we’re getting there an I’m like “We need to buy school supplies, there’s no way I’m going to this village and I’m not bringing them supplies”, but the school wouldn’t really tell us what they needed. So, I didn’t know how many kids were there, I didn’t know how many schools we were going to visit, I didn’t know what the nomads needed, I didn’t want to bring something that they wouldn’t have access to later on. Like, imagine I bring something to a school, they’re like “Oh, that’s so great but we can never sharpen these pencils again”, so I wanted to buy something as close as possible, so, if the school needed, they could get more of that thing, it’s not like I’m bringing something from another country that they wouldn’t have access to, just because I think it’s important to also support the local economy and have it be as local as possible.
So, we went to this stand that sold different school supplies and I basically bought everything they had, from notebooks to pens, colored pencils, different books teaching them how to read and write in Arabic.
So, the main language there is actually Berber, that is the authentic language of Morocco. However, due to colonization, they have learned Arabic, first, from the Arabs, Arab colonization, in the year around 800 or so, with the Islamic conversion, and then, more recently, with the French colonization, which, they left around 1950s I want to say (1920, 1950), the French were only there for about 70 or so years, however, they deeply colonized this country and basically forced everyone to learn French, made Moroccan people their servants, took the prized jewels, it’s very, very horrific, the way that the French colonized Morocco. And still, I would say, I was shocked by just how intelligent the people from Morocco are. The average person there speaks Berber, Arabic, French, English, Spanish and sometimes Italian too. So, like, even the people who are like homeless, it was so funny because we were walking by and they were like trying to figure out where we’re from, so to me, most people assumed I was Hispanic, Colombian, so they’re like “Ola, que esto”, trying to speak to me in Spanish, and then to my husband, they thought he was Italian so they’re like “Buongiorno”, and we’re like, we’re both Middle Eastern, it was hilarious!
So, I bought books around helping them to be able to read and write in Arabic because that is a common language that they use there. And my husband speaks Arabic fluently because he is Jordanian and Lebanese.
So, we went out in the desert and we stayed at a place called The Desert Luxury Camp. So, I had seen pictures of this, I was so excited, they basically create a camp in the middle of the Sahara Desert. So, they bring out carpets, it’s completely covered up, they said they had AC, they did not have AC during the day, when it’s really hot, it was really, really hot, like wow!
So, we got there and I was amazed by how beautiful it was, the carpets, just the way that they set this up, it’s crazy to think how do they even set something up like this in the middle of the desert, it takes a lot of work, so, it was so beautiful to be there. And it was really windy, so they’re like “We can’t let you guys eat outside because the wind is really crazy and it’s actually the windy season of the Sahara Desert”, and we’re like “Oh, okay, interesting”. So, the first meal we ate it inside the tent, and the next day I was super excited because I was going to do a photoshoot there. I had a photographer and videographer drive from Rabat, so they drove 9 hours to get there and I was going to do this full photo/video shoot, Sahara in the Sahara, I brought a 20 something foot long red dress, silk red dress that I packed, which, by the way, for packing, guys, I’m an over-packer and I was there for a month! So, I’m like “How am I going to fit all my shit into a suitcase?” And the way that I did it was compression bags. I bought compression bags, put it all in there, fit this dress in there and that was a huge saver, except for, I forgot to bring the little compressing machine. So, once I got to Morocco, I got all the clothes there, but then I couldn’t fit them back into the bag, so every single day I basically had to wrestle these plastic bags and try to get everything to fit and shut my suitcase down just to make it.
So, we’re back, it’s the day of the photoshoot, that morning the weather was very, very hot, but it wasn’t windy and I was like “Oh my God, I can’t wait for this photoshoot tonight”, we took these camels out, we went for a 3-hour camel walk through the sand dunes, I got to speak to the local nomads and just get to know the people there, it was so beautiful. And when I say hot, I mean, it’s true when they say “Hotter than Sahara”, it is about 110° F or so, and especially when you’re out on a camel, there’s no shade. So, luckily, my ancestors have survived many, many hot desert days that I’m very good with the heat, but I did see some people, staying at a different camp, that were like definitely struggling. So, I would say, if you are going to go to the desert, you are very sensitive to the heat, maybe don’t go in June like I did, go in the winter months.
However, in the winter months, it can get very cold at night, whereas, luckily for me, it was in the 80s at night, so it was very nice at night, it’s just during the day, it was like so hot, that just even touching the sand would’ve burned you, like that level of hot.
So, I think, sometimes you see a picture and you don’t realize “Oh shit, that person was sweating balls to get that picture done!”
So, the beautiful part at this camp though was, they had a pool, like, they created a pool in the middle of the Sahara Desert. So, it was like a tented pool, so I spent the whole day just in the pool and that’s when the wind started to pick up more and more and more, and it was like a full-on sand storm! So, I’m like “Okay, I’m just going to ride it out, I’m just going to stay in this pool, I’m covered up”, and then Steven, my husband, was like “I want to go out”, and he’s like sat in this hammock and I just watched him, he was, like, shaking and it was spinning because it was like a full-fledged sand storm in the desert – cue the sand storm song! Remember that? It was like the original 90s house music song!
So, it’s time for us to go back, and even going back it was like, sand everywhere, craziness, I’m like “How am I going to do this photoshoot?” And it was so hot that there was just no power even, during the day, let alone AC, there was no power and my dress was extremely wrinkly and I’m like “I can’t not do this shoot”, and the sand storm started to get worse and worse, to the point that the entire hut was shaking, the roof was shaking, sand was getting in the hut. There was a point that I was like “Do we need to leave for our safety? Is it safe for us to stay here?”, but I saw the people working there, they weren’t getting us, so I’m like “Well, I feel like if we were in danger, they’d probably come get us, but maybe…”, you know, it was to the point, because we’re staying in some tent, you know, and it was shaking so much, they kind of made a pile of sand next to us to protect us from the wind, but that was coming undone, everything, it was like as if I was in the middle of a category 5 hurricane, like, that is how I can describe it to you. I mean, I have seen some storms here in Miami, but this was like another level of like, everything is shaking, you don’t have concrete walls to protect you.
So, I was like getting very, very nervous and scared, just at this point, just for my own safety, of “What if this tent collapses? What if this wall right here collapses? What would happen?” So, I just started to pray, I just started to pray to the ancestors of the Sahara, and mind you, the whole day, I was so spiritually connected, I was writing so much poetry, so much ancient wisdom coming through, just so many codes from my ancestors, just like, the thousands of lifetimes that my ancestors have spent in the desert, you know, and I was just so deeply feeling it so I just started communicating with the spirits of the Sahara Desert, and I just asked them “If this is meant to be, for me, to take photos here, please allow it to happen. I am here with the intention to share your beauty, to help people see how beautiful it can be in nothingness, and to be a vessel for you to share your wisdom with the world. So, please, I’m asking you for support in making the highest possible photos and videos happen tonight. I came all the way here, the photographer and videographer, and we’re just here to share your beauty. So, if it is in alignment, please support us in making it happen”. And I remained just in prayer and prayer, and the winds started to slowly fade away, it was still a lot, I mean, and when I say, when I actually checked the weather, it was 40mph winds, so I’m not kidding around here, it’s like dangerous levels of wind. So, it started to slow down to like 30mph winds, but I’m like “You know what, if my ancestors could survive here, so can I!” I got enough electricity back and forth, it would be on for a little bit and off, on-off, I ironed most of the dress, sweating balls, and I’m like “I am just going to go out, climb that sand dune and take these photos!”
So, I go out, and that wind is winding, but luckily, and what I really love about the sand, it’s not like the dust where it doesn’t scatter as much, like, it does stay a little more put, and I just went out there and I climbed that sand dune, and I climbed and I climbed, and I was praying “Please don’t have quick sand here, I don’t want to be Lawrence of Arabia”, but I just trusted and I climbed and I climbed and I climbed, and the photos that I took, now I understand why the Sahara Desert gave me a sand storm, because Gaia, pacha mama, herself, was fanning my dress in a way that I could have never before. And I looked out just bare, on top of the sand dune, looking right into the wind, like, no shield, nowhere to hide, and I just let her speak to me. And just the codes that she carried, I later learned the Sahara Desert used to be an ocean, and just the vibration that the water carries was still in that sand, and that is why there’s such a frequency shift that happens when you’re there, it’s like you’re at the bottom of the ocean. And there actually still are fossils of the fish and the coral that people are still finding there, and by the way, the entire place is packed with crystals. I brought some of those beautiful crystals I’ve ever seen from this desert, it was such an initiation to just be there and bring beauty to it, you know, not I’m trekking the sand dune and I’m dominating it, but I’m in it in a red dress and jewelry and hair and make-up, and I am climbing that gnarly sand dune, I’m bringing beauty and femininity and bliss and sacredness to it, I am dancing to the wind.
And to me, it was just such a reflection of the divine feminine, that we overcome so much but we do it with such grace, that it doesn’t need to be this expedition with your hiking shoes and get through it, but it’s rather like, I’m going to do it in my 27ft long red dress and make it look like the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. And the Sahara Desert, my momma right here, she’s fanning my dress, making sure it’s flying enough for those shots!
And it was just such a portal to be in, to just, I realized that my fear of the wind was so much greater than the wind, Like, when you hear the wind against a tent, it sounds so much more intense, but when you’re just there, bare, it’s like “I’m good, I’m going to be okay, I’m not going to fly away from this wind”. There were times that the photographer held the dress, so it kind of made it a hot air balloon and those times I definitely could’ve flown away, a small animal definitely could’ve flown away, but I got enough gravity to me that I was good. And it was just such a portal to be in, and as soon as I get those photos and videos, which I’ve seen some sneak-peeks soon and I’m like “Holy freaking shit, there is no way…”, because I did another photoshoot in Marrakesh, which I’ll share with you in a second, but I did another one with one of those long flying dresses, and there was no wind and it was impossible to get a picture of the dress flying because the dress was so heavy, whereas with this, it was like I mean, even if I had 20 gigantic fans and a whole team of people fanning me, I would not be able to get the level of fly that I got for this photoshoot. So, go on my Instagram, I’m going to try to get this out as soon as possible so you can see and feel these pictures, just like, feel the essence of the divine feminine in our grace and our strength. And how beautiful it is that this feminine is able to create art out of any experience. We create art out of a storm, and that’s like what child birth is, right? You’re going through the most painful portal initiation, you’re bringing the most thing, life. So, that experience definitely changed me. And just also being there and not having cellphone service for two days because I did have service for the rest of Morocco and I will say, you know, I was sharing a lot, which is beautiful, but also, maybe I wish I could’ve unplugged a little bit more, but I was just so excited to share with you guys everything. Whereas in the desert, I didn’t have service, so, so much poetry was coming through and that’s really what created the shift of me anchoring into my inner poet, which has always been a part of me.
If you guys don’t know, I actually have a song out, it’s a spoken word song, if you go on Spotify, I haven’t been sharing that side of me as often. And being there, I’m like “Wow, words really are my medicine of how I’m here to share”. And I think, you know, being an author, especially in spiritual space, a lot of your writing needs to become very how to and educational and instructional, and you know, for the first two weeks in Morocco, I was really writing my joy book and how people become joyful and what are the pathways to joy, and a big realization that I had there is, you can’t read something on how to and become that thing, but rather, it comes from a frequency shift. Instead of telling people how to be joyful, read them something that’s a transmission of joy.
So, that really reminded me and shifted me and gave me the affirmation that I needed, that my next book needs to be poetry. And again, I don’t know if it’s going to be like straight up poems or just how I write it, it’s going to be in a more poetic way, but letting myself be my artist archetype, which, I always have been, since I was a child, but you know, the limiting beliefs when you’re a kid, that your parents tell you that you’ll never make it as an artist, you’re going to be a starving artist, you’re going to end up homeless, artists don’t make money, that’s unrealistic, was definitely still playing in my head, and it’s just like “Okay, how do I make it more approachable? How do I make it more easy, more easy for people to grasp, easy concepts?” and it’s like, “No, fuck that, I’m not here to be understood, I’m here to understand myself, I’m not here to be approachable, I’m not here to be the girl next door, unless she happens to be a mystic”, and that is who I am.
So, that just really set that anchoring and that trust in the next iteration of me as an artist, not only a word artist, but also my music and my DJ-ing, and just bringing artistic – like, everything that I share, letting it be through the lens of beauty and art.
We’ll take a quick break so I can share with you this special offer.
This Podcast is sponsored by Better Help. It is so important to have someone that you can openly talk to about your issues and what’s going on. Sometimes we use our friends as therapists, but that’s really not what they’re there for. Our therapist is our therapist!
And I know in my life, it has been beyond helpful to have someone hold space for me so I can openly speak about what’s going on in my mind, and have someone to reflect back my thoughts at me so I can find more clarity and overcome any anxiety that I have been feeling.
So, I am so excited to be partnering with Better Help. Better Help is customized online therapy that offers video, phone and even live chat sessions with your therapist, so you don’t have to see anyone on camera if you don’t want to. You can even message your therapist throughout the week for additional support.
It’s much more affordable than in-person therapy and you can start communicating with your therapist in under 48 hours. So please, don’t wait weeks to find someone to talk to. There has never been a more important time to invest in your mental health because you my friend are your greatest asset.
Again, this Podcast is sponsored by Better Help, and Highest Self Podcast listeners get 10% OFF their first month at betterhelp.com/sahara
[42:20] End of Advertisement
So, huge initiation and post the Sahara Desert because it’s such a far drive away, I’m talking 10 hours of driving, we stopped in a desert oasis. So, desert oasis is, if you’ve read “The Alchemist” before, are basically areas of a desert where a river once was, or still is, and that river had led to irrigation, farming and life. So, we stopped at this desert oasis called Dar Hnini, which was very beautiful, I was actually pleasantly surprised. To be honest, I just thought it was going be something like a pit stop, we’d stayed there for 2 days, it’s some village, but it was actually gorgeous. And we got to learn more about the farming and what they grow, and agriculture, which is the largest industry still in Morocco, so that was a really beautiful and nice surprise. And also, just so much gratitude for the water, you know, the Sahara Desert and the dunes are so beautiful.
Oh, and I forgot to tell you about visiting the nomads there. Yes, so this is a huge part of it!
So, I’ve always been drawn to nomadic people, you know, gypsies, Bedouins, Berber, definitely have had a lot of past lives there. And again, also in this lifetime, being part Bedouin.
So, we went out and the person who actually was the owner of the camp, who grew up as a nomad, he did not even know how to read or write until he was a teenager, and never went to school, grew up as a goat farmer, he took us, we drove through the sand dunes, I’m talking villages that if you didn’t drive through a sand dune in like a special jeep that can do that, I don’t even know how you would ever get to these places in the middle of nowhere. And we drove to several different nomadic, they weren’t even villages, because these nomads live on their own. Sometimes there’ll be two families, but the ones that we visited were mostly just one family, so they make their homes with whatever leftover, kind of, trash that they can find. So, it was actually really fascinating to see that they used everything from flip-flops, to t-shirts, to anything that they just found in the trash, in the city (the village) that’s closest to them, they created their homes with, their shelters with. And you can see it all on my story highlight and on my Instagram as well.
So, of course, going to it, you know, part of me felt so sad, of like, how can people live like this and of course, there’s no running water, there’s no electricity, these children don’t go to school. And I was also trying to look at it from a more anthropological lens of who am I to say what’s best? And it’s hard because I’m such a, you know, I’m a human rights advocate, so it’s hard for me to sometimes not have that, like, narrative of what’s right. And I do believe that every child is worthy of education and every person is worthy of water, for sure. And what really struck me was just the drought that is happening right now.
Of course, the desert is always dry, but the past 5 years, they have been going through a really horrific drought, that it has barely been raining and many of the wells have gone completely dry.
So, we went to the first nomadic home, they were goat herders and, me and Steven, we love animals, so we went straight up to the goats and they were running to us, you’ll see the video on my story, these hundreds of goats just run to us. Baby goats! At first, I was like “Wait, what are they going to do?”, but they were just running to us, and I just held them like puppies. Some of them let me cuddle them and play with them, some of them were definitely reincarnated dogs. But then they kept following me and I realized they wanted water, there’s not enough water there because all of the wells are dry, that water is so scarce and this family is doing whatever they can. And part of the reason why, the reason why nomads are nomadic is because they need to keep moving to find grass for their goat and their sheep.
So, as soon as one area, the grass is kind of inept, they move to the next area, which has become more difficult now because the Berbers have no boarders, they travel anywhere, however, because of the Moroccan and Algerian Governments, political disagreements, the boarder has shut down, so a lot of these Berber people are really struggling because now they can’t cross that border anymore to Algeria, to which they just used to be able to go to when the season required them to go there, so they’re really struggling.
So, a lot of nomadic people have had to leave the nomadic way of living and have had to move to villages where many of them, you know, are not doing so well, they don’t have education, they cannot read or write, some of them are even moving to the big cities and becoming homeless.
So, that was so sad to see because being a nomad is such a cultural way of life there, that’s really what the Berber way of life has been about, and because of this drought and because of the political disagreements with Algeria, it’s very hard for it to happen. So, it was heartbreaking just to see, just, first of all these goats, let alone human beings, struggling and not having enough water.
So, these goats were like, there’s just this empty bin and they keep looking at me and they’re trying to lick it, and it’s completely dry. So, that really broke my heart, it’s like, I want to do everything that I can, how can I build a well in a drought? And that’s why many of these nomadic people have no choice but to leave their life. And in fact, it’s getting increasingly rare to find nomadic people who are still doing it because of how challenging it’s become.
Now, what do they eat? Most of them live off of dates. Dates grow very abundantly in Morocco. Like, all of the palm trees there are date trees. So, dates really provide so much sustenance for people to life off of. Milk, milk from their goats or sheep, and then the meat, time and time again.
So, most of them, that is all they eat, at all. And now they have to go further and, once a week or so, gather water, but it’s more and more difficult. Again, they don’t have cars, they have to take, if they’re lucky, they have a camel, but camels are even getting very expensive there, so you definitely could feel the struggle.
So, we went there, we brought, I’m so glad I brought those school supplies, because I saw these beautiful girls in the second place that we visited. And I hope they can learn how to read and write, I really do, because it’s just going to provide them with so many more opportunities.
You know, my grandma was in a forced child marriage when she was 11 years old and the one regret she had is that, after that marriage, she had to leave school. Luckily, she learned how to read and write before that, but just so many of these girls, when they don’t know how to read and write, they’ll never have an alternative to getting married. And still, many places around the world, not just in Morocco, have forced marriages, and often times they are to children under 18 years old, sometimes, they said the age is getting older and older, but still, in many parts of the world it’s not unnormal for girls – I hope they’re older than 11, but that still happens. I mean, in different countries, there are girls as young as 7 years old, who are in forced child marriages.
So, that really just breaks my heart to know that so many of these girls will have no choice because they were never taught how to read or write, that they will have to marry whoever their family chooses for them to marry, and who their family chooses to marry becomes a money issue, just because the families don’t have the money that it goes to who can pay them the highest dowery, who can give them sheep, or goat, or cows, or gold, or whatever the dowery is.
And the way the dowery works in Islamic culture is, the men actually pay the woman’s family to marry her, whereas in Indian culture, the woman pays the man’s family, it’s a little different.
So, these girls and these children were so stunning, I actually, you know, I gave them some snacks as well because I was like, every child deserves to have chocolate, at least once in their life. So, I gave them some Kinder eggs that I had as well, and books, and pencils and pens, and I’m just praying that it opens up a doorway, that maybe these girls will start to learn how to read and write from these books and maybe their parents will send them to schools because there are schools for the nomadic children, and that’s where we went to next.
We actually went to, first, a pre-school, we brought some supplies there and then we went to a school. So, it was a one classroom that was for everyone, between 3 – I mean, yeah, it’s interesting because there’s a pre-school but there were like 3-year-old kids in this classroom, up to a boy that was probably like 13, so it was just one classroom for all of the kids. It’s better than nothing, but definitely because just supplies are low, there’s just not enough money for different classrooms and teachers, and all of that.
So, we went to the school and I just got into my teacher’s role, I started teaching them ‘head’. ‘shoulders’, ‘knees’ and ‘toes’. And by the way, if you go to any country, you want something to teach the kids, teach them ‘head’, ‘shoulders’, ‘knees’ and ‘toes’ because that is like a really fun song and it helps them learn ‘head’, ‘shoulders’, ‘knees’ and ‘toes’, ‘eyes’, ‘ears’, ‘mouth’ and ‘nose’, and then I just started to teach them different body parts, hands, feet, eyelashes, eyebrows, and we spend a few hours working on these. So, it gives them something tangible to walk away with that them knowing a little bit of English can really help them with just getting jobs, their education, learning new things, reading books, it can just open up a pathway.
So, that was just so beautiful, the children were so lovely. My favorite thing to do on earth is to volunteer, and it just reminded me how deeply I desire to also do volunteer work here in Miami, where I live, and there are many children in need.
So, wherever you are, you don’t need to go to another country to be of service, there’s so much available for us right here. And any country you go to, I highly encourage you to go on idealist.org ask your waiter, ask the bus boy, ask the house cleaner “Where can I teach here? Are there any orphanages here? Where can I bring school supplies? Do you know any hospitals I can visit?”, they know, it doesn’t need to be a big fancy organization, just ask local people.
If this guy, who didn’t own the camp, didn’t bring me to these nomadic villages, I would’ve never had access to them, but because he was a nomad himself, I was able to go there. So, it doesn’t need to be – of course, if you’ve never been to that country, maybe you feel more safe going with a non-profit organization, but while you’re also traveling, go off the beaten path and volunteer, I guarantee you, it will be the highlight of your trip, it will connect you with the culture more than anything else.
So, after that and the desert oasis, we went to Marrakesh. Now, Marrakesh is where we spent the next 8 days. And I thought Marrakesh was going to be like, the city I was the most obsessed with, and actually, it ended up as a city, as a medina, ended up being my least favorite, the reason why is because there were motorcycles everywhere.
So, as you’re walking through these labyrinths, there’s like super, super fast motorcycles going by you, on both sides, and it’s really dangerous, and I was really worried for just the kids running around there, for the elderly running around there, homeless people on the side of the street, where these people are zipping so fast. Whereas Fez felt very, like, very homey and very personal, even though it’s actually a larger medina, the one in Marrakesh has more of a city energy to it.
In Fez, honestly, I didn’t really experience people begging at us, I never felt unsafe at all, everyone just kind of left us alone, did our own thing, or they would want to talk to us, learn where we’re from. Whereas in Marrakesh, that’s where I saw – you know, there’s this big square in the middle of Marrakesh and there’s just so many people from snake charmers, but it’s like, they’ve taken these snakes from the wild and are like, you know, snakes are not meant to live in a little pot to dance up and down when you play flute, that’s not right. But what was even sadder were all of the monkeys on chains, yeah!
So, again, I understand why, when people are desperate, they look for whatever they can for money, but there are so many monkeys that literally have metal collars on them, with metal chains, and the people are like “Hey, do you want to take a picture with this monkey?”, and I was just like, you know – again, cultural thing, I don’t want to tell people what not to do but it’s like, monkeys do not, they’re not meant, they’re communal beings, they’re not meant to be on their own and they’re definitely not meant to be on a leash, a metal leash! And I was just so sad for them!
What was more surprising was to see freaking tourists pay these people to take pictures with them, I’m like “Well, as long as these people are making money off of these monkeys, this is going to keep going”.
So, that, like, Marrakesh, the city center, is where you see a lot of that type of stuff. If you make eye contact with someone, they think you’re going to buy something, it can be very, very intense and you definitely have to have your guard up. Luckily, I did not experience any kind of pickpocketer, but we were warned about this, we were warned about “Don’t buy the argan oil here, it might be fake argan oil”, “Don’t buy the spices here, it’s fake spices”, “Don’t do the henna, it has chemicals in it”, so it’s definitely the result of a lot of tourism, which causes people to cut corners and do what they can.
And it was definitely a culture shock for me because my entire experience in Morocco has been so lovely and gentle and warm and sweet, and that’s the true essence of what Morocco is, just, this is like, you know, it’s as if you went to Times Square, that’s not real New York, it’s New York for tourists.
So, I was a bit shocked because everything I saw about Marrakesh online just kind of shows you social media vs. reality, I thought it was going to be – I thought I was actually going to buy a second home there, I’m like “I’m probably going to end up moving here”. I told my mom like “I’m probably…this is where I’m going to live”, and once I got there I was like “Dude, I don’t even want to walk around this medina, it’s so overwhelming”.
So, I would say, the beautiful part of Marrakesh is, it had the most amazing hotels. Of all of the places, the hotels here were off the charts! So, I will share with you where I stayed.
Okay, who watched Sex and the City 2? So, Sex and the City 2 is the one that they went to Abu Dhabi, the one that Carrie kissed Aiden, does anyone remember that scene where Carrie kissed Aiden?
So, the hotel that she kissed Aiden at, Aiden’s hotel, is the Amanjena, and this is where I stayed.
So, this hotel, like, if I were to have a massive budget and I could create any hotel of any esthetic, what would I create? It would be the Amanjena! It is like, everything is peach. These long hallways, these arches, this just like ornate spacious, sacred, palatial energy. Like, it wasn’t like the riads where it’s like very, like, you know, riads are in the middle of the medina so it’s like small and it’s like a lot going on, whereas this is like an empress, the peach with the turquoise, like, my two favorite colors coming together, I could not stop staring! Like, I was just in disbelief of the level of beauty, I’ve never seen something like this before! Just for my esthetic, it was perfection!
So, the Amanjena, highly recommend! Go on their Instagram, it was amazing! Again, I don’t work with them, I just really liked it.
A lot of my pictures from my Instagram that you’ll see, in the long hallway, the one with the long golden dress, I have recorded a beautiful reel there, that was in the Amanjena. So, that was the most beautiful hotel I’ve actually ever been in in my entire life, and of course, in Morocco as well.
However, we stayed at another hotel too, and this was where I faced an abundance block. So, it was quite fascinating.
So, this hotel was called The Mandarin Oriental, and there’s Mandarin Orientals all over the place, they’re beautiful, very high-end, 5-star hotels, but this one in Morocco was on another level in terms of the service.
Like, you walk in and he’s like “I’m Osama, I’m going to be your butler”, I’m like “Okay”, they wouldn’t even let you walk holding your cup, they’re like “Oh, let me hold your cup”, I’m like “Wait, I can hold my own cup”, it was actually to the point that it felt too much, for me and my husband, we’re like “Wait, are we experiencing an abundance block right now?”, it was like, I couldn’t handle the level of service, just because in the US, like, you know, I would say in Europe, there really isn’t that much service. Like we went to France before this, for my friend’s wedding, for a few days, and in France they don’t even bring up your bags to your hotel, even in a nice hotel, they’re like “Okay, you’re on your own”. And I’m not saying everywhere, but in general, as a culture, they’re not into giving service, they’re kind of smoking their cigarettes, doing their own thing.
In America, people help you with your bags, there’s a level of service, but you don’t get, like, butlers, you don’t get people who are like holding your cup as you take a walk from this side of the hotel to the next side, like, walking behind you, who are going to hold an umbrella for you, it’s not like that. Whereas in Morocco, and in India, it’s very much like that and it can be very overwhelming.
Like, I remember in India, going to some restaurants where there’s, first of all, just a staff of people who are sitting around your table and you’re just like “This is awkward”, and then when you try to reach to grab more vegetables, they’re like “Let me get that for you”, it’s like “You don’t know the ratio of broccoli vs. sauce I want, I’m good, I will get my own”, but you know, people there are used to it and it really does come from the poverty gap, that is the reason why there’s such a high level of service, because there’s such a huge amount of wealth and a huge amount of poverty that that’s what allows people to have servants and butlers etc., which is normalized, especially in India. Like, so many people have servants, they even call them servants, which, to me, growing up in America, that’s like a very offensive term, but because of the disparity gap. Whereas in France, there’s not as much of a disparity gap, which leads to less service.
So, in Morocco, there is that big disparity gap as well, and it was actually quite hard to receive that level of service. It was so beautiful, such a gorgeous hotel, absolutely loved it, and I would go back, but I wouldn’t say, I don’t want someone, like, catering to my every need, but it was a gorgeous, gorgeous hotel. And we also stayed at The Four Seasons there, so we kind of did a few nights in one place, a few nights in the other place, not on purpose, but, you know, I’m being real on this Podcast, we were supposed to stay at a riad. And we were exhausted, it was our first day, when we got to Marrakesh, so we had a 6-hour drive from the desert oasis to Marrakesh, and I’m on my yoga mat and I notice this bug on the ground, but I just didn’t think anything of it, I thought it’s just a bug, and then it’s finally like, we went to dinner, we couldn’t find a place – again, you’re in these medinas, there’s no cars or anything like that, even just bringing our bags to the riad, it was 15 minutes of going through these alleys, so we’re exhausted, it’s 1:00 AM, we’re finally going to sleep, and Steven’s like “Come here, look at this bug”, and I look and I see the bug go across the pillow, down the bed, he’s like “Was that a bedbug?”, I’m like “Fuck!” Because I experienced bedbugs in an old apartment I lived in, in Santa Monica, which was like, on Ocean Ave, which is supposed to be very nice and this entire building had bedbugs, they didn’t tell anyone, it was like a whole thing. And it’s traumatizing, like, if you’ve gone through bedbugs, bugs before, it’s very traumatizing because you have to get rid of so much of your stuff, they can live in your frames, they can live in your pillows, they can live anywhere, and it’s so hard to get rid of them, and they bite you and they suck your blood when they know you’re asleep, so you wake up with, like, a trail of bites on you. So, we found the bedbug and we took a picture, and luckily Steven was able to kill it, I look it up online, it was a bedbug, and I’m like “Dude, I’m not sleeping here tonight, knowing that there’s bedbugs”, he’s like “Come on, I’m so exhausted, let’s just sleep”, I’m like, you know, part of me was the inner good girl that was like “Okay, he’s exhausted, like, yeah, what are we going to do in the middle of the night? Walk through the medina with all of our bags, at 1:00 AM, where are we even going to stay? Just sleep there, tomorrow we’ll leave”, that’s what my inner people-pleaser was telling me. But my inner bad bitch was like “Fuck, no! I am not sleeping in a bed knowing that it has bedbugs, we need to find someone that works at this hotel, it’s not even a hotel, it’s people’s houses, there’s no locks even on the door at these places, we need to find someone and get out of here because if we sleep for one night with bedbugs, one, I’m going to wake up with bites on my face, and they can live in our clothes, which will lead to us having bedbugs continually, for the rest of our trip, maybe bring them back to Miami, this is a major hygiene issue!” So, I’m like “Steven, no, we need to leave, I am not staying here”, and I really put my foot down, he was kind of like, he didn’t realize what a big deal bedbugs are. So, I went on hotels.com and that’s how I found The Four Seasons, which was like, we got there, we’re like “Ahh, such an upgrade!”
And I share this with you because, sometimes, as women, we’re just like, we put up with shit because it’s easier not to, but it’s like “No, I’m not going to put myself in harm’s way. I’m not even going to put myself in discomfort’s way. I am paying for this, this is my vacation and I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight, knowing that there’s bedbugs in here!”
So, I later learned that Marrakesh does have a bedbug issue in the city, so I would suggest, if you do stay there, again, I don’t think every single place has it, but New York has a bedbug issue too, it’s not just Marrakesh, there are bedbugs in many, many different cities around the world – look, Santa Monica even had it, so I can’t say it’s just Marrakesh. However, I will say I felt more safe being a little bit outside of the medina and I just preferred it, energetically, the medina there, because how intense the energy is, it’s a lot for someone like me, who feels, whereas there are lots of hotels that are a 10-minute drive outside of the medina, which are gorgeous, like The Four Seasons, The Mandarin Oriental, Amanjena, and so many others, so I would recommend staying there.
Now, another thing that was quite overrated, I’m just keeping it real on this Podcast, I’m not sponsored by anyone so I can say whatever the fuck I want.
So, there’s this hotel that everyone was talking about called La Mamounia. And I saw so many Instagram posts about it, it’s like where the royalty stays and it looked so stunning and so beautiful, so we decided to do the spa, the hammam, there. And it was very tough because a lot of diplomats and presidents and stuff stay there, and I will say that that was an overrated experience. Just for what you pay for there, like – the hammams in Morocco are amazing and really beautiful, and typically you have your own little sauna to yourself, but at this one, you’re paying so much more, it’s like a shared sauna with people, like, and the hammam style is very rough, they’re very rough in the way that they exfoliate your skin and then they put soap on you and you have to get up and you have to go down, like, that’s part of the process, but it didn’t feel like relaxing to me, for sure.
And again, they don’t let you use the pool or any of the facilities if you’re not a hotel guest, and the rooms there were like $1600/night. So, I would say, you can go and check it out of you want to, like, take some pictures there, but it just felt very like Vegas hotel, like, you know, a hotel that got really popular so they made it really, really big and there’s just so many people and it was all of these designer stores all in it, it didn’t feel authentic anymore, it was just like stores that you would see at the airport, right?
So, I would say that that was, again, the things that I thought I would love, were not the things that I ended up loving.
Or, there was this other riad that I had seen all over Instagram that was, you know, it was super beautiful but again, from Instagram, I thought it was going to be this like, gorgeous, spacious place, and I got there and it was like, I think because everyone also saw their Instagram, it was like ten people, all crammed up into this space, it was like even hard to get pictures there. So, I would say explore because the things that are really popular on Instagram are going to be popular with a lot of people, so they’re going to feel very touristic and they’re going to lose that magic and that essence.
The things that were the biggest incredible surprises for me, going to the nomadic village, being in that desert camp – I will also say, in the desert – so, I love the drums, I love music, so follow the drums.
Every time we heard drums, we would follow them. So, we were in Fez, we heard drums from like the side of the street, we, like, walked our way up and we ended up in this room with all these, like, 20-year-old Moroccans just playing the drums at this, like, cool bar. They were playing this guara music and it was so stunning and just so, yeah, such a cultural experience.
And then also, when we were in the desert, I was like “Who are the local musicians here? I would love to hire them to come perform their local music for us”, so this group of men who, and you can culturally see the culture is so much different, the Sahara Desert has a much more African culture to it. So, the guara music is a mixture of African culture with the Berber culture, together. And they are Berber people, it’s just, rather than having more of the Arab roots, they have more of the sub-Saharan African roots. So, their music is stunning and just the way that they play the instruments, and they came and performed and I’m like “Can I drum with you guys?” So, I was drumming with them and we were just like jamming to different beats and I would start a beat and they would play their instruments and start singing, they would start one and I would drum along, so that was so much fun. Those were the peak highlights of my experience, the things that were spontaneous and they came from me asking, you know. Like, you’ve got to be the person to ask, the camp didn’t offer me them to sing, I asked “Do you guys know any locals who would love to sing?” The camp didn’t offer me to go to a school, I asked “Where can I go to a school?” Thy didn’t offer me to go to a village, I asked “Where can I go to a village?”
So, I say this because, sometimes you see other people and they’re having the vacation of your dreams, but it’s like, they didn’t necessarily sign up for this. If you go to the things that a travel guide, or whoever, are going to have as an option, those are the things that everyone’s already doing.
So, yes, do some of those things, but while you’re there, really take initiative to do what you love.
Another really cool thing that on Airbnb Experiences, a lot of locals are offering different classes. So, there were pottery classes, art classes, dance classes, so many things that were being offered there, that give you more of an insider’s look of what it’s actually like to be in the culture.
Let’s say you love mosaic work, you could’ve taken a mosaic’s class. For me, I love to dance, I took a dance class, so, really make the trip your own. I think sometimes we just do the general being down the path things, but the things that you love, wouldn’t it be cool to do it somewhere else and see how they love doing it? Like, we did a cooking class and that was super interesting to learn.
So, overall, that was my trip to Marrakesh. It was beautiful, it was everything I could’ve asked for, and more. I highly recommend it, and I am another person on the other side. It definitely took me a while to recover from the jet-lag, like, maybe because I’m getting older. I also found my first couple of grey hairs, so here I am.
So, it took me a minute, I was kind of exhausted, I actually had really bad digestive issues for the first week when I got back, I was like “Did I get parasites or something? I felt totally fine there”. And my husband, too, he often gets stomach issues when traveling, felt totally fine there, so I would say – again, we didn’t eat, like, side of the street stuff, we typically ate in nice places and hotels, but when I got back I got a really bad stomachache and I realized it was from the flax milk I was drinking, just guar gam and the chemicals that these flax milks and almond milks and all these non-dairy milks have, they’re not good for your digestion.
So, I had really bad gas pains and I think it was from reintroducing that back into my diet, so now I’ve gone back to making my own almond milk, coconut milk, just – and you see, when you’re making your own almond or coconut milk, it only lasts in your fridge for like 2-3 days, that’s because it’s natural. So, these milks that last for like a lifetime, sometimes not even needing to be refrigerated, like, what chemicals do they put there for that to happen? What is that doing to your digestive system/
So, yeah, coming back from a long trip like that, it’s almost like I don’t even know how to work, like, your emails. I was still looking at my emails, it wasn’t like a total sabbatical, I was still replying to things that needed to be, but I wasn’t coaching, I was doing my Q&A calls, but coming back, now that I’m the swing of things has been so great, I actually recorded this whole docu series that I’m creating, being inspired by the JLo docu series, so I made my own about just like living your Dharma and being multi-dimensional. I’ve been really stepping into my artist archetype, like I’ve mentioned, sharing more of my poetry.
I actually booked my first DJ gig at a festival, so I’m going to be DJ-ing at a festival this Fall, which I’m very excited for, I’ll be sharing with you more about that, where it will be, soon.
So, I’m just really wanting to sit into operating from this new frequency. Like, I noticed, within myself, because there was such long drives, I was just really paying attention to my thoughts, and by the way, I was listening to a really great book called “Braiding Sweetgrass” which I highly recommend, it’s this Native American woman who’s a botanist and she shares these beautiful stories about plants, but also weaves it in with, like, the medicine and the story of the plants and what they signify and their science, it’s really cool.
But anyways, I had a lot of time for introspection, I realized that, like, my nervous system was just operating from such a hyper-aroused space that the moment that I had any kind of space, I was like “Okay, check your Instagram, check your WhatsApp, check your TikTok, check your emails, check your texts, check your this, check your that”, looking for something to respond to, you know, looking for something that’s gone wrong, always feeling like I’m falling behind, and if I’m not, how can I get ahead? And I just started to really recognize that in myself, especially if you have slow or not working internet, you’re just like “Wow, why am I even wanting this so bad, where am I going?”
So, I’m really wanting to sit more from this place of like being very mindful of the energy that I create content from, being in my zone of genius, not in my zone of competence. So, doing the things that are really what I’m here to do and spending my time on that and not letting things like replying to all the DMs or, you know, this marketing thing or whatever else I’m doing, “Oh, the tech isn’t working, oh, let me revise this”, it’s like, it doesn’t really need to be done. So, I’m just really sitting with how can I, like, not even just work smarter, but work only in alignment and create when I’m in – and I can’t say wait for the muse, create the muse, but then let the muse guide you and then have the spaciousness of the pause. You know, you don’t always need to be on because then you’re really never going to get to the space of creativity if you’re always just, like, imagine if I’m like always, kind of, jogging, it’s going to be hard for me to sprint because I’m going to be kind of tired, right? So, if I’m resting, then I can do the sprint when the sprint is there.
So, I’ve had some days this week that have been like 12-hour days, just like in it, and then days like today that have been more slow, and I’m on this Podcast, which is just, like, this is my fun part for me, this is basically like my journal that I get to tell you guys, it’s like, we just had coffee after a long time and now we’re here chatting.
So, yeah, I’m just really sitting with that. I feel a major identity shift that’s coming, just, my more mystical essence and letting that be enough, and really releasing some of the old expectations that I had upon myself of what success used to look like. Like looking at, you know, a lot of people out there who have a book come out every single year, and they speak on these big stages, and they’re traveling, and you know, they have these big teams and these big launches, and that’s what success looks like, right? For me, I actually just don’t really care about having a big business, I just don’t really care, it’s not my passion, I don’t want to be on Shark Tank, it’s not my dream to be like “Oh, I have an 8-figure business”, you know.
And it’s been interesting because I have a business and people often do come to me for, like, business inspo, I guess, but it was never my goal. Like, I literally created a business so I could have a place for me to create, a place for me to podcast, a place for me to share, a place for me to coach, it was always about me being in alignment, and this was the vessel, it was always about freedom, it was always about the creation. And the business was the vessel that allowed this to happen. However, in creating a business, it’s just so many things become important that you need to figure out, right? You need to figure out how to manage a team, you need to figure out SEO, you need to figure out tech, you need to figure out marketing, you need to figure out just so many different things that that has taken a lot of my mental currency in the past 7+years now. And now I’m just really consciously choosing to not make that be my focus, like, yes, continue to grow, but like my goal now is really to build a team that’s in their zones of genius and have a more matriarchal structure of us working, where they tell me what they think we should do with the tech, they tell me what they think we should do with this. Like, I don’t believe in a patriarchal leadership where I’m the person, top down, making the decision, I don’t want to be a part of that, I want to be a part of the circle where we’re all coming together and sharing, and each of us have our own zones of genius and expertise, and we’re each trying things and failing at things and learning along the way, that’s what feels good to me.
So, I’ve been really operating from that. I have a very small team right now, but it’s been really great. Like, a couple of really solid people who are here for the mission and the vision, and just empowering them more, to make choices, which allows them to be more in their creative zones of genius and align their Dharmas with our collective Dharma. And that also gives me more of that space and less of that, you know, control and the need to be responding to things all the time, for me to really channel the next iteration of what’s coming through.
So, you know, whether that looks like this book being a poetry book or taking another shape and form, whether it’s like really stepping in to being a DJ and performing at different festivals, I don’t know the full picture yet, you know, but I’m just, I’m operating from the frequency and I’m letting the frequency be the message.
Like, right now, I’m really passionate about sharing with people that, you’re allowed to be multi-dimensional, you know, you don’t need to be one thing, you don’t need to label yourself. And in our day and age, where we feel like we need to contain ourselves to 180-character words and you can’t, like, how do I explain myself to you when my highest self is still telling me, you know? So, I’ve been sitting with that, sitting with that, like, I know nothing, and that’s beautiful.
So, that’s where I’m at right now. It’s been, just an initiation, upgrade, shift, seasonal, cyclical transition, all of it. And I just want to thank you for listening to this all and I hope it inspires you to take a trip anywhere, that has been the place that you’ve been wanting to go. You know, you’re going to get the money back, but you’re never going to get these years back. And I really want that to land because so often, we put back the dream travel, and yes, I definitely had to save up for this trip, for sure, and you know, there were times on the trip that, you know, staying at The Four Seasons, not cheap at all, staying at these hotels is not cheap but I’m like “I don’t know when I’m ever going to be back in Morocco, so the couple hundred, even, a couple thousand dollar difference it makes, it’s like, I can make that money back”.
And also, I want to share that I used to travel the world with very, very, very little money, like $2/night huts in India. So, also in a lot of countries, especially developing countries around the world, you actually don’t need much money to travel, you can very easily find riads in Morocco for $30/night that are like nice riads.
So, I will say, with all of this, I hope it inspires you to start dreaming about where it is that you want to explore and you don’t need to travel to have revelations, you don’t need to travel to transition, you don’t need to travel to step into the new version of you. And this trip reminded me how travel can also help with that. You know, just being in a different place, being in a change of scenery, and it’s not always easy. I eat like a really, really healthy diet, like, I don’t eat any form of sugar, bread, pasta, like, nothing, and there is, like, with sugar basically everything. Everywhere they give you Moroccan mint tea has a ton of sugar in it. They eat bread with almost every meal, they eat couscous, which is pasta, so it wasn’t easy. I definitely had to do a lot of, like, explaining of like “Can you just do this with vegetables?”, they’re like “And pasta?”, I’m like “No, no, no, just vegetables”.
So, also sometimes those changes in – like, it feels really good to be back and have my fridge and be able to make my Matcha and have my non-dairy milk, for sure, but it also shows you, you really don’t need those things.
Like, I actually was able to be fine, I brought my own powdered Matcha with me, I brought coconut milk powder with me, I brought my Inulin, I brought my Shilajit, so I just needed hot water, that was my morning drink.
For lunch, I would explain to them a green salad and hotels knew that, and villages, I mean, there wasn’t green salad, but I made do. Whatever vegetable they had, I just ate that, and you just realize how little you need.
I would definitely say, bring some protein bars or something that you can eat, there were definitely times that, you know, I didn’t feel super satiated because of just, most of the food were things I couldn’t eat, especially when I was out in the villages, right? But it was still 100% worth it and never a problem.
So, I would say, don’t let sometimes the comforts of life hold you back from taking that adventure and traveling because it reminds you that the comforts of life aren’t really needed, but having wonder and awe, sometimes, is really what you need.
Like, when is the last time you experienced wonder and awe? That you just looked at something and you were like “This is magnificent! How did someone make this? How did God make this?”, looking at nature, looking at the sunset.
One thing I’ll add, when we were in Chefchaouen, so, it’s like deep in, kind of, the agricultural area, so we went to this beautiful river that had this stunning waterfall that we hiked for like 2 hours and there’s all these beautiful, like, restaurants, little ma and pa restaurants that were in the river, and we swam in the water and it was so beautiful, and then we stopped at a marijuana field, a cannabis field.
So, it was fascinating to learn about how they grow cannabis and how most of the cannabis that they smoke in, like, Spain and Portugal, and lots of parts of Europe, are grown in Morocco.
So, we also got to have some of that nature, so I do recommend leaving the cities and the medinas as well, to have that nature experience. Of course, the Sahara Desert is such beautiful nature.
So, I share this with you because sometimes we see things that we didn’t know we wanted to see, to experience that awe and wonder.
So, take that trip, get on a bus and see where it takes you, buy a random cheap flight somewhere, you know, there are so many fun deals you can find online, that sometimes it’s like “Oh, for like $100, you can take this flight to Iceland”, take the flight to Iceland, you don’t know what you’ll learn. You learn so much about yourself through traveling, especially solo travel. I used to do most of my travel by myself, and just spending hours, you know, on a train, alone, being in a hotel on your own, you really learn so much about yourself, you have so much time for introspection, that it’s like, it shifts you to a degree that you just never would’ve have if you were at home with your comforts, with your phone, etc.
So, I really want to keep this frequency of continuing to have awe and wonder in my life. You know, there are so many places in Miami that I still haven’t visited. I’m sure where you live, there are many places, close by you, driving distance to you, that you haven’t been to.
So, continue to find things that amaze you, both locally and globally.
So, with that, that was my trip to Morocco. Beautiful, stunning as usual, and it was just a trip of a lifetime and I hope it inspires you to take yours.
So, I hope you enjoyed this Episode, head over to my Instagram to see some of the pictures of what I was talking about, and let me know if you have any other ideas for, like, fun Episodes you would love for me to do. Share a review of this Podcast on iTunes, that really helps the Podcast get out more to different people, and other people find this and maybe it inspires them. And then also share with me what types of conversations you would love for me to have. Maybe you want more just like behind the scenes content, what do I do in a day, I’m open and available, so let me know! And I love creating content in different types of ways, so let me know what you would love or if there’s a guest you would love. And share with me what you love about the Podcast as well, it really helps me to just see how it lands and see how it fits.
Again, I’m just recording these by myself in my room, so it’s like so strange to me that someone else is ever going to hear this, so it’s pretty cool! So, let me know what you love about it.
And, just for a free gift for leaving a review for the Podcast, I will send you my Free Course of Discover Your Soul’s Purpose, it’s a 5-day meditation course, I’ll send to you absolutely free for leaving a review of the Podcast on iTunes.
So, you can just take a screenshot of the review before you send it over and email it to me at [email protected] you can find that link in the show notes and I will send you my Free Discover Your Soul’s Purpose 5-day meditation course.
Again, I hope you loved this Episode, I loved sharing it with you! And thank you again for being here, I’ll see you on the next Episode.
Episode 445: The Time I Was Caught in a Sand Storm – Lessons From the Sahara Desert,
Morocco Travel Recap
By Sahara Rose