Budget traveling again.
Damm it feels good to be budget traveling again.
Happy new year everybody 😀 I hope you’re all having a good start to the new year.
As you may know my 2017 ended and 2018 started in Morocco. I’ve just returned and wanted to update you all with my first post of the new year.
If you read my previous post, (ready to travel again) or if you’re a regular reader; you will know this was my first trip since I fell out of love with traveling.
I have to say, it felt so good to be budget traveling again after my hiatus from traveling. And Morocco, if you’ve never been – you have to experience it. To be honest with you, even though I’d heard good things before hand, I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. It actually surprised me just how much I enjoyed it but I also think that was partly due to just enjoying budget traveling again.
Wide eyed tourist.
You know, when I previously traveled continuously for 6 years, going to a new country was just normal to me; it was just what I did.
However this time around it felt different, fresh and exciting, and that’s something I haven’t felt with traveling in such a long time. I’m talking about all of it, from writing about going on the trip, packing for the trip, the journey to the airport, the flight, arriving in Marrakech and the whole week – It felt so good for it all to be fresh and new.
That first night, stepping out of the airport to be greeted by over-zealous taxi drivers, it was a little overwhelming – And I liked it. Sounds weird but it was like I hadn’t experienced it before (although I had many times) and for just a moment I didn’t know how to react to it.
Once I composed myself, found my taxi, reached my hostel and ventured out into the streets of Marrakech to meet my friends, I actually felt like a wide-eyed tourist and not the seasoned traveler I had previously become.
I can remember walking down the street looking for the restaurant and it felt weird, I felt this nervous excitement which was gone during my previous traveling stint. Even after I met up with them, I sat there trying to take it all in. My brain was trying to process everything around me, and my friends could tell I was a little over the place.
A weird Experience.
However, as the night progressed, we ventured into the street markets and famous Marrakech souks. As hawkers, vendors and beggars approached us and in some cases harassed us, my brain started to go through some kind of transformation. It may sound a little crazy but the more they approached us, the more I was remembering how to be a traveler.
It’s hard to explain but it was like half of me was this wide-eyed tourist trying to process everything but at the same time my traveler instincts were taking over, the more we were approached the more savvy I was to them. In a way it’s like the hawkers and vendors were triggers that bought out the seasoned traveler inside me.
Getting back into the swing of things.
By the end of the night, I felt like a sportsman who had returned after injury having been out of the game for so long; at first, a little rusty but by the end of the night I was back in the swing of things. (I hope that makes sense, like it does in my mind haha.)
From the moment I had breakfast in the hostel and got talking to other travelers that second day it was like I had never stopped traveling in the first place. I got to know the staff, other guests and even gave advice to first time backpackers who were a little worried about their trip. Everything felt natural, like I was back in my natural habitat or even like I had found myself.
I was back into traveler mode, my brain picked up certain spots so I could remember how to navigate the chaotic streets and souks. I was haggling with vendors, dodging snake charmers, looking for the cheapest options for food and drink and I felt at home while doing it; It was natural.
I guess you can compare it to riding a bike – no matter how long you don’t do it, you’ll never forget how to.
A savvy budget traveler.
Although it was a short holiday and not long-term traveling I still treated it as a budget trip, and I’m happy to say I spent a lot less than what I anticipated.
If you’re looking to travel to Marrakech on a tight budget it can be done. My hostel – Hostel Riad Marrakech Rouge was very cheap (only £4 per night for a 6 bed dorm.) It’s consistently voted one of the best hostels in Marrakech, and I would definitely go back if I was to go back to Marrakech. (Post on the hostel coming soon). I had already booked my Sahara desert trip before hand so that expense I didn’t have to worry about but there are plenty of tour agencies that will give you a decent price.
With some searching around food can be also be very cheap, you can eat good on 45 Dirhams or less, which equates to about £3.50. Put it this way on my last night I splashed out and ate in a very fancy french restaurant, with a 3 coarse meal – it cost me £20 in total with drinks. If this restaurant was in England that same meal would have been triple the price.
Excursions and tours may set you back a little but there are plenty of tour operators around Marrakech and like in all countries you just have to do some shopping around, and this being Marrakech; some haggling goes a long way to reduce the cost of excursions.
Haggle, haggle, haggle.
Talking about haggling, that is the name of the game in the souks, you WILL get scammed and ripped off if you do not haggle. Haggling is part of the culture here, it’s not just with tourists and travelers but locals haggle too. If you’re not comfortable or don’t know how to haggle make sure you go shopping with somebody who does. I was able to save so much by haggling for my souvenirs. (I will be writing a post on the art of haggling soon.)
It wasn’t just the haggling but everything through the week, dodging snakes charmer’s, navigating the streets and souks, riding camels, feeling absolute serenity in the Sahara desert, I loved every minute and I enjoyed budget traveling again.
Enjoying budget traveling again.
The main reason I stopped traveling in the first place was because I stopped enjoying it. During the 6 years I previously traveled it got to a point where I was just going through the motions. The excitement was gone, seeing and experiencing world wonders just didn’t have the effect it should have done. However I am so glad and thrilled during my week in Morocco that had all gone.
Although it didn’t take long for traveling to feel natural there was a real buzz, an excitement, I actively wanted to try new foods, take pictures, go and see sights, learn about the history and cultures of the mountain and desert people (people who are from the desert are called nomads) and actually do things and that felt so good.
Ready for long-term budget traveling again.
This week in Morocco served as a test run for me, a taster if you like. One of the reasons I agreed to go out to meet my friends was to see if I was ready to travel again. And, the answer is a resounding YES!
Having taken the year out from traveling, I wanted to see how I would react to being out in the world again and the fact that it didn’t take long for it to feel natural confirmed to me that I’m ready for budget traveling again. I have definitely got the thirst back.
You know they say things happen for a reason, and over the years certain things happened at certain times, certain people came into my life and it really made me believe in that. And, I guess how I felt towards the end of my time in South America happened for a reason. I needed to come home, I needed the year out and the rest from traveling to really re-invigorate myself.
This past year while I’ve been at home has made me realise, this is who I am…A free spirit, a traveler, a nomad and I was made to roam. I’m sure you might be saying well you can do both, have a settled base, and travel like most people do but that’s just not me.
Making plans for 2018.
So, now that I’ve returned home from Morocco feeling reinvigorated and with the thirst to travel again, my thoughts are completely different to ones I had the last time I came home.
The last time I came home I wanted to unpack, dump my backpack into the wardrobe, eat bacon sandwiches and just do nothing but play on my Xbox. However this time around…ok, ok, I still wanted a bacon sandwich but my first thought and the only thoughts is to plan my next trip; and on a much more long-term basis with no intention of coming home. I will be forever roaming the world!
I do apologise for this very selfish post regarding only my feelings to budget traveling again but it’s one I felt I needed to write before I write anything about Marrakech and the Sahara desert.
My next post will focus more on Marrakesh and the nitty-gritty of what you’re going to need to know traveling there.
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