A few weeks ago, I unexpectedly happened to catch up with a friend in Morocco. When she innocently asked what I’d been upto, I blurted out that I felt like a complete idiot. Ever since the pandemic, I’ve been making these big decisions, only to reconsider them a few weeks or months later, and make polar opposite ones.
You probably know that I had lived out of two bags since 2013, until the pandemic hit. I guess I was pretty content slow travelling the world as a digital nomad – blogging and freelance writing at the intersection of immersive and sustainable travel.
Two or so years of being in lockdown (mostly in Goa), sent me on many different professional paths. I began pursuing a master’s degree, formalised my consulting work, and declared that I was no longer travelling full time.
When we felt too weary in Goa, my partner and I moved to an incredible mountain abode in Himachal. Life felt pretty close to perfect.
But then the abode went into renovation at short notice, and we thought the universe was urging us back to Goa… except within a week, we realized we’d misread the signs. After those quiet months in Himachal, the humidity and bustling traffic of Goa suddenly felt like too much to handle.
So back we went to Himachal, to spend the monsoon in a mud house and eventually sign a year-long lease on an unfurnished village house. That’s the first time in a decade that I signed a rent agreement that lasted longer than 3 months! Suddenly, we were spending our days chasing down carpenters and plumbers.
I slowly tried to settle into this new, definitive life. As part of my climate action plan to reduce flying in 2023, I refused tempting travel opportunities. I watched the seasons change, hiked everywhere, found some folks to play basketball with, and was beautifully surprised by an autumn filled with cherry blossom!
But time soon started to feel infinite and unending. The days merged into other days. Conversations with neighbors and friends seemed to be on a loop. I felt like a hamster on a wheel, dreaming of the world beyond.
Then Morocco appeared on the horizon. A two-week cycling trip through popular cities and remote villages across the country. Time in the Sahara Desert and the High Atlas. A chance to learn the inner workings of a travel company (Intrepid Travel) at the forefront of sustainable travel. HELL YES.
One night, with a few more days to spare before our visa ran out, we watched the last sunset of 2023 by a kasbah (fortress) in Essaouira. The waves of the Atlantic Ocean crashed on the shore. The sun washed the sky and the stone in shades of orange. The song of folk musicians merged with that of the waves.
Sitting there, it hit me that trying to determine the future makes me more anxious than just letting it go.
That in the last 3 years, I’ve missed the free-spiritedness that made me chase and live the life I did. I’ve missed the joy of not knowing, not deciding, not declaring. I’ve missed the ‘me’ who was untethered – to a place, to a way of being.
I have no idea what happens next. Do we eventually go back to Himachal? Do we use our one month notice period to get out of the year long lease? Do I hit the road again? Do I downsize to two bags again? Do I embark on adventurous land journeys again? Is it really travel that still lures me or just the idea of it?
As the sun sank into the Atlantic, not knowing, not deciding, not declaring felt okay. It felt like a relief.
The time I’ve spent in Morocco has been many things. But most of all, it has been a reminder that we travel in search of what we need, but return home to find it (borrowed from George Moore’s words). The road feels like that “home” for me.
If you’re still here and made it this far on my journey, tell me what detours your life has taken? What do you hope 2024 will be like?
PS: With my many detours in life, I’ve also strayed far away from the soul of this blog. In 2024, I’ve pledged to come back to travel blogging – for the joy of writing, sharing travel adventures, and having real conversations that don’t feel as fleeting as they do on social media.
PPS: My blog has a new look! It’s still work in progress, and I’ll share the backstory soon. But until then, check it out here.
Connect with me on Instagram for my on-going Morocco series.
Welcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, “sustainability influencer,” social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan, sustainable tourism consultant and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who believes that travel – if done right – has the power to change us and the world we live in.