Go south, my friend, go south

Why am I travelling? I don’t want to be a tourist. I want to find answers. I want to talk to people. I want to understand things. I want to be Freya Stark. 

Freya Stark went to the Middle East in the 1930s and wrote about her experiences. I want to go further than Spain, as much as I love it here. Perhaps Spain is now too familiar. I have always had this fantasy about exploring the Middle East like Freya, but more particularly North Africa.

I would love to live for a time in Egypt, where my award-winning novel The Hidden – now republished as The Parchment Notebook and Aimee’s War – was set. 

I don’t want to be a booking dot com or hotels dot com statistic. I don’t want to stay in a hotel, see the tourist sites, eat in overpriced restaurants in old towns and near tourist wonders and say ‘that’s it.’

I want to go deep inside life and like Freya describe what I see. 

Spain is a historic wonder, a marvel. I am learning more and more about the power and intrigue of this country and it’s sizzling but I need to keep moving. 

I am thinking of going south, to Morocco. I really want to go to Algiers in Algeria because of the writer Camus but a friend has advised me against it. It’s too dangerous apparently, but danger has never stopped me. 

I need to strengthen my emotional being to proceed, get prepared for a new life in a land where I don’t speak the language. I can speak French fluently and French is still spoken in North Africa but I want to learn Arabic and talk to ‘real’ people, not people who are in the tourist game and who want to extract as many dineros from me as they can. 

I need to re-evaluate my travel bag too. 

And these are the questions I need to ponder. 

How do you travel when you are a kind of vegan?

How do you travel when you want to avoid everything that is promoted by travellers who share their experiences online in a happy snap type of way?

How do you travel when you want to travel in the most environmentally beneficial way, no planes, no plastic, no acquisition of ‘stuff’?

How do you travel when you have no agenda other than experiencing the experience?

I need to answer these questions over the next few days while I prepare myself for things a la Freya Stark. 

Keep loving each other.

Jo xx


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