One of my goals over the past year has been to find the balance between quality family catch-ups, work inspiration trips, and living abroad in a new city. You could say I've been figuring out how to live my best life. Since I took that leap of faith back in March 2022 to try a new city, one year down the track, there is some clarity. Now that the post-pandemic world has opened up and we seek new ways of living outside of the norm, new destinations can be discovered.


When our eldest, who now lives in Stockholm, said, 'I haven't seen the ocean or surfed for nearly a year,' as someone who grew up in Brisbane with access to the best beaches in the world, I totally understood what he was craving. It was quickly followed by, 'I'd like to go to Morocco.' 'Sure,' I said, 'let's go.' When mom's paying for most of it, there's no reason why he wouldn't want to hang out with me for 10 days.


Morocco has been on my bucket list, but not as a tourist. Like in India, I've learned that the best way to have real experiences is to not follow the tourist track but rather be led by connections, locals who take you into their homes, eating behind the main medians, sitting with Moroccans, eavesdropping on Arabic and French, hunting for something else, and lapping it up. And this is exactly what we did.


Our first destination was Essaouira, a charming Moroccan village. It was a great way to ease into a new culture. We arrived late in the afternoon and had booked a local Airbnb—a two-room apartment in the heart of the local homes. As you peered out the window in the morning, you could check when the fresh bread was ready to be picked up, plus see a few donkeys and carts moving down the laneways. Spending three nights in a new place was a good start. We had enough time to visit the morning fish market, enjoy breakfast straight from the ocean, get lost in the medina, and watch some magical sunsets before moving on to Marrakesh.


Marrakesh was everything we imagined it to be, with its bustling main medina, vibrant souks, and textile heaven filled with the aroma of spice and mint tea. We stayed in a low-key riad just 200 meters from the central Medina. At night, it transformed into a feast of local food, snake charmers, art, and music. It's incredible how they install and collapse this every day. One of our close friends recommended food stand #98, and we probably wouldn't have tried it if they hadn't suggested it. It was an experience eating with Moroccan men only. Our Marrakesh experience was topped off with a beautiful garden lunch at a French connection's home—a lawn in the desert with French food and wine.


Our next stop was Agadir, where we stayed for only 12 hours. We rented a car and started driving up the coast. Agadir is a European tourist destination with a great beach, but it wasn't what we were looking for. Instead, we drove 30 minutes north to Taghazout. It felt like we had stepped back in time—a small fishing and surfing village from the '60s. We rented a beachfront Airbnb surfie apartment. We hired a board, I found my studio classes, and we settled in for three nights, which was just about right for a start. By this stage, I already knew I'd be back to Morocco.


Each night, the beachfront restaurants came alive. We took walks along the cliff faces, witnessed sunsets to die for, encountered cute street cats that we wanted to take home, and saw artists showcasing their work in the everyday market. It was amazing—a healthy living on the seaside. The waves weren't good enough for surfing, so we kept driving along this incredible road where the desert meets the ocean, dramatically embracing the cliffs. I just loved it so much that I forgot what the speed limit was and got pulled over by the police coming down the mountain.


We found the waves in Imsouane. It was one of those drives—two hours of coastal roads—to arrive at Happy Bay, where happy people reside. Wow! Surfing, yoga, warm crepes, and hot coffee with the chill in the air from the sea. We sat and chatted, and it was so present in the moment. To reflect on Morocco was a treat. The colours I saw were different from India, the patterns were different—everything was different. It felt so good to experience a new country outside of the norm and to have shared this with my son. It was a lifetime experience.


Mood boards are in progress, and new designs and color patterns are being worked on for 2024. Yes, we did have a glimpse of what it looks like to live our best life during those 10 days. Thanks, Anton, for sharing the calm of the surf, the seas, the people we met, and the chats we had.


Love, Emma xx