Before I left for Morocco, I had received multiple concerns from family and friends about travelling to an Arab country. Their concern came from my sexuality and the idea that Arab countries threaten the lives of LGBT+ individuals. I am not saying that isn’t true, countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia have a history of this, but I was traveling to Morocco.

The first step into Morocco

I had traveled to Morocco with friends and a professor who had grown up in the area. I definitely recommend flying from New York to Casablanca. Casablanca, Morocco reminded me of California when I had visited, and I think that is a good way to transition from American lifestyle to Morocco.

It eases you into this new country with not as big of a cultural shock. Especially since the Casablanca is the setting of the 1942 film, “Casablanca”. There is a sense of familiarity to it.

The Sahara desert and it’s beauty

My first weekend in Morocco, we had travelled to the Sahara desert and camped out there for a night. We had left for our camping spot during the middle of a sandstorm. It was one of those adventurous scenes you would see into a movie, leading to the discovery of an ancient tomb and magnificent riches. Sadly, we didn’t find any riches but instead reached our camping spot. This is still one of the most memorable moments in my life. Dancing with everyone around a fire while our hosts were playing instruments, staring at the stars that shinned in the night sky, and going to sleep with the sound of the wind and the moving sand.

The city painted blue, Chefchaouen

I won’t lie, Chefchaouen is one of the easiest places to get some Hashish. If that is your cup of tea, then go to Morocco and experience the Blue city while flying high as a kite. The city offers plenty of other marvels as well though. The entire city is painted in a gradient of blues and is surrounded by mountain tops.

There is this small hiking trail that goes up to a local Mosque that has this incredible view of the city. This is also a place to shop and bargain, and luckily the locals speak Spanish just as much as Arabic.

The shopping maze of Fez

Now, if you really enjoy shopping then I highly recommend traveling to Fez. It is one giant shopping mall while also doubling as a maze.

Definitely travel in a group here, if you get lost then it will be very difficult to find your way around without being familiar with the city. It is known as the “mecca of the West” for its large shopping districts and that plenty of goods are produced and sold here. We were able to travel to a leather shop which also made and colored the leather allowing us to witness the process of making these incredible items. Also, it is much cheaper to get a high quality leather bag in Morocco then it is to in the States. So bring your Dirhams and spend like Trump on a golfing trip.

The big city and summer party

If none of those things convinced you to travel to Morocco, then go to Rabat. The capital of Morocco offers the life of a big city with a medina that will make you fall in love with the Arab World.

During one week during June, Rabat holds a music event called Mawazine where musicians like Justin Timberlake, Shakira, and much more have performed. For a whole week you can live your music festival fantasies and go see some incredibly talented musicians all for free. I definitely recommend going to La Deliciosa after you have a blast listening to the music. Me and one of my closest friends had one of the most enjoyable crepes and they serve plenty of other great foods.

Morocco is one of the best places to vacation and will warm you up to the diversity of Africa. It is also a great place for any person who is starting their journey to master the Arabic language. So get your plane ticket and go on one of the most relaxing or maybe the most adventurous vacation you will ever experience.