In our daily lives, we do a lot to prevent ourselves from getting lost, from derailing or running of track. This is true not only of the goals we set but literally how we plan our route from point A to point B. We rely on maps, on our GPS, we calculate time and plan schedules based on the anticipated length of the journey. Movement for us does not exist outside of destination. And yet, when stepping into the Medina in Marrakech, the soul purpose is to find yourself by getting lost.
I am a full week into working remotely from Marrakech, Morocco, a city that felt like a home away from home as soon as I got settled. I found it easy here to dive into the rhythm of life. And I’ve also found new life in what many may consider uncomfortable: the constant swirl of people, animals, bikes and motorbikes, colors and tiles and lights and fabrics and sound, and life, and life, and life.
The Medina is a labyrinth, a maze of passage ways that take you back in time but then bring you back to present, in a matter of steps and minutes. The Medina forces you to engage and interact and dive in and will open the world up for you if you let it. You must unlearn what you think you know about getting lost, as getting lost is the only way to find the magic. In the souks you’ll find shop after shop of treasures for your eyes. Don’t want to buy anything? That shouldn’t stop you from engaging, from having tea, from embracing the scene unfolding around you.
You cannot be in your thoughts as you wander. Doing that is sure to get you honked at by a motorbike as it weaves through the narrow alley ways. There are parts with open sky and parts covered. Your job is simply to take it in, to release yourself of any agenda or preconceived notion, to be in a place where others are also being.
The most humored part of the Medina for me is that even when I have been absolutely sure that I’m going out the same way I came in, I end up exiting in a completely different place. A friend who joined me yesterday to the balcony seating of Cafe Atay, was also surprised to find his directions were off. The Medina will trump your instincts and your Google Maps app, and you should let it instead of trying to resist.
So if you’re looking for a place to have the best experiences getting lost, to get comfortable with the not knowing, and to be open to the journey as it unfolds, I think you should add Marrakech to your list of travel destinations.