To be or not to be - alone?
Replies: 18 - Last Post: Apr 1, 2012 3:06 PM Last Post By: Truman13
Mar 29, 2012 4:54 PM
To be or not to be - alone?Hi everyone. I just graduated my only kid from college and I can FINALLY take up traveling again (not that I ever did give it up completely but didn't have quite the budget I had pre-kid). I've decided to spend a month starting in England (because I can) and working my way down to Morocco with a final visit to the Canary Islands right before coming back to the States.
I have traveled in Continental Europe alone not so many years ago and have no worries about that. But I have never traveled to Morocco. I am a silver-haired 58-year-old woman and I honestly love to travel alone but also travel with others. I have the option of doing either with this trip-a couple friends have indicated interest and if I push them they will go. SO, I looked at the replies to a past post and someone indicated it might be better to travel with someone. Enough to put up with the whole I want to do this and you want to do that other thing thing? I can do that but I love to sit in cafes and read books, wander through the country's designated wilderness, stay in local hotels or hostels, soak up the ambience kind of thing and neither one of my buds particularly like to do that. Which brings up another thing. Are there wilderness areas? And can I backpack alone in a wilderness area - go or no go?
Your experiences would be helpful. Thanks.
Mar 29, 2012 5:43 PM
1Sometimes I travel in Morocco with friends, and yes, you have to be careful to make sure that everyone gets to feel they've had some choice in what the group does. With friends can be great fun, but I also thoroughly enjoy being solo. I can go exactly where I want, do what I want to do.
I am often exploring the really remote areas where tourists are rare and I find travelling alone I meet more locals. In 40 years travelling in Morocco I have only once encountered a difficult situation. I believe the country is far safer than the so-called western civilisation.
Have fun, and don't hesitate to come back with detailed questions.
Edited by: emd_two on Feb 1, 2013 2:36 AM
Mar 29, 2012 5:47 PM
2Backpack alone: not a good idea. And there are no "wilderness" areas if you use the U.S. definition, but there are lots of off-the-beaten track areas.
But otherwise, if you use the same common sense you would use anywhere, you should be fine. Just expect attention from men who will want to marry you--they see you as an exit visa. I don't use hostels so others will have to advise you about this. But hotels are inexpensive, especially in the smaller towns.
Mar 29, 2012 11:41 PM
3Morocco is a safe and exciting country to explore and I love being there alone (back last week from my latest wander). Public transport is an interesting way to visit the best places. I'm not a woman (though there are many who will atest to the safety aspect) but I'm your age and physically disabled - never had a problem in Morocco.
Edited by: WanderinWilco
Mar 30, 2012 1:39 AM
4You'll be absolutely fine, I've been to Morocco several times alone as a solo female & really enjoy it.
Morrocans are generally lovely & although you do get the marriage proposal often, it's not sinister & they keep their distance & respect at the same time. They're often curious to know more about why you're travelling & alone, but it's what I enjoy - interacting with Moroccans, chatting & learning more about the country. I find that when I've gone with someone you're more 'sheltered' from this interaction
Mar 30, 2012 2:47 AM
5I am agree too, it is no problem to travel alone. The people are helpful and nice, as Kira writes.
I remember once I was driving alone because my friend wanted not go there I wanted so he stayed at the hotel. When I would go back I had problem with to start the car. Suddenly came so many to help me, all were only helpful and I had no problem that some would try to do something wrong.
You can every time find some local hotel or guesthouse on the country side. You can even sit on some coffee and read and so. Was only aware that it can happen that someone will approach you and offer to be your guide or if you need help for example.
Mar 30, 2012 3:05 AM
6The best person to take is your kid! If he or she is interested. i.e while they're still young, single and free of major commitments...why not spend a great time together. Otherwise, go alone. Unless your friends like to travel in the same way as you, you may find it a bit restraining. And people are often quite different, once they are out of their usual safe home environment.
Mar 30, 2012 3:25 AM
Mar 30, 2012 3:34 AM
8Definitely with #6 - it can be a source of major problems making the whole experience of a country a nightmare!
Taken two kids there on separate occasions & they both adored it just the two of us travelling alone (aged 12 & 15) - although your 'child' sounds somewhat older!
Take the plunge & go it alone, you won't regret it - don't forget to tell us how it went!
Mar 30, 2012 3:49 AM
9Yes...there's also nothing worse than someone along on a trip that finds negatives everywhere (quite possible in Morocco) and complains and whinges nonstop. And if they don't cope, you can really feel like you could be enjoying yourself, if only..... And there's also nothing worse than feeling like a 'tour guide', if they aren't getting into the spirit of the trip and you are the only one making the decisions, choices, talking with the locals etc.
Yes..go it alone! :-)
Mar 30, 2012 6:23 AM
10When my son was 19 and had finished his first year at McGill University, Montreal, I was living in Nablus in the West Bank of what little remains of Palestine, working as a volunteer at An-Najah National University. With much support from family, he made the trip and we had a very good 10 days together. We saw much of Israel, but I also convinced him to come and meet my Palestinian friends & co-workers in Nablus, despite the fact those were dangerous times. I think it was an experience he will never forget.
I suggest that, if you have a reasonably good relationship with your "kid", that you make plans to travel together to Morocco. Of course, you would give each other lots of space. I hope you will think about it.
Mar 30, 2012 12:07 PM
11...... when are you thinking of being in Morocco, ...That is the Question... just watch out for the Holy Month of Ramadan, falls between 20th.July and 18th.August. Otherwise go without a second thought.
Mar 31, 2012 2:07 AM
12I will be leaving Morocco, in two or three days, at the end of my 11th trip in 20 years. I would also be silver haired, at age 64, without a good colorist. Go alone as I do by all means. Rained in at Tetouan, as I was, I could spend the day with a book. Ess was warm and lovely so stayed an extra day "just because'" Don't let traveling with others hamper your own experience. Happy travels.
Mar 31, 2012 1:47 PM
As a female the same age as you but, like galica, with an excellent colourist- I can assure you that you will have no problems travelling alone. In part this is because of the ethnic make up of Morocco, which is not an 'arab' country, as 80% of the population are Berber with have a different culture.
Morocco is not the sort of country you should 'push' others into visiting either. I have taken a number of girlfriends with me on trips & some have undoubtedly (at first) experienced real 'culture shock'. Worse, the last person I took with me absolutely hated the place from the moment we left the relative familiarity of the airport: believe me, there is nothing worse.
I have just returned from 10 days in Marrakech (my fifth visit & the first on my own) & can truly say that I met with nothing but helpfulness, friendship & interest. The other great thing about travelling on your own is that you can get to speak to Moroccan women, who have always treated me with real generosity. Here are a few examples: in the local hammam, the ladies who ran it ensured that some of the women customers demonstrated how everything worked- one even scrubbed me with local black butter & 2 younger women kept bringing me refilled buckets of water. On several other occasions,in local shops, women stepped in to offer arabic translations where shopkeepers did not speak french - and then there was the lady shop owner who absolutely insisted that I sit down & join her for tea that she had just made.
As for the men, the older ones, where you are able to communicate effectively, treat you with old world courtesy and the young ones are far more polite & helpful than many at home. And the attention? Ask yourself where else (outside Italy) women of our age, appropriately dressed for the culture, might be met with admiring glances? Providing you know the score, you can sit at a cafe for hours, watch a brand new fire engine nearly back into a donkey cart, have a serious philosophical discussion with a man of around 80 and flirt with some younger men.
What can be so bad about that?
Do make sure you take something warm with you if you are planning to visit Essouira (very cold onshore winds), don't expect to visit any mosques (entry prohibited for all tourists), mug up on your french, learn a couple of words in arabic - and do please smile as this is always very well received.
By the way, Khamlia, a little desultory market research (statistically unvalidated!) re women drivers in cars 2 weeks ago, led me to conclude that around 0.1% of car drivers were women, which fell to 0% if there was a man in the car. On scooters, around 5% were women, and the record was seeing 3 women sharing a single scooter!
Mar 31, 2012 2:46 PM
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