Saturday 22 April 2017

The unbearable lightness of Morocco, unplugged

A short post today, and an ironic one: to share a link to my Morocco unplugged story (about a new "digital detox" trip I did earlier this year) while en route to an accidental digital detox on beautiful Lord Howe Island (well, there is WiFi at the small museum, when it's open, but not at Pinetrees Lodge, apparently by popular request.)

Djelleba phonetime, Meknes
The concept behind the Morocco trip, one of Intrepid Travel's three new "digital detox" adventures, was that everyone in our small group would sign a pledge to not use their smartphones or any other devices for nine days.

Living in northern NSW now, where some of my friends don't even use email let alone Facebook, I didn't find it too hard. In fact it was a relief to forget my life back home and immerse myself in Morocco. I wrote postcards, read a real book (instead of my Kindle), played cards, got used to not knowing the time or what was happening in the world and listened to our guide telling folk stories instead of disappearing into my headphones. It was a lighter way to travel, somehow.

A moment in the holy hill
town of Moulay Idriss
I think my four companions liked it too, though two 20-somethings admitted they use apps back home to manage their use of social media (one is called Forest: if you succumb to the call of the online world, a virtual tree dies).

"The only thing that makes life worth living is the possibility of experiencing now and then a perfect moment," wrote American writer Paul Bowles, Tangier's best known expat, who lived there for 52 years.

"And perhaps even more than that, it's having the ability to recall such moments in their totality, to contemplate them like jewels."

Others might disagree, but surely the only way to experience anything is to "look up" from our devices. In fact, remember Look Up, that spoken-word short film by Gary Turk? It's had more than 60 million views since it was uploaded to YouTube in 2014. If that's not ironic, I don't know what is.

As always, thanks for reading. Now let's all go outside, and look up at the sky.


  1. Where did you visit in Morocco? Any recommendations? Thanks, Ed

    1. Hi Ed, I'm in transit at the moment, between trips, but my Traveller story has lots of info about where I went (see link at the start of the post). Loved Chefchaouen and Tangier, found Marrakesh pretty touristy and Casablanca isn't the exotic place it pretends to be. Hope this helps! Thanks for reading, Lou :-)