Reading, Shopping and Camels – My Moroccan Odyssey

Last week I returned from a fantastic honeymoon to the beautiful county of Morocco.

We were there for two weeks and thoroughly enjoyed wandering the narrow ancient medina streets, shopping for spices and souvenirs in the souks, and riding camels in the desert. The people of Morocco are friendly and the food and tea are delicious. This was truly a once in a lifetime trip – I likely won’t go back as there are so many other countries I want to see!

camel ridingspices

Alyssa brought up the topic of reading and traveling in this post, so I thought I would do a follow-up since I just finished such a wonderful trip. Despite the fast-paced itinerary of the tour I was on – about 10 places in 14 days – I still found time to read.

The trip involved relatively lengthy bus rides between cities, a four-hour train ride back to Casablanca at the end, and a 7.5-hour plane ride each way.  Now, I didn’t read as much as I would have liked due to my uncanny ability to fall asleep in ANY moving vehicle. Buses, trains, cars, planes… all of them rock me into an inescapable slumber that I cannot resist no matter how hard I try.  However, there is only so much sleeping one person can do in a cramped seat so there was time left over for some reading!

I took three books with me:

I chose these books because I was in the middle of Wild when I left and the other two were relatively small paperbacks – a necessity when travelling with only a backpack. I finished both Wild and Before I Go To Sleep and enjoyed them both. I struggled with Love in the Time of Cholera, and ultimately finished it last week and hated it – I am not sure what that says about me since Márquez won a Nobel Prize for literature….

before i go to sleep wild love cholera

Although my book choices were relatively random, one of the other girls on the tour, Sarah, who reads almost as much as me, was much more methodical in her approach.  Every time she travels (with Morocco being no exception), she buys at least one book set in the country she is visiting. When she told me this I was dumbfounded that I had never thought of this and vowed to do it for my next trip. I soon found out she was not the only one who had done this, and I was pretty much the only person in the group who did not read books set in their travel destination.  Next time, next time!

I also discovered that one of the wonderful things about travelling with a group is that you can exchange books. I gave away one of mine, and almost had another to read (so I could avoid Love in the Time of Cholera), but didn’t speak up quite fast enough! In the past I have also found that hostels and hotels are also great places to exchange books. That way you don’t have to load down your backpack to last you through your trip!

So in the end I learned a few valuable lessons every reader should know for travelling:

  • Take a book set in your destination
  • Fellow travelers are often willing to swap/exchange books
  • If you need a new book to avoid reading the one you have – speak up quickly when someone offers!

What are your tips for reading while traveling?


About Erin Hopkin

I am a graduate of Carleton University with a Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management, with a specialization in International Studies (yes that may be the longest undergraduate degree title ever). Essentially it means I was trained to work in international policy making for the government – but that is not where I ended up. I actually work writing proposals and winning lots of business for a facility project management firm. I have always been a reader; however, my book choices have changed over the years. In university I read a lot of fantasy or books with happy endings because I was studying political science and international relations – often there are no happy resolutions to those conflicts. I now read more contemporary fiction novels with some classics, non-fiction, political and YA (a guilty pleasure) thrown in. I was drawn to the Unputdownable Book Club by my love of reading, wine and food and I am never disappointed!
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One Response to Reading, Shopping and Camels – My Moroccan Odyssey

  1. Pingback: Gap Year Plans #1; Places to go. | estherversuslife

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