A Very Unique Friendship – How I Traveled Solo to Morocco

I honestly don’t know where to begin with this story as it has a little bit of everything, it was almost like being a wine cork floating in a bathtub. There were ups and downs, highs and lows, moments of hilarity and moments for tears. But ultimately, I think I’ve come out of this experience a stronger person and with the knowledge that you’re never truly alone. Allow me to explain.

Looking over the rooftops of Marrakesh.

It was meant to be a simple trip with a Polish friend of mine, Rafal with whom I’ve travelled to Malta this January. Flights were booked to Marrakesh, reservations and plans were being made. Imagine my surprise when my travel partner informs me he actually doesn’t have a passport – to fly to Morocco

Decisions, Decisions

With our arrangements totally up in the air and my friend’s new passport not likely to arrive in time, I had a choice to make. Should I stay or should I go? In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a blond, white girl from Poland. As such, traveling to Arab countries can be…challenging…to put it mildly. I was nervous, to say the least, especially after hearing one or two horror stories from fellow solo female travelers venturing to Marrakech.

Moroccan cookware used to make a tagine, which I now know how to do!

In the end, I made the decision to go, backed 100% by my boyfriend, Cez, Lydia and my own mum! It wasn’t a moment too soon either, as I was still struggling with the dilemma less than seven hours until my flight. However, there I was traveling alone to Morocco, with more than a little apprehension. What could possibly go wrong?!

A Lucky Choice of Hostel

I was staying at La Casa Del Sol hostel which is right in the heart of the city – and I’m really rather glad I did. I felt very safe there (more of that in a moment) and it was a comfortable and welcoming home away from home. I was in town for five days, and my single room was all I could have hoped for, while the hostel itself was a beautiful, traditional Moroccan design – including a rooftop terrace from where you can enjoy that famous Arabian sunset across the city. It’s a budget-friendly option too!

One of the rooms at La Casa Del Sol hostel.

I felt immediately that it was a great spot for solo female travelers, and this is largely in part due to Lashan – the hostel’s charming receptionist. He would adopt me as his older sister and made my stay here the best it could possibly have been – even in spite of difficult circumstances. I was to discover that my initial reservations about traveling here alone were justified.

Developing a Thick Skin

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve travelled the world, seen a few things, got into some scrapes and learned a lesson or two, but walking the streets of Marrakesh alone as a white female was one of the most intimidating experiences of my life. I tried to stay positive and enjoy the sights and attractions of the city, and while I’ve developed a thick skin to deal with slurs and sexual comments over the years, I was upset at just how brazen they could be.

Trying to enjoy the beautiful architecture isn’t easy when men are catcalling.

And I needed to be tough because the sexual remarks and insults I would receive (and are too base to even think of repeating here) were to sadly become a feature of my stay here. That is until I came under the protection of my hospitable host and temporary guardian!

A Lasting Friendship

Troubled by my encounters with Arab men, I was, admittedly, feeling vulnerable and alone. I was questioning having come here in the first place. Lashan recognized this almost immediately, and he went out of his way to make sure my memories here would be positive ones. We clicked right away and spent a lot of time together as he all but became my private security.

This is what a gentleman looks like. The one on the right, obviously.

He would very kindly accompany me every time I went out to make sure I wasn’t getting insulted or ripped off, even if it was simply to walk me to the local photocopy shop to print of the boarding pass for my flight home.

Lashan ready to study.

We studied together, listened to some tunes, and when Ramadan was over, ate Moroccan pancakes at 1 am in the morning. It’s fair to say that without his support and presence, my time in Marrakech would have been significantly darker.

Mixed Emotions

Lashan was a bundle of positive energy, always smiling, always ready to help and an absolute credit to La Casa Del Sol hostel. And so, it was with mixed emotions that I left Marrakesh, in one hand leaving behind “my little brother from another mother,” while at the same time I will certainly not miss the torrent of abuse I received for being alone Caucasian female. It certainly isn’t going to boost their tourist economy for solo female travelers!

Mates for life!

But in the end, for every negative experience I had, Lashan ensured I had several positive ones. He is undoubtedly a very special person, guiding me safely around the best spots of the city, introducing me to the delights of homemade Moroccan food, and generally being a companion when I needed it the most. In a world where some say chivalry is long dead, I salute you, sir, a knight in shining armor.

Although that’s probably a little hot to wear in Morocco.

Have you ever experienced similar kindness from strangers? Let us know – we do love a good happy ending!

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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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19 thoughts on “A Very Unique Friendship – How I Traveled Solo to Morocco”

  1. Nothing so chivalrous as your knight in shining armor, but a kind woman did once take pity on me at a laundromat in Paris by giving me ten francs when my last coin — the one I needed to dry my soaking-wet laundry — turned out to be counterfeit.

  2. I’m glad you ended up having a good time and found someone who was able to help you navigate through it. I don’t blame you for not almost going, I feel like dealing with it on your own would have been intense!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Thanks a lot, Sandra. Yes, sometimes it’s better when you have a companion to deal with things. :)

  3. Jessica Norah

    It is nice you found a helpful friend in Marrakesh that made for a better experience in Morocco! We spent a couple of weeks in Marrakesh a few years ago and having my husband with me was definitely helpful as while I still got a lot of stares and people came up to us trying to sell us stuff all the time, few make blatant negative or sexual remarks with him there. I also covered my head a lot of the time which I think also helped deter some attention although its of course impossible to hide being a white Western tourist.

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Jessica! You’re so lucky to have had your husband with you. :)

  4. Andrew Boland

    its great to find a positive experience in the midst of all that Agness, I’m glad u did! I know it can be such a challenge in that part of the world!

  5. I have never been to Marrakesh, but I can totally relate to your experience here in Jamaica, where I live now for some time. When I walk on my own I get so many rude comments and catcalling from man here, obviously this does not happen when I am accompanied by my hubby. It is a bit sad that women are treated like that in so many countries, but this should not keep us from traveling and exploring, right? :)

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Nothing should stop us from travelling, Anna! I am also sad that’s happening but hoping that will change soon. :)

  6. Tim UrbanDuniya

    What a beautiful story! So heartwarming to know that you ended up enjoying it, largely because of the kindness of a good soul. Thank you for sharing, Agness :)

  7. Susan Gutterman

    Thank you for visiting my blog, Agness, and for your kind comments. I, now, look forward to following you on your interesting travels!

  8. Cynthia | Adventuring Woman

    I was so interested to read this. Morocco is one of the top places I want to visit, but I am hesitant about how women are treated, especially if I were to travel alone. I appreciate your honesty, as it’s critical to know what to prepare for.

  9. Agness Walewinder

    I’d highly recommend you to travel with a companion and it doesn’t have to be a male traveler. Take one of your girlfriends :) just to stay safe!

  10. thank you for sharing your solo travel experience in Morocco.
    what a beautiful journey. having so many questions in mind before the journey and finally, you ended up enjoying your trip to Morocco.
    Travelling especially solo is a bit challenging but when you meet such kind-hearted and helpful people like him. those moments, people and the whole journey become unforgettable.

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