You can’t help but get immersed in the smoke of delicious Tajines, the dancing snakes, the sound of ancient North African music, or the horses carrying tourists in Jemaa El Fnaa in the heart of Marrakech, Morocco. The narrow alleyways of the souqs act like terrain for motorcycles moving with the light of speed forcing you to tiptoe. For a foreigner in that terrain, walking becomes a single independent task that you can’t undertake with another task in mind (it’s too dangerous they should put signs for tourists that say “don’t walk and talk”). There’s no margin for error, or else you’ll be the cause of a tragic accident disrupting perfectly organized chaos. Here we are, Laila and I walking in the streets of Marrakech that is old enough you can smell history aromas coming out of its walls.
Fast rewind to three days back, we’re hanging out at a coffee shop in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, eating pancakes and granola while enjoying the sunlight adding its magic warmth to our table. The difference is literally thousands of miles apart as it is figuratively. We were already planning to see the northern lights in Finland, but a slight change of plans caused us to think of another destination just three days before the start of our break. What should we do? Panic? Stress out? Why bother? The solution was as easy as pulling out our phone, looking up different places on earth, choosing Marrakech, booking the hotel, buying the tickets, and then boarding the plane for ten hours until we arrived. The whole process took us no more than twenty hours.
Fast rewind to three centuries back, my great-grandfather and his wife sitting inside their little clay house staring at the stars and wondering about how big and beautiful this world could be. They wouldn’t know the northern lights existed or the snakes actually danced to human-made rhythms, and if they knew, they’d have to ride their camels for years to get there. Back then, almost every decision they made was fatal, which made living more difficult given their short life expectancy (average life of 45 years in 1960 makes us wonder how short and rough life was 300 years ago).
In short, we live in times when what used to be big fatal decisions, like exploring the world, became as small of a decision as what our next meal should be. What used to take months and years is taking us hours and rarely days. Also, thanks to medical and technological advancements, our chances to live more of life got doubled. Seriously, what are we waiting for?