Long ago, before I was a storyteller, I was, quite simply, a traveler. Instead of doing my work in board rooms and conference halls, the my theater was the road. I lived to travel, I worked to travel, and every day I sought to see the world and its gems. In earnest this lasted for a few years; I learned French in a ski shop in France. I hitched across the Pampa in Argentina, I wrote travel stories of precarious border crossings in India. I learned to dance in Havana.
This was the B.I. era, Before the Internet. Before our communications were so often online and on-pda. Then, the closest thing to social media was for me the stories I heard and shared, at dinner tables over wine bottles, at bus stops in the middle of busy new cities, on long rides across rough and bumpy terrain.
And maybe that’s why, when my friend Dot called me and said “Jay I really think you have to go to Morocco and lead this storytelling program,” I listened. The trip, she said, would begin and end in Marrakesh, and my job would be to do daily programs to help my fellow travelers find and share their essential stories – about this and other adventures.
My mind wandered back to moments…to sights of mounds of colorful spices, to conversations in cafes and wandering through narrow ancient streets, to the day I leaned down and gathered a handful of Saharan red sand that I still keep in the back of my dresser. I remembered the square of Jemaa el-Fnaa, in Marrakesh, something still alive in my memory, as if it was yesterday. I think of Marrakesh as one of the few really alive cities I’ve visited (up there with Havana, Cusco, and Kathmandu).
And I thought, “why not?” So…
The Top 9 Reasons I’ll Be Looking for Stories in Marrakesh:
9. Because a story, after all, is a journey…and journeys are the best place to find stories.
8. I speak French now – the second language of many Moroccans.
7. I adore Moroccan tents.
6. I spent a fair bit of time in the central square of Marrakesh last time I was there – and I didn’t meet any ancient storytellers.
5. I’ll have my book about storytelling out by then, and will need to share it with someone!
4. I had a new camera when I was last there. Took a dozen rolls of film wandering the alleyways of Fez, the markets of Marrakesh, and the dunes of Ouzzezate. and took them to be developed in France, where I worked the following year. Made a separate trip to Nice to get them developed and…got 12 empty envelopes back because, apparently, I never loaded the film correctly.
3. The city is ALIVE. When was the last time you went for an evening stroll and saw a snake charmer, a juggler, and a mountain of desert oranges?
2. I love sipping fresh mint tea + sitting in cafes + sharing travels.
1. I need more stories!
Hope to see you there…