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Updated: Apr 22, 2023

In August 2022, I had a great summer break with my friend Izzy in Morocco. We did a group tour with Intrepid Travel, activity level 2, and had a wonderful week exploring the mountains, deserts, coastline and cities, full of spectacular sights. August is the hottest month of the year in Morocco with temperatures over 40°C. We sometimes had to hide away inside to avoid the afternoon heat!

We did a 4-hour hike of the gorgeous Atlas Mountains which was the best time of the holiday for me. Just being up in the mountains again and getting that sense of freedom, challenge and purpose could not have been more magical. My tendon injury remains unfixed, and although this was an easy hike, it was good to feel that my tendons were still capable of something and there is hope for the future.

We spent one night in the Sahara desert, sleeping under the stars. If you’ve followed me for a while you’ll know about my trauma in Africa, and a beautiful night sky does sadly bring back memories of the rape. However, I was able to defeat the anxiety and remind myself I was in a different country and surrounded by safe people. I often find that touching objects reminds me of where I am and can bring me back to the present. Conquering my intrusive thoughts and enjoying the starry night with friends and fellow travellers was a truly special moment. Walking through the sweeping desert was amazing. At one point we climbed up a sand dune to admire the views which gave me so much joy.

The only upset I had on this trip was the poor animal welfare. There were many stray cats and working donkeys. I fed plenty of apples and pears to the mules, and the owners seemed very grateful too! When we walked across the desert, I rode a camel briefly, but I disagree with the use of animals for tourism, so I refused to ride again after the first part of the journey. The poor camel was probably hot enough enough in the desert heat and certainly looked happier without the extra weight on his back!

Every night we went out for a meal. On one evening we had a local band perform for us. It was so much fun - we got to play their instruments and have a dance, and I loved the music!

We saw plenty of Moroccan culture along the way which is one of the best things about travelling. One for the highlights of the trip was staying in Essaouira - I fell in love with this city and its beautiful 18th century seafront, ocean views and traditional culture. I loved walking along the beach and enjoyed the scenery so much I didn’t even miss hiking the mountains!

It was great travelling with a friend. Although independence and freedom mean the world to me, friendship is so good for mental health. To have someone who wanted to travel with me really helped boost my confidence. Izzy was a great travel buddy with her passion for adventure, exploring and fun! We’re planning to travel together again next year. Whatever condition my tendons might be in and whatever life brings, I know I can make it up a mountain again.

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