Relaxing & Ringing in the New Year: NYE 2015

Relaxing & Ringing in the New Year: NYE 2015
Exploring the incredible Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca
Over the past month, I’ve been doing some hardcore nothing in Morocco (yep, you read that correctly!), and it’s been perfect.
The Royal Palace grounds in Rabat
When I landed in Casablanca a month ago, I enjoyed time in both Casa (as it’s called here) and Rabat before heading to a small village on the coast called Taghazout, which is located outside of Agadir.  

Hassan II Mosque

Exploring the Moroccan cities had been fun, but I wanted to take some time at the end of 2014 to just sit still by myself and reflect, especially after such an action packed November.   

Wandering through the Kasbah of Oudaïa in Rabat
Through an introduction by a friend from my travels, I was introduced to Abdu, a cool guy who owns and runs Ocean Surf House in the small surf town.   

Paradise Valley outside of Agadir

My friend, Tatiana, is now working in Casa, so when I was I there we were able to have dinner together, which was an unexpected treat.

My first Moroccan henna
Taghazout is a verysmall surfing village.  Think teeny-tiny small.  Now, it’s smaller than that.  The closest ATM is a fifteen-minute ride away, if that helps.   

Lazy Taghazout afternoon

Also, being a small Moroccan town, you cannot purchase any alcohol (though it was imported for us for the holiday festivities, thanks to Abdu!).  

It’s been nice to have a “detox” from all of the late nights and crazy adventures from the past year, though the fact that alcohol sales are illegal made the cleanse slightly mandatory.  Regardless, my mind and liver have openly embraced the change.  I have even started drinking tea instead of coffee, which if you know me is a big deal.  I am fairly confident that neither of these changes will be permanent, but both have been nice for my body over the past few weeks.
During my time in Taghazout, I have been reading (my Reading on the Road list has exploded), exploring the surrounding region, chatting with locals, celebrating the holidays with new friends, laying out and enjoying the great weather, studying French (one of my 2015 Resolutions and Bucket Listitems), and reflecting on the past year. 
A funeral procession for a famous Moroccan artist in Rabat
On a more “productive” day, I forced myself to go through all of my pictures from 2014.  Force is a strong word, but I have been avoiding it for a while.  I had some technical issues in the fall (if you know me, I always seem to have some technical issues…), and between that fact and being easily distracted, I was shocked when I had finally organized and edited all of them.  

Paradise Valley outside of Agadir, Morocco

Sifting through the 4,000+ pictures was a great experience.  It is a good thing that there are only a handful of possible activities here, as well as a semi-present language barrier.  I was reminded of the absolutely incredible year that I had and all of the amazing people with whom I was able to share it.

As I write this, I’m at my (yes, I am a local here now) little café watching some surfers try and catch their last perfect wave of the day while a local guy tries to coerce tourists into riding his camel across the beach, all while the sun sets perfectly in the background.  Not a bad way to start 2015…