It’s crazy for me to write this but here I am writing this post from Casablanca after four weeks here, 9 months out of the 9-5 game and a pandemic that kept me away from my partner thanks to travel bans.
Anyone that knows me knows my two biggest dreams/goals in life:
1. To own a dessert bar
2. To be able to work from anywhere in the world
Shout out to Seany Mac for taking a job in Morocco and allowing me to see what it’s actually like being able to work from anywhere in the world and allowing me to trial the digital nomad life with a little security behind me. It has NOT been easy but I have already learned A LOT so thought I would share it with you.
I packed my bags thinking all I needed was my tripod (which my dad left but we move), some back drops, a few props, my phone, laptop and some internet. That’s all correct, I did need those things and now have them all but when I arrived, the internet in the flat cut out and the phone provider (INWI) had trouble for a week!! After two days and 3 trips to the shop and a bit of reliance on Google Translate, I managed to get my mobile internet working (22GB for just over £10) which allowed me to tether to my laptop for the week. As you can imagine, between client meetings, writing and other work, that 22GB of data didn’t last long – 8 days to be exact.
My second issue with the mobile provider was working out how the bundles work. I’ve now topped up 3 times and somehow owe about £10 which means my last top-up didn’t even work. Luckily, the original bundle I got allowed me to have unlimited WhatsApp for the month so I’ve given up and I’m using Wi-Fi wherever possible – sadly, the house Wi-Fi isn’t the best. I have trouble even watching TikTok videos sometimes so rather than getting annoyed, I’m taking that as a sign and enjoying the moment…
I’ve complained a lot about the internet but it’s not all bad, the lack of internet forced me to head out after a day and work from cafés. I started with Cocofield which I am in LOVE with. It’s a friends themed, boujee café with great food, amazing aesthetics and GREAT Wi-Fi. I know for a fact when Sean reads this, he’ll have a go at me for being so dramatic when I got here because I gave him hell for not having it all sorted, however, now I look back, I’ve realised that if I was going to carry on down this digital nomad path, there would be times where I’d be going to countries alone and may get into this type of trouble so best to experience it now than if I was completely on my own. I’m also grateful because it forced me to start exploring which has made me feel so comfortable around Casablanca even on my own!
I can’t lie, I was apprehensive about my day-to-day life in Casablanca being a black woman roaming around alone but when I researched ‘safety’, the common theme was how tourists are always well looked after because crime against a tourist is bad for business travel wise. Since arriving I have walked the streets on my own, gone for food on my own and travelled in taxis alone. When I travel by taxi however, I only use the Uber style ones like Blinc rather than the red taxis which you flag down – it allows for the language barrier and means I won’t be ripped off with the fair.
Overall, I don’t have anything negative to say about my safety here in Morocco so far. The people are so friendly and helpful in general – Sean’s expat friends have also made the transition more exciting than daunting. You may need to use Google Translate but there’s generally someone ready to help. If I’m being honest, it’s little things like that that have made Casablanca feel like home.
I spent 9 months watching Casablanca through Sean’s lens but even then, the picture I built in my mind wasn’t really what I arrived too – not in a negative way either. As far as big cities go, Casablanca is typical in the sense that it is busy but for me, it’s been like living out my own Netflix series like Emily in Paris which I unashamedly posted about on Instagram. There’s a lot of building work in many areas which only excites me for what’s to come here but overall it’s just a pretty place – I personally love how most houses have flowers and nice plants growing along their walls, very Instagram-able! I think Casablanca will start to rival the likes of London and Paris but in a calmer sense which is perfect for me as I can’t stand being in places like London for more than a few days.
The women are like models, food places are quite boujee/aimed at luxury but the fact Casablanca is by the coast means you can leave the hustle and bustle of city life and find quiet pockets with small independents too who just want you to enjoy good home cooked meals without all the fuss – great for getting a mixture of culture and content!
Before I arrived, I was so worried about what to wear and how to conduct myself but being here has just made me realise I got into my own head. Of course, you don’t walk around in super revealing clothes or kissing your partner on the street however, you just have to gage the situation yourself. For example, where we’re staying is very urban, so the women wear mostly what I’d wear at home in the UK. Yes, some women will wear head scarves and maybe even burka’s but in general, there isn’t much difference between here and the UK. If anything, the women here mostly look like fashion bloggers but that’s just day to day attire!
Another thing I worried about was the prayer calls which are supposed to be five times a day – when I say worried I mean getting woken up or scared by them as I’m not used to them. Funnily enough, one just came on and I’m so used to them they don’t scare me at all. I don’t think I’ve ever heard all five in one day and I sometimes miss the first one which is just before 5am. I’ve tried to catch all five but I failed.
Overall my experience so far of being a digital nomad in Casablanca has taught me a lot I’ll be able to use going forward especially when it comes to arranging my working days. It has been such a positive experience that I will be really sad to leave as it already feels like home. Not only does Casablanca have a lot to offer but so does the rest of Morocco which means I HAVE to come back in the near future. For now, I am just thankful that not only was I able to re-unite with Sean but that I was able to do it in a country that gave me so much freedom to work and explore. I can’t wait for my next adventure!