Some Distant Memory – A Trip to Morocco

A small road junction and signs pointing to Tetouan, Morocco.

It was the summer of 1999 and I was at university in Winchester majoring in Japanese. In early 1998 I made the decision to leave Hong Kong and the life that I had made for myself to go back home and start fresh, but I couldn’t shake my backpacking past and missed the freedom of travel.

So together with my girlfriend – now my wife! – we decided to fly to Malaga, hop on a ferry and head to Morocco for the first time. Neither of us had ever been to Africa before and neither of us have been back since. 

These aren’t great photos, but that’s not the point. They bring back memories. Memories of our first adventure together and a life that will never return. Wandering the foothills to the Atlas Mountains, the markets of Marrakesh, dodging the touts at Tangier Port, and wandering the streets of Fez made us both feel alive and aware of our lack of control of our own circumstances. Our relationship nearly ended after that trip but it didn’t, we persevered and grew stronger.

Me with two elderly men sat in Fes, Morocco.

Jump forward twenty plus years and I’ve just finished re-reading Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman and am now onto This Life by Martin Hägglund. Both books about time and the lives we live and how your life is time. When I woke up this morning I didn’t know I was going to write this post and I don’t know what is going to happen ten minutes from now. Both books have made me question my relationship with now like no others have. Creating memories are what’s important – making sure that this now is the best it can be.

That trip to Morocco was the start of a life that continues in the present, a past moment merging into now thanks to memories and photographs.

So photograph everything.

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