Where did you go and why?
My husband works remotely as a web marketer. When we travel, we choose to stay in one location for a period of time and try to live as a local as much as possible. My husband still works his 40hr/wk job and I care for the kids and home. We schedule our time during the week to explore as a family and the weekends are full of exploring together!
For this trip we chose to come back to Essaouira, Morocco. We lived here 3.5 years ago for a month and loved it so we were excited to return! We love Essaouira because it's a small coastal city filled with good food, beautiful art, craft workmanship, and friendly people. It's a very family-friendly area and we plan to stay close to the 90 days that our visa allows.
What is your bus doing while you are away?
We packed up our bus and put it in storage while we are traveling internationally for a few months. It's in a covered garage and being looked after so we can return to it upon our arrival back in the states.
What are some of the biggest differences?
There are so many differences between Essaouira and Oregon! One of the reasons we chose to come here was to avoid winter weather, so it's a good thing we're enjoying 70 degrees here! Another good difference (for us, at least) is that we're hardly cooking at all! We eat out for 2 meals a day and snack on things at home in between. Back home I was getting so worn out by the food plans, grocery shopping, meal prep, cooking, and cleaning so not having to worry so much about that has been AMAZING. Hopefully I'll be dying to cook and clean again when we return home in a couple months ;)
A challenging difference is definitely the language barrier. We miss our friends and family back home so much and it's hard to make friends here when you can't communicate. Scott and I have started taking French lessons so hopefully that will help!
How is navigating the language? Do a lot of people speak English?
The main languages here are French and a Moroccan variation of Arabic. Our family doesn't know either language, so it's a bit interesting for us. A lot of people speak very basic English so we are definitely able to get by, and we practice French vocabulary and common phrases with our Duolingo app and Google Translate. We look forward to our French lessons!
5. Tell us about the food?
The food here in Morocco is so good! They use so many different spices and have specific blends for different dishes. You also eat bread for every meal, it's really your utensil! There are different kinds of bread for different times of day, but my kids love to disregard what the norm is and just dip everything in honey anyway. Argan oil is native to this area so it is used for dipping bread and it's so delicious!
A very common dish here is called a tajine. The tajine is an earthenware pot that the food is cooked in. It's function is similar to a crockpot, but it's not electrical as it sits on a gas stove to cook. The tajine makes the flavors of everything really pop and everything is so moist, perfect for scooping up with bread! Some common combinations for a tajine is roast with dried fruits (my favorite!) or chicken with onion, olives, and lemon.
What is your typical day like?
A typical day for us here in Morocco consists of Scott working in the morning and I take care of the kids. The kids and I like to spend a lot of our time playing in the sand at the beach. We go to an early lunch together at a nearby cafe then either Scott or I goes to our French lesson for an hour (we switch off days). Then it's back to work for Scott and back to the kids for me! Scott finishes work around 5 and we go into the Medina (city center) to have dinner and pick up produce to have at home. After all the walking around the Medina and back home, the kids are ready for bed!
Any recommendations for families that want to visit the area?
For families, we recommend Essaouira over Marrakech--Essaouira is a lot more calm, it's on the beach, and it's smaller and easy to navigate. You'll have essentially the same experiences in either place, but without the hustle and bustle of the tourist capitol of the country. We think the food is better here on the coast too ;)
Start practicing your French! It's definitely possible to get around without knowing French (we've been doing it for a month now), but you'll definitely be in a better position knowing some of the language.