Sunset in Morocco, Sun-up on My Health

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My time in Morocco is done.

I’m proud of myself for having a good time despite all the adversity I have faced. Did I tell you my last day in Athens, last month, was spent dealing with my health in an emergency ward? Or that I learned I will need surgery?

So, that happened.

This Friday, Albania awaits. I’ll go to a private American-style hospital and discuss my surgical options with a gynecologist.

The cost worries me because my medical insurance will not cover it. They deem it “elective” surgery. Right, because wanting to put an end to literally losing a pint of blood in six hours on my period is pure vanity, like having a benign mole removed.

Welcome to a world where women’s health is still an afterthought. The reality is, if I leave this untreated much longer, it could go cancerous. My mother died of related issues at 57. Yet, if this involved a penis, I’d be covered.

But let’s ignore all that.

Shot on the waterfront here in Taghazout this week, I’ll miss doing photography here. It’s been a great experience to shoot this area.

The reality is, I’ve been unwell for a long time. I thought it was weight-related and that if I were “more active,” things would reverse, but the more active I get, the more tired I become. I guess having blood in me would help.

In fact, this condition may have caused my weight surge in the last two years. It is almost certainly responsible for constant fatigue, anxiety, acne, and other issues that have not only compromised my lifestyle and my self-esteem, but my travels and my income.

I’m optimistic getting this resolved will change my life in a major way. To have energy again, to become a morning person again, to have enthusiasm and joy and confidence, to eat less and see weight come off instead of stay stagnant… wow. Oh, my.

Sometimes, we get unhealthy for so long we accept it as The New Normal. I was supposed to be tired and anxious at the end of my long 2.5 years of working toward this travel dream. But I expected to feel better after my travels began.

“Better” never happened.

Ironically, when I booked my Moroccan stay, I did it with my health in mind. I thought I’d come, stop drinking wine for a month, eat well, walk on the beach. I had no idea I’d be in the emergency ward before I arrived, or that an infected leg wound would relieve me of any desire to take long walks, or that I’d be felled within days with bronchitis.

But I have eaten well. I have avoided alcohol for nearly a month, and will have, by the time I leave. And I’ve lost weight too.

Another shot from the same night, this is real “residential” Morocco here in small-town Taghazout. It’s rustic, dirty, dusty, rundown, yet still full of magic.

Do I feel like my visit to Morocco was wasted? Not at all. I feel instead that sometimes our subconscious is much smarter than we are.

I came here to, a co-working/co-living lodgings in Taghazout, because I wanted community after travelling alone for so long. Little did I know how much that community would help me this month. I can’t imagine how scared and depressed I would have been had I been alone somewhere, during the month I endured.

Instead, I had community, people who listened to (or just put up with) my worries, a caring business owner, a wonderful housecleaner/cook who I named “Mama Sundesk” because she treated me like her child and hugged me and kissed me when I was having a bad time. I made new friends, got professional advice, had empathy for my medical concerns, and had a wonderful social breakfast of traditional Moroccan delights on the rooftop terrace every morning that got me out of my head at the start of every day.

The subconscious is a smart cookie, my friends. I needed what I found here. Including the incredible healthy fresh fruit everywhere, the sunshine, and the intriguing culture that reminded me how important it is for my health to be my priority – because this whole big, beautiful world needs to be seen. By me.

Once I’ve had my appointment Friday, I’ll probably have an emotional evening because that’s what happens when we finally know where we’re going, isn’t it?

And, after the hospital diagnosis on Friday, I’ll shop, return home, have wine for the first time in five weeks, cook a nice meal, and enjoy a weekend where I don’t to wear pants, or brush my hair, or care about anything at all. I’ll eat runny egg yolks for breakfast. Drink coffee without telltale Moroccan grit. Yawn and watch Netflix.

One day, I’ll come back to this country. It was what I needed, when I needed it. Inspiring, comforting, challenging, relaxing. I’ve loved the group breakfasts, all the tagines others complain about, the mint tea.

But I’m excited to get back to myself, too. Living alone. Hearing my thoughts again, as opposed to children screaming and muezzins singing the adhan. A bathroom all to myself, privacy. A domestic routine of making my own food, too. But most of all, I want to get back to a healthy version of myself, after so long in the health wilderness. I want to enjoy walking, have breath again, be energetic and excited. (I can’t believe how excited I am by the prospect of surgical intervention.)

Despite the price tag of surgery looming and the toughness of the past few months, I’m not launching a fundraiser, because I’d rather leave that until I really need help. “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” and all, right? And if that day never comes, then all the better!

If, however, you have always wanted to buy me a beer or anything, please feel free to throw donate to my account, because I’ll sure appreciate it. I don’t know what this will cost me, and it’s somewhat stressful. If travelling has taught me anything, though, it’s that things seem to have a strange way of always working out.

Well, you know… Maktub, maybe. Insha’allah, as my Moroccan friends would say.

(*Maybe it’s written. God willing.)

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