Morocco, a lesson in disconnecting to connect

It’s incredible how disconnected we can become in our everyday lives, despite our obsession with “staying connected.” How many times today have you looked around you — at home, on the metro, out for dinner — only to find everyone around fixated on the glowing screen of smart devices? The answer is rather scary, isn’t it? 
We were chatting about this point around the BikeHike office the other day, and we started to ask ourselves when was the last time we felt disconnected from all our devices and when, if ever, we have found any refuge from all that technological “noise.” It took a while for us to come up with a moment. We’re all as guilty as the next person of being a bit too reliant on, and attached to, our devices.

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Meghan, BikeHike’s Operations Manager  spoke about her time on BikeHike’s Walking Safari with the Nomads trip in Morocco a few years ago. On that tour, she spent an entire week living with a nomadic Ait Atta (Berber) family, following along with them on their semi-annual migration. With their vast herd of animals, the family moves up into the cooler Atlas Mountains every spring and then down into the Sahara during the winter months. She explained that this group of people — the Ait Atta — had beautifully simple life priorities. Despite being constantly on the move, the tribe’s lifestyle is built on a very solid foundation — of spending quality time with one another and sharing as a family. Each day began with the herd’s beautiful cacophony — sheep, goats, camels and donkeys — signalling that the sun was rising. Before disassembling the camp and herding the flock onward, the family enjoyed breakfast together. By around noon each day, the family would gather together again around another meal before tending to any chores related to setting up camp. Later that night, after some time to relax, the family came together once again for a three-course meal, enjoying each other’s smiles, laughter and company as the sun set on the day. In the evenings after dinner, the whole group would gather together around the fire. As Meghan sat around the fire with the family, snacking on almonds and spicy tagines, everyone took turns telling stories about life. Imagine that: spending time actually connecting with the people around, and hearing stories every night rather than solitarily reading headlines or status updates. In those jovial moments around the crackling fire in Morocco, the only glow in sight was that of the fire and the moon.

Meghan describes that Berber family as one of the happiest, warmest and strongest families she has ever had the pleasure of meeting. It seems they survive quite nicely away from technology, as did Meghan during her week with them.

Trish, BikeHike’s Founder/Director, recalls a similar time in Morocco when she disconnected from the rate race for a few days. One thing she doesn’t like to disconnect from for too long though is getting in the saddle and riding her bike. So, not so surprisingly, her memories of Morocco are from her time spent on the  Biking the High Atlas to the Sahara tour.  And despite having had a myriad of wonderful experiences on that trip, her most luxurious memory of the trip was her overall feeling of being happily disconnected from the technology grind.

So, we hope you found a little bit of inspiration in these stories from Morocco, a destination we find offers a number of experiences that are simply unparalleled.

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