During my study abroad experience, traveling to new places was always a highlight, but my trip to Marrakech, Morocco, and the Sahara Desert stands out as unforgettable. This adventure was unlike any other trip I took while studying abroad. Our journey began in the vibrant city of Marrakech, visiting the famous Marrakech market. The market was a maze of narrow alleys filled with stalls selling everything from spices and textiles to jewelry and pottery. The air was filled with the smells of street food, and the sounds of sellers calling out their items. We wandered through the bustling market, taking in the sights and sounds, and even tried to bargaining for souvenirs. The energy of the market, with its vibrant colors and lively interactions, set the tone for our what the weekend had in store for us.

From Marrakech, we set off towards the Sahara Desert. Our drive included stops at various landmarks, each giving us a deeper understanding of Morocco’s diverse culture. We visited ancient kasbahs, admiring their fortress-like structures, and stopped at small Berber villages where we learned about the traditions and daily lives of the local people. The difference between the busy city and the peaceful desert landscapes was very noticable.

As we approached the Sahara, the vast expanse of golden dunes stretched out before us. We switched from our vehicle to ATVs, riding through the dunes towards our desert camp. The thrill of driving through the sand was exciting, and the silence of the desert was incredibly peaceful. Our camp for the night was a traditional Berber setup, with tents arranged around a central area where we gathered for a communal meal as the sun set. The clarity of the stars in the desert was unlike anything I’d ever seen, and the experience of dining and sharing stories around a campfire was both surreal and eye-opening.

The next morning, we left the camp on camels, an iconic desert experience that added to the authenticity of our adventure. This trip to Marrakech and the Sahara Desert was very different from my other travels that were typically to larger cities. The mix of cultural immersion, historical exploration, and the natural beauty of the desert made it a unique and transformative experience that I will cherish forever.